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I Joined to Relieve my Father

Heroes Remember

I Joined to Relieve my Father

The depression didn't have much effect on my family because my father was working on the CNR and he had a payday coming every couple of weeks. But the depression I think, was the, I always said that the depression was the best time of our lives because you worried about your neighbour and we had a little farm and after dark my father would send some stuff off of the farm to some of the neighbours that weren't doing so well, and everybody worried about the next fella. So I, I thought that probably the depression was the best time in my life. In 1939, I suppose all of ‘39 we were hearing and, and the build up in Germany, and we were only young at that time, it didn't worry us too much. But in September, when Canada declared war then it really struck what happened. So we, we, I think, I joined the Army on the third of September or the 7th of September 1939, three days before Canada declared war. We had to go down about a couple of blocks to mail a letter. So my mother had written a letter to her sister, and she sent me down to mail it, and I kept going and joined the Army in Baddeck in Port Hawkesbury, down to Baddeck and joined the army and I brought the letter back to her a couple of days after, I had a Cape Breton Highlander uniform on. I was the first, in that town to join the Army in Port Hawkesbury. And after that, I had a brother join. Four brothers joined after I did. We just came out of the depression, there was no, no employment in the area so in order to give my father some relief, you got off his back and you went and you joined the Army and that's what a lot of the boys did.

Though Mr. McInnis remembers the depression with some fondness, the post depression years made it hard to build a future for ones self. He explains how this influenced his decision to join.

Alexander McInnis

Mr. McInnis was born in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, on September 7, 1919. His father was a section man for the CNR. He was the 3rd in a family of six (four brothers and one sister) of which his sister was the eldest. He joined the Cape Breton Highlanders without telling his parents when he was 20 years old. His four brothers also joined the forces. He started training in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, and then Victoria Park in Sydney until joining the West Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment. He went overseas May 12, 1940, and trained in Aldershot for three years. In 1943 he was sent by convoy to partake in the invasion of Sicily. After helping to free the town of Agira, he was sent across to southern Italy. After taking part in the Battle of Ortona he was wounded and ended up in the hospital in England for seven months. He then moved on to France, with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Division. After five more months of fighting in France and Holland where he helped in freeing the port of Antwerp, he was sent home to Canada.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Alexander McInnis
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Cape Breton Highlanders

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