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Back on Civvy Street

Heroes Remember

Back on Civvy Street

Well right after the war when they discharged us, they just discharged us, they said if you wanted to stay in you could. But I wasn't even thinking about staying in because of that five years in the service, I never wore civilian clothes, just a uniform all the time. It was one thing about we had just got out of the army in Halifax, that was a real setback - the prejudice. My brother, Guy, that's the fellow that is dead now that went through Sicily, him and I was quite close together right from kids up so he was already out, he was out in '45, he was living in Dartmouth. So we got out and we went, they give you one hundred dollars to buy clothes, you know. I wished I could get clothes that cheap now. Went to the store, clothing store and I bought a suit, and I remember a pair of black pants and a grey tweed suit, felt hat, these days everybody wore a felt hat. But the funny part about it was, that set us back on our heels. I was staying at the hotel and I went into this hotel and I changed and I put my civilians on and boy it felt real funny. I said, "I feel like I''m not dressed!" So we were walking up the street right happy and giggling, going on and walked into this restaurant right on Barrington Street, walked in and sat down and, you know, we just walked in and sat down and we were talking and waited and waited; the waitresses was sitting up by the counter and they were looking at each other. Jeez are we going to get served? As soon as I say the words, the lady that was behind the counter she came over said, "Sorry gentleman, we don't serve you people here in this restaurant." So we just got up and said, "Yeah, thank you!" And turned and walked out and we sat in there I would say almost ten minutes before she got nerve enough to come over and tell us. And that really dug in the belly because after doing all the war and over in England and places there, I ate in places where it was like my buddy was saying you don't know what tool to eat with first, you know, and then come home and get in this small restaurant and that. That hurt, that one. I had to brush that one off.

Mr. Cromwell speaks about returning home and experiencing prejudice in a local restaurant.

Everett Sylvester Cromwell

Everett Cromwell was born on December 12, 1921 in Weymouth Falls, Digby Co., Nova Scotia. He was the fifth of ten children. At age twelve, he left school to work in the woods because his father, also a forestry worker, had fallen ill. Both of his parents were soon deceased, and the ten children stayed in the family home supporting one another. Mr.Cromwell supported the family by working for a local farmer and then in the local lumberyard. He enlisted in June, 1941 in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps. After basic training in Halifax, Sherbrooke, and Camp Borden, he sailed aboard the Louis Pasteur to England, arriving on December 23, 1941. Two weeks after the D-day raid, Mr. Cromwell arrived in France with the 2nd Division, Motor Transport. For the duration of the war, his unit was responsible for transporting fuel, food and ammunition to the Front in support of the Allied advance on Germany. After being discharged from the army and returning home, Mr. Cromwell, recently married, reenlisted because it was ‘steady work’. He and his family were to experience institutionalized racism in Halifax, being denied accommodations because of their black heritage. This in contrast to the fact that he felt equal in all respects as a member of the Army. Mr. Cromwell and his wife, Elizabeth, currently reside in Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Everett Sylvester Cromwell
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Canadian Army Service Corps

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