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I never did learn to swim

Heroes Remember

I never did learn to swim

I learned how to defend myself and . . . I suppose, and comradeship of my fellow soldiers and some very basic but stiff training, and, and, you know, how to fight and look after myself, and gunnery, and all such things. How to march, for sure, I suppose from that I learned how to survive because we used to go on some what we called schemes. Practising war and . . . with very little. I know there's times in England some of those schemes we went on were, well were just played right out, you'd lay down wherever you were. And I remember one time on the mountains or hills there where I got up, I fell asleep and I got up, and my clothes were frozen to the ground. So, you know there's things like that, that make you learn to survive one way or another. And I couldn't swim, and they certainly taught me. I never did learn how to swim, but they helped, being off the prairies. And I know in some of our water exercises . . . and we'd be dumped in and whatnot. We, we, we made it by hook or by crook and, I suppose, come D-Day and we got dumped in, we, we did the same thing, but we learned to survive. We had to learn to, blindfolded take our guns apart, and they'd be spread out, and we'd have to learn how to put them back together again, and things like that, in case if we got into action, things, you know, they got dirty or something. Then you had to take them apart and clean them up in the dark, which we learned successfully.

Mr. Hall discusses some unique aspects of basic training.

John Hall

Mr. Hall was born in Whitewood, Saskatchewan, in 1921. He worked on the family's farm until he enlisted in the Royal Regina Rifles. He was shipped overseas on a converted sugar freighter. Once in England, Mr. Hall experienced the Battle of Britain from the perspective of the local citizenry. He spent more land duty in a mail sorting depot until his Regiment joined the D-Day invasion at Juno Beach. He was a radio operator. Mr. Hall took part in numerous actions, most notably Caen, Calais and the Leopold Canal and the Liberation of Holland. After leaving the Army, Mr. Hall worked in the Canadian North with the Department of Natural Resources.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Hall
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Regina Rifles

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