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Anthony Eden’s Estate

Heroes Remember

Anthony Eden’s Estate

Just before the D-Day, I went with all the rest of the reinforcements up to Northern Scotland, Northern England to Yorkshire. And there may have been other camps but the one I went to was a huge camp on Anthony Eden’s estate. There were thousands of troops there. Being a doctor, there were … I was in a Quonset hut with a number of other doctors. There were about eight Quonset huts, which were medical centres for this huge camp. There would be two or three doctors in each Quonset hut and the troops would come in for sick parade in the morning, and in the afternoon they’d be called up for duty to go down south and join either the Italian campaign or the Northwest Europe campaign. And then after that, if you weren’t called for at that time, you were free for the rest of the day. And we were fortunate to be able to borrow Norton motorcycles from the army up there and travel around the countryside. And I was interested to get out on the moors and to see some of the farms, and there were big farms in Yorkshire that had… they were built in a… buildings in a quadrangle, with a manure pile in the middle and the chickens, and so on. The people I remember were very annoyed that they had to have pasteurized milk because they thought that it spoiled the milk, you know, just as it was in Courtney when I first came here They couldn’t, it missed them entirely that their grandchildren were in hospitals with tuberculosis of bone from unpasteurized milk. I had not had much acquaintance with these English people before. My family were long separated from England or wherever they came from. Being, I think they were United Empire Loyalists and they had been in America for many generations. So I didn’t know the English people very well. They seemed, they seemed rather fixed in their ideas. They certainly were very class conscious as we noticed in the army. If you didn’t belong to the upper classes in the English Army, you couldn’t be an officer.

Dr. Theal describes his responsibilities as a camp physician, as well as his impressions of Yorkshire and its people.

Dr. Gordon Irvine Theal

Dr. Theal was born in Grimsby, Ontario on April 2, 1916. His father, a farmer, operated a feed mill and later became a grocer, at which time Dr. Theal was old enough to help in the family business. At the insistence of some friends, he enrolled in Queens University’s medical school in Toronto. With the outbreak of war, he joined the Officer Training Corps. After graduating, Dr. Theal married and moved to British Columbia, where he went from camp to camp, encouraging enlistment in the regular forces. After shipping overseas and a couple postings in England, he was shipped to France during the D-Day invasion. His brigade accompanied the Allied advance from France to Holland. During this time, Dr. Theal and his team performed triage. This was the first contact the wounded had with a doctor and he would provide emergency medical treatment before the wounded moved back to the larger field hospitals. After completing his tour, Dr. Theal returned home to Ontario, to his wife and daughter, and took up private practice. He currently resides in Courtney, British Columbia.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Dr. Gordon Irvine Theal
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps

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