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Keep your own Head on Straight!

Heroes Remember

Keep your own Head on Straight!

And Major Foote, he happened to be in our, there’s two ends to a barrack and in between there was this room and that’s where he had his chapel. So we used to be in there quite often. He used to get extra fuel so it was always nice and warm in there in the winter time. And we would go and play cards in there and he never really held a service but he would go around talking. We had a quite a few of them that we all said went over the hill, a nervous breakdown and this one fellow especially, he was “Hallelujahing” and all that and if we get three of more together and pray God will get us out of here and all that. He had a few followers and we really thought if we get out on the parade square or try to get out the gate, you know, you’d get shot but anyhow Major Foote went and got a hold of him and he said, I always thought of that, “Miracles happen,” but he said, “you pray to keep your own head on straight.” You can pray to help somebody, give them hope and whatnot but being able to, I always say you pray for somebody that gets well, you saved them with a prayer and if he dies, it’s God’s will. But anyhow, now that’s what he said and I always thought of that. You pray to keep your own head on straight.

Mr. Coles tells of his interaction with the padre, Major Foote, while in camp and advice given in respect to their own survival.

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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