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Patriotism versus a Job

Heroes Remember

Patriotism versus a Job

Well, it’s kind of hard to put it in patriotism because at the time of the Second World War, unemployment was one hell of a mess in this country. There was no jobs and maybe a year after I was in the service, I was patriotic. But when I joined the service, I knew I’d signed up to be called up; I didn’t want to be called up, so I joined. Cause no matter what happened, I would still have to go one way or the other. But I done it on my own free will and it was someone’s advice I took and I never regretted it. But to say I done it for patriotic reasons, at the time, there was millions of people out of work, walking all over the country looking for jobs out west (inaudible) wheat. I’d seen them walking by the road at the farm where I was working and I was getting, if I stayed in Windsor, I would have had no place to eat or sleep and my mother couldn’t support me. Welfare wouldn’t, likely. Maybe as you went along in the service once you got into a regiment, I feel as time went on, the longer you were with it, the prouder you felt. You went out a little smarter each time you dressed. You made sure your shoes were shined and your buttons and your badges were on and you were shaved and hair was cut. And you might get drunk, but up to that point, you could act as a proud representative of the regiment you belonged to. And I think all these fellows were the same, so were drunk, some weren’t, but we were a cohesive group that done hat we had to do under sometimes hellish conditions. I never heard a person bitch or complain about it. We might have bitched a little after about it, but we did it. You might not want to do this, but you did it. Now today, the way life is today to have a war, to ask some people to leave their $150,000 , $200,000 home and their $50,000 cars to go into the service to fight for another country, I don’t think you’re going to get the same feeling. Because it’s been bred out of the people over the years what the likes of me and other young men done for this country, army, air force, any thing, the women that done it, they have a different feeling because now, a lot of people would say, “Well why in the hell should I have to go and fight for them?” We went over there. Maybe we didn’t have a lot of men but we done darn good in D-Day and we done good in Italy. Dieppe was a disaster but you can’t blame the men for that. But that’s my feeling anyway, whether it makes sense or not.

Mr. Rogers is asked what he would say to the young people of Canada today if he was speaking to them about love of country, duty and patriotism. His candid answer may surprise you.

Frederick Rogers

Mr. Rogers was an infant when his father died as a result of gas poisoning during his service in the First World War. His mother brought him and his only sister to Canada when he was about two years old. Mr. Rogers joined the Essex Regiment Tank (militia) in Windsor, Ontario when he was 14 or 15 years old. He went on to complete Grade 10 and at the age of 16 went to work on a farm to support himself. He enlisted in the Canadian Army on February 18, 1941. Basic training was provided in Kitchener, Ontario and he was then sent to Camp Petawawa and, finally, to Sussex, New Brunswick to join the 12th Field regiment as a replacement. The regiment arrived in Liverpool, England on July 31, 1941 and were immediately taken by train to Bramshot, England.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Frederick Rogers
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
12th Field Regiment

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