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Transported in a Boxcar

Heroes Remember

Transported in a Boxcar

The first night we slept in, I think it was a fairgrounds like, it was kind of a barn we slept in. The next morning and we got mint tea. Mint tea, that’s all we drank all the time, you know, it’s good, I like it, it was mint tea. But anyhow they loaded us in the boxcars and there was about fifty of us I guess and we were in there for ten days. They had a bucket for a latrine and it would get full and splash over and there was guys had to sleep, we would change off sleeping. It was pretty demoralizing and I think we were about ten, fifteen days. When they’d stop most of the times they would empty the bucket. A lot of times we would be shifting back and forth in the (inaudible) and the bucket… Our immunity must have been awfully good because nobody got sick. That was the sad part, riding in the… anyhow this boxcar, you know, that you see on the railroads, it had eight horses and so that’s what it was supposed to carry but we really couldn’t all lay down at once, there was that many in there. And another thing, someone would have a bowel movement and what are you going to do with it? And there was four windows on each corner of it but they had barbwire, but they were only small, you couldn’t get through them. And they’d have a bowel movement and they would shove it out through the window. It was demoralizing, very demoralizing. We were sure glad to get out.

After surrendering, Mr. Cole shares a demoralizing experience while loaded in a boxcar en route to POW camp.

Elmer Cole

Mr. Elmer Cole was born in Roche Percee, Saskatchewan on December 22, 1919. At age 15 he started working and left school with a grade eight education. In 1940 he joined with the South Saskatchewan Regiment taking basic training in Winnipeg and in Feb. 41 he came back to Brandon, Manitoba for mechanical training, switching over to The Calgary Tanks as a trooper on the Churchill tanks. Mr. Cole travelled overseas to England where he was given more training until the summer of ’42 when the Dieppe Raid occurred. Mr. Cole fought through the battle only to surrender with other Canadian soldiers where he became a POW until ’45 when they were set free. After returning to Canada, Mr. Cole worked with the Department of National Defence, then carried on as a mechanic but with the strong desire to always be a wheat farmer, he and his wife bought a farm in Oak bank, Manitoba until he retired at the young age of 54. Mr. Cole and wife Isabel adopted two boys. Now widowed, Mr. Cole spends much of his time playing cards and socializing with residents of his retirement home as well as spending time with his grandchildren. In 2005 Mr. Cole was presented with an Honorary Life Member certificate of the Kiwanis Club in his local community. Presently, at age 97, Mr. Coles continues to enjoy a relaxed and healthy lifestyle.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
July 29, 2017
Person Interviewed:
Elmer Cole
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Calgary Tanks

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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