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He taught us to use the rifle to kill people

Heroes Remember

He taught us to use the rifle to kill people

Then, when you got to Camp Borden, they started teaching you. It's only one man that I still remember, and he was a colonel. And he'd have thin clothes on, bare skin and shorts on, and you're doing your best to carry that old rifle, and it's heavy. And the CO just lived a short ways from the parade square, looking down on us. I forget his name though, colonel somebody. If I went back far enough, I could find it all right. And you're trying to hold your rifle, not like that, not like that, not up like that, marching along. And he ran over to me and jammed that piece of wood on my clavicle. Well, I nearly went to the ground, and I told my sergeant about it after, but nothing became of it. And that bone, right there . . . and he, he was a big tall man, like that. Well, that scared the life out of me, and that ruined my day, that day there. But I got over it. It prepared us for war. I remember one man and, and he's just south side of Picton, Ontario, Bath, Ontario, and he was teaching us how to use the rifle to kill people. Well, you had to start off here, "On guard!" you know. And then you had to go from there. You had to go and come to these straw packs ahead, how to knock that down, and how to continue on running, fighting. And I thought, "I'll be the best one when they get me out there." And I used to be the first one. I can see the old sergeant major, and he's still living down in Bath, Ontario. He said, "My God," he said, "You're, you're just great," you know. "We'll have you." He said, "We'll have you." Didn't realize in the end, for war, as well . . . and, so then the day went on. They took you, and they lined you up and said, "Well, now, this is your vehicle." And they give me a vehicle, and they gave John a vehicle, and they gave Bill a vehicle. Everybody had a vehicle and oh, everything that went with it, all the tools And at that time, they were waterproofing trucks, never heard tell of it. And when they waterproofed them, they showed you how to waterproof them right from the wheels, right up, and sit in water right up to your ears, right up to your ears, and keep on going. So, we had to learn how to do that, teaching how to waterproof the vehicles. Right through the roof a big thing down and went on to the carburetor and all waterproofed and drive. But I never made it to the water . . . to the, off the boat to the . . . I didn't have to. They made a dry landing. All the driving was done at night, after you learn how to drive. That was another thing, a driving school. I even see the Queen there she was learning how to drive a jeep, you know, you know. She was down the road, and I was in front with a man beside me. I was the instructor teaching them how to drive and enjoyed that immensely. I enjoyed that and everybody gave me such a great name.

Mr. Parsons describes his training regimen in Canada and England.

Ivan “Benny” Parsons

Ivan Benjamin Parsons was born in Lucasville, Halifax County, Nova Scotia, on February 26, 1922. He was the eldest of 10 children and worked on a local farm. His father was a sawyer at the local saw mill. After finishing basic training in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Camp Borden, Ontario, Mr. Parsons shipped to England aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth. After training as a truck driver, he took part in the D-Day invasion at Normandy. During his service in Europe, his truck crew delivered ordinance to the artillery. Mr. Parsons returned home early in 1946. After working in the retail business for a short time, he returned to the Army. Mr. Parsons later served with the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires for 20 years.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Ivan “Benny” Parsons
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Artillery Corps
Warrant Officer
Truck Driver

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