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Canadian Government Was Good To Us

Heroes Remember

Canadian Government Was Good To Us

Having survived the Battle of Hong Kong and the prison camps, making a living and going to school and so on were pretty, well, daunting at times. They were kind of easy compared to what had gone before. And they were all seen as great opportunities, you see, the Government of Canada instead of just leaving me disturbed and unable to figure out, not enough education, I hadn't gone to university. I had no skills I could sell to an employer, I was a soldier, a weapons expert and that's all. The only choice I had was to stay in the army but I wasn't well enough. The army wouldn't accept me. I was too ill, too malnourished and so, but no, the government didn't do that. They set up rehab schools, they allowed me to go back and get my grade 13, allowed me to get my university entrance, then they paid for my tuition and gave me sixty dollars a month to live which was a lot of money in those days and I went through my university career. So the government from the day I was discharged from the hospital gave me a path to follow. And my treatment from then on by the Government of Canada through the Department of Veterans Affairs has been, I think, unimpeachable. And so, we're not only lucky to be alive but we were lucky to have a government that had done so much planning to ease us back into society and to give those who hadn't gone to school a chance to get an education. It was probably the most successful government venture ever undertaken because it changed the face of Canada forever.

Mr. MacDonell expresses his appreciation of the treatment provided by the Canadian government after returning home.

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
Hong Kong
Royal Rifles of Canada
Vehicle Technician

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