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One Bath in Almost Three Years

Heroes Remember

One Bath in Almost Three Years

We were given some black bread and it was good, I don’t say anything against it and mint tea, that’s really what we got. When we got to the camp they gave us a bath and fumigated our clothes just in case of lice and in those two years, nine months that’s the only bath I had. We all smelt pretty good I guess we all smelt alike but no, we washed ourselves down. We shaved every day, I don’t say everyday most of us just had fuzz anyhow but we shaved, I guess maybe at some time or another they knew we were going to get to prison. They said remember if you are taken prisoner you’re still a soldier and I guess that’s it. And so no, we shaved every day and nobody had whiskers and we’d scrub ourselves down, it was cold water so ya, it wasn’t that bad.

Mr. Cole shares his story of treatment as a prisoner arriving to the camp where he would remain as a POW.

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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