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American Soldier Befriends Him!

Heroes Remember

American Soldier Befriends Him!

They give us our first leave and we went to Paris from Germany. We were in Paris there and everything so we was in this café and we were in there talking so I got up and went to the washroom and when I come back there's a white American soldier sitting there with him, my buddy Gerald. So I come and I sat down and this American looked at me and he says, "What are you doing boy, what are you doing sitting here?" I said, "Because this is my seat, this is my drink there!" "You can't sit here with us!" My buddy Gerald says, "Hmm, the one that will be moving will be you, not him, the person that will move is you, not my buddy, this is my buddy!" And so he hemmed and hawed and turned to him and said, "You either go or..." And then he asked if he could stay. He said, "Yes, you can stay!" So we sat there and we drank and we travelled, he wanted to know if he could go travelling with us so I said, “Yeah”, so we went down and we walked around for a while and went and had some lunch. He sat down at the table with us and started talking, that's when he told me there. He said, “You know you're the first coloured man that I sat and talked to in my life,” he says, “when I go home I'm going to tell my mother and father that.” He said, “I feel right proud,” he said, “ You're just like the rest of us!” I said, “I've grown up like the rest of yahs!”

Mr. Cromwell tells of his encounter with an American soldier and developing a friendship.

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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