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Enlisting in Navy

Heroes Remember

I enlisted yeah. I enlisted in, in that year and I enlisted down in New Glasgow. There used to be people, they hold meetings, you know. There were speakers come out from Charlottetown. What was MacMillan, what was his name. He became premier, anyway in there. One of the MacMillan men. He was out here. Interviewer: So they had recruiting meetings in New Glasgow? Yeah. In the hall. Used to be a hall there and they changed it into a, they sold it and made a mill out of it. Interviewer: What to you recall about that meeting? Oh, I recall about them telling everybody, they should go, they should go and help their comrades overseas and all that, you know. And how they were in need of men over there and, so I strolled up to the, the last time I went and signed up to go in. I was going I was to go into Charlottetown the next day and join up, sign up, get my, you know, medical and all. So anyway, next day come, I had to go by train then you see there was no buses, or no we had no car then or anything. Had to go to Hunter River and get the train at Hunter River and go in that way So I went to Hunter River and got on the train there and when you got on there was three or four fellows, young fellows, not much older than myself and they were going in to enlist too. And one of them was recruiting for the navy. George, George Gamble was his name and he come along and sat down beside me and, "You talking to me?" First thing I know I was going to be a sailor. Interviewer: And up until then you thought you were going to be a soldier. Yes, yes. Yes, that's what I, I thought I was going to be. So when I went to get in town I signed up as a sailor and that's how I got in the navy. I'd never been in, even in a row boat before that, I don't think. Interviewer: And you were nineteen years old? No, seventeen. Interviewer: Seventeen years old? Yeah, yeah. Interviewer: In Charlottetown, after you had enlisted what happened then? Well, then I had a couple of days. I had three days I think. I had to come home and say good-bye and farewell to the ones at home and around and then I went into Charlottetown. Interviewer: What was it like saying good bye? Oh, it wasn't very nice. It wasn't very nice. It wasn't very nice My mother was, took it pretty hard, but she took it pretty hard. She gave me, she couldn't say goodbye, she gave it to me in a letter which I have in that bible yet. I took it with me to England, I brought it back and I took it with me to Ottawa and I brought it back. I still got it. It was her farewell words to me And one of them was - try and find someone that don't drink for a pal, you know. Well, that was quite a hard job to do in the army or the navy if you ever, if you ever try to find somebody that don't drink. When we got over, when I was going over and we got over about where I suppose, where they, they're more apt to be submarines. Oh was I ever, you'd look out and you'd see a little dot here and there all and around you like. And you know what they were? English destroyers. Come out to meet us. I never felt so safe then, you know. They were coming out... they were out in as far as, the submarines can only come out so far, they gotta, they don't like to be out where it's real cold in the waters. So these, these were English submarines in the British Navy coming out to meet us, to escort us right in to Liverpool. That was my big moment when I was going over. Yeah, when I'd seen those I didn't think, I know we wouldn't have to swim ashore then

Mr. Stevenson describes the train ride from his Prince Edward Island farm home to Charlottetown, where he went to enlist in the army. He recalls the other young men he met on the train and how they convinced him to sign up with them for the navy instead. Following some basic training, he's sent overseas, telling of his reaction when he saw British ships coming to meet the vessel he was on as it approached England.

Lorne Stevenson

Lorne Stevenson was born on a farm in Wheatley River, Prince Edward Island on June 23, 1898. He received his early education at a one-room school in Wheatley River and recalls that as a 9-year-old, he worked eight hours a day during the summer in the potato fields around his home. In 1915, at the age of 17 years, he decided to join the many other Canadian young men fighting the Germans during the First World War. The interview was recorded at his home in New Glasgow, Prince Edward Island in August, 1996.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Lorne Stevenson
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War

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