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Bartering at Sea!

Heroes Remember

We get into Londonderry the first time and a little boat comes alongside of us with two gentleman in there and he says, “Hiya laddie! How would you like a nice bottle of Irish whiskey?” I said, “Sure, I would love it!” You know I thought I would favor with the crew if I gave them a bottle of Irish whiskey. I said, “And what do I need to get that?” He says, “A bag of tea!” So I did that, I went around and secured a bag of tea from different tables and I was very happy. I brought it down and I threw it to these two fellows and they threw me a bottle of Irish whiskey. It was a one ounce sample bottle. And they said to me, “We didn’t lie to you, did we?” I said, “No, you didn't!" And I learned that all that glitters is not gold through that message and I think part of it stayed with me.

Mr. Polowin tells a humorous story of his exchange with sailors involving a bottle of Irish whiskey.

Alexander Polowin

Mr. Alexander Polowin was born in Lithuania in 1925. Growing up, his family endured many hardships and because of this Mr. Polowin’s father left for Canada in hopes of bringing new opportunities to their family. Life as a child for Mr. Polowin was focused and at age 8 he found himself selling product door to door in hopes of helping his family financially. At age 17 he joined the Navy, a service he knew nothing about but fondly looks back on as a very positive part of his life. Mr. Polowin fought during D-Day and the Battle of Normandy onboard the HMCS Huron. Never stepping foot on French soil, Mr. Polowin returned to France in June 2014 to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. He resides in Ottawa and shares his wartime experiences with youth accepting many invitations to speak at schools.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 2, 2014
Person Interviewed:
Alexander Polowin
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
HMCS Avalon
Able Seaman

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