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Treatment from the Guards

Heroes Remember

Treatment from the Guards

It’s day by day. You know, if we had been in jail or prison camp for two years and if we knew we were going to be that long, it would be a long time because you are waiting day by day. We had no idea when we were getting out so we never planned on anything. Yes you just carried on. We played a lot of cards, done a lot of walking. As far as sports we really didn’t do any sports in our camp anyhow. We had different guards, they were all home guards, you know, they were crippled, lots of them. This one guy, every morning we had to be out on parade and they’d count us, every morning. And this one guard came around, shake our bed, “Please, please get up!” Some of them would say, “Rouse, rouse” shake them up. But none of them ever… And then we had one we called Spitfire. We used to build little stoves out of bully beef cans and whatnot and like, you know, if you burn paper with no extra oxygen or air, it’s just a little flame that won’t heat but if you get air behind it, it gets hot so we could warm up water for our tea and that with it. And this one, Spitfire, he would see them and jump on them but we didn’t mind, we could always make another one. So we had different guards, we never had any mean guards, no.

During time in camp, Mr. Cole speaks of the treatment of guards and expresses the fact that they were not treated badly at all.

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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