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Childhood Memories of the First World War

Heroes Remember

Childhood Memories of the First World War

Interviewer: Now, do you remember much of the World War I years? Yes! Interviewer: Tell me about that. What do you remember about those years? The thing I remember most, the casualty lists and we had a goodly number of men from Harriston in the service. And there were a lot of casualties. And I remember those when they would strike friends, parents; the parents were friends of my own parents. I remember particularly, 1918, when the Armistice Day, November the 11th and the attempt to have a little celebration in a small town and there weren't any young men around. A few old men, a couple of invalids and they tried to put together, they had a bass drum, tried to put together a small parade. And they paraded down the main street to the far end of the town. And they had a replica of a Kaiser which they put up on a pole and set fire to. And those were the most vivid memories I guess I have. I also remember that we would get a word when one of the chaps was coming home, what train he was on and I was at public school at the time and it was a holiday so that we could all go over to the station and meet, be there when he got off the train, yeah. I haven’t thought of those things for ages.

Mr. Meiklejohn recalls childhood memories of the First World War, describing casualty lists, Armistice Day 1918, and meeting returning soldiers.

Dr. Robert Meiklejohn

Dr. Robert Meiklejohn was born in 1907, in Harriston, Ontario, and remained there throughout his youth, participating in cadets and the local militia. While attending medical school in England during the 1930s, Mr. Meiklejohn visited Germany. He returned from his visit certain war was imminent. Dr. Meiklejohn re-joined the militia upon his return to Canada, leading to quick enlistment upon Canada's declaration of war. Frustrated after almost a year of performing medical exams on troops, Dr. Meiklejohn transferred to the 16th Field Ambulance (whom he had been a militia member of) when it was activated, and was posted overseas. After arriving in England, Dr. Meiklejohn was posted to a newly created field surgical unit, a section of an advance surgical unit stationed within a few miles of the front lines, and posted to Italy. After losing their equipment when the ship was sunk during the journey, the unit was posted with British Forces for a few months before reuniting with Canadians. Following the Italian Campaign, Dr. Meiklejohn's unit was transferred to France to join Canadian troops heading into Holland. Dr. Meiklejohn finished his service in Holland bringing relief to the starving population. He returned to Canada soon after VE Day.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Dr. Robert Meiklejohn
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
Royal Canadian Army Medical Corp / 4th Armoured Division

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