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The Enlistment Process

Heroes Remember

The Enlistment Process

When I joined the army, my uncle who was my guardian at the time, phoned the Commanding Officer of the battery I joined, and said, “This boy is too young. He shouldn't be in the army.” So I was sent back to high school. And so you can imagine what happened to me in high school. My friends said, “Some soldier, they kicked you out after a week!” And so, anyway, I was determined I was not going to be thwarted by this, and so with two dollars in my pocket from the little town of Listowel one early morning I hitchhiked to London, Ontario where I went to the recruiting office in the old armoury in the middle of London. I told them I was 18 and passed the medical and entered the 1st Division. After a day or so, I phoned my guardian, my wonderful uncle and said, “Look, I'm determined to serve in the Army. You understand, you were a soldier in World War I. If you get me removed again by telling my true age, then I'll run away to Vancouver or somewhere and you'll never know where I am. And please don't interrupt this venture into the Army.” And being a soldier in World War I, he was sympathetic and so he decided to let me have my way.

Too young, yet determined to join the army, Mr. MacDonell shares the story of his enlistment adventures.

George MacDonell

Mr. MacDonell was born in Edmonton, Alberta on August 15, 1922. He lost his parents at an early age and was raised by his uncle and family. In 1939, he ran away from home and made the decision to join the army. Mr. MacDonell served as Company Sergeant Major during the Battle of Hong Kong and in 1941 was captured and was a POW for four years. Post-military, Mr. MacDonell earned his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toronto and went on to have a successful business career. Mr. MacDonell is very active in his city and very proud of having served. Mr. MacDonell is retired and resides in Toronto, Ontario.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
George MacDonell
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Rifles of Canada
Vehicle Technician

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