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Quick Answers Avoids Death

Heroes Remember

Quick Answers Avoids Death

We got into the minefield, we had a mile minefield to go through and we only had the width of the ship to go through it and I brought her up at four o’clock in the morning, we come up the Clyde. And I brought her through there right up to Garrett (sp), Scotland and that’s the first time I seen a ship sitting on the bottom. We passed one ship that had been hit by bombs, it sunk and half of it was sitting out of the water. Then we had to answer, as you come up there’s a blaze of lights coming at you because all the big coastal guns are there and you have to answer them. You know, they are guard ships, they stop, “Halt, who are you?” And we have to send back, “We are HMS E of A” and then they will say, “Pass E of A!” Empress of Australia. If we don’t answer it the captain says you got to answer him fast if you don’t answer it, we’re going to get a fifteen inch shell at us.

The importance of quick identification to allies is a matter of life and death.

Joseph Anthony Ryan

Joseph Anthony Ryan was born in Montreal in 1920. The circumstances during the depression era saw him and his family moving to Thunder Bay, Ontario in search of a better life. Like many during this time, applying to Canada’s military was a way to find work, adventure and purpose, so in the late 30’s he joined the Lake Superior Regiment and began his training alongside the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians). From participating in operations from Iceland to Dieppe to his time as a prisoner of war in Germany, Joseph Ryan’s stories bring us a unique perspective on the price paid for our freedom.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
May 5, 2009
Person Interviewed:
Joseph Anthony Ryan
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Regiment of Canada

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