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Posted Overseas

Heroes Remember

In the spring of 1940, they got the battalion out on the parade ground and had a whole bunch of tables lined up on the parade ground and they... said that... they had these papers for us to sign and they would tell us after everybody signed the papers, they would tell us what it was all about. So like sheep, we signed and after everybody had signed, then the colonel got up and said "Men, when you joined up, your station sheet that you signed, was only good for service in Canada, you’ve just signed to go overseas" and you had to be 19 to go overseas. Well I was only 18 and so I was, along with three or four other fellas in our platoon, put back into the reserve, and so... so a friend of mine, a sergeant in one of the other platoons, I said, "How can I get up in to this, back into the battalion?" And he said, "Well, have you got any kind of a birth certificate or a baptismal card or anything at home?" And I said, "Jeez I don’t know". So I went home that night and got a hold of my father and he had a trunk, that was all he had in his life was this trunk and he got out my baptismal card and it said June 23, 1921. So he got out a pen and he made that one into a zero. So the next day I handed it in and the major looked at it and I knew damn well he knew it was phony. He said, "That’ll do". So the next day I was posted back to the battalion. Well then... these other friends of mine, they were in the same boat, "How’d ya do it, Gorman?" I told them, and they couldn’t get anything from their families and my father had a friend that he was a Baptist minister. He ran a Negro congregation in Windsor and he said, "Go see Mr. Edwards." So I went to see Mr. Edwards, and he gave me a, I told him what I wanted and he was a little bit, he wasn’t too pleased about the idea what I was wanting to do and he said, "Come back tomorrow". So I went back the next day and he was sitting at his desk and he said, "I have to go to the washroom." And he looked down like this, at the drawer in his desk and I thought there’s something in there. He left, I went and looked in the drawer and here was this little package of baptismal cards, blank. So I put them in my pocket and he came back and he said, "Is everything alright Donald?" And I said, "Just fine." and he said, "Well good luck." Well I went back and I handed these things out to anybody that wanted them. you know. Unfortunately, two of the ‘fellas that did get them, I shouldn’t have a guilt complex about it, but anyway two of the ‘fellas that did get them were killed at Dieppe and I often wondered whether they would have been there, if they hadn’t had those cards, you know. But anyway... that was how I became 20 years of age all of a sudden you see.

Mr. Gorman’s battalion, stationed at Camp Borden, Ontario, was assigned go overseas. However, he and several other members of his platoon were not old enough for overseas duty. How he got around this problem is a humorous story with some rather sad results.

Donald Gorman

Mr. Gorman was born June 23, 1921. His father was a stationary engineer at one of Windsor’s high schools and was a veteran of both the Boer War and the First World War. Mr. Gorman left school after achieving junior matriculation. He held jobs in a bakery, a fish market and as an apprentice mechanic at Remington-Rand typewriter factory in Windsor. After enlisting on September 16, 1939, he took his basic training in Windsor before being moved to Camp Borden for advanced training in June, 1940. Mr. Gorman went overseas with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Regiment and was involved in the Dieppe Raid.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Donald Gorman
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
North America
Essex Scottish Regiment
Dispatch Rider

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