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Trained and Headed to England

Heroes Remember

Trained and Headed to England

One morning in Sussex after we had been there for four or five months, it was in May we were given two weeks leave, everybody. Half of the battalion went at one time and half later. Twelve days leave and we came back and they told us we were going overseas. We didn’t know where overseas was. So one morning we were ordered to get ready. The troop trains had arrived in Sussex and we boarded the troop trains. They said we were going to Halifax, we landed in Halifax. I had never been to Halifax before. We pulled into the docks at Halifax. I looked out over the Bedford Basin. I never saw so many ships in my life. I was used to seeing ships along the Bay Chaleur, all those ships going up but I never saw so many ships. They said you could walk across from one ship to another across the Bedford Basin. So we boarded the ships. There was five troop ships there. I have a picture of the one I went across on, the Duchess of York and there was three thousand of us on that ship. And there was four others and they were men from all across Canada, regiments from all across Canada boarded those other four ships and we were on the Duchess of York. And that was about five o’clock and the colonel and the captain of the ship said we would be sailing in the morning. He didn’t say where. We’d be sailing in the morning. So about an hour after we had supper the captain came aboard and said, “It’s too dangerous to stay here, we’re moving outside the harbor.” So they moved out, all the ships started moving out. There was a hundred ships in the convoy. They said it was the largest convoy that ever crossed the Atlantic. There was five troop ships and destroyers, cruisers, battleships and the five troop ships were in the center and the battleships were all around for protection. And then about, when we got outside the harbor the captain decided during the night they were going to sail so we started for, then we were told we were going to England.

Upon completing his training, Mr. Chiasson speaks about boarding the Duchess of York with 3,000 onboard and only then finding out their destination as they were set to sail.

Havelyn Chiasson

Mr. Chiasson was born May 14, 1921 in Misquamicut Island, New Brunswick. He attended an English and French school while his father worked as a fisherman. When war was declared in 1939, Mr. Chiasson was recruited to the Carleton York Regiment in Bathurst and later with the North Shore Regiment, a regiment he would remain with until end of wartime. Mr. Chiasson held the position of wireless operator and found himself travelling overseas which would become a 5 ½ year experience. Mr. Chiasson was part of the D-Day and Battle of Normandy landings where he reached the beaches in St. Aubin-sur-Mer, Normandy. He carried on through to Holland. Mr. Chiasson remains very active about his service years, speaking to our youth about the importance of service to our country.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
March 20, 2014
Person Interviewed:
Havelyn Chiasson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
North Shore Regiment
Wireless Operator

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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