Language selection


A Tradesman During Wartime

Heroes Remember

A Tradesman During Wartime

I did a lot of work in concrete. We were bricklayers, we had tradesman like, you know, there were carpenters, there were bricklayers, all tradesman like. You know, a lot of elderly people; well I called them elderly, I was eighteen at the time so they were in their thirties, you know, late twenties and thirties. They were in their trade at the time. We built hospitals, worked on hospitals to put wings on them and that and we also built what we called Nissen huts. We would pour the cement foundations and then we would build the structure up and that and then the plumbers would come in and do the inside work. We’d build roads also. Then we would more or less, runways, like, you know at the airports and stuff like that. We would go out on a job as independent, maybe there might be only eighteen or twenty would go out on a job to a certain hospital then after that we would go from one to the other. Maybe every two months or three months we would go back to our headquarters, our unit. At that time, we were on rations wherever we stayed. We were actually affiliated; we were on their staff like for our meals and stuff.

Mr. Sommerville describes the unique role he played in working with concrete; building roads and structures for the units to which they were affiliated.

Donald Sommerville

Mr. Donald Sommerville was born September 19, 1922 in Chatham, Ontario. Mr. Sommerville grew up on a farm and attended public school. He and his buddies decided to join the army and left for overseas as part of the Royal Canadian Engineers. Mr. Sommerville became part of the 23rd Royal Canadian Engineers, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. He takes pride in the service provided as part of “Operation Duck” - an operation that lasted nine days before the war ended. Mr. Sommerville has returned to Holland for commemorative anniversaries. He now resides in Ontario with his family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
May 6, 2015
Person Interviewed:
Donald Sommerville
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Liberation of Holland
Candian Royal Corps of Engineers, Electricians and Mechanics, 2nd Tank Troop Workshop

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: