Language selection



Heroes Remember

There must have been a better way. There would have to be a better way. This... we lost a lot of men. I think the Canadians lost, well, the Queen’s Own Cameron’s of Winnipeg lost over 400 men. And it’s a unit of a thousand. There would be, probably 1,600 casualties, injuries that would be enough to put them out of the war. Now, and the reinforcements, you know, they were reinforced and reinforced so that that thousand would represent 2,000 anyway. And even then, when the war was over, they were down to half strength. I certainly grew up a lot, and I think everybody else did too. You know, we felt, everybody was depressed by the Depression. Emotionally depressed by the Depression. It didn’t look as though the future had anything to do with us. But when the troops came back, everybody had that business they were really going to show things, show people how to do things. They came back as winners, really, and that made all the difference in the world, you know. I think it made Canada an independent country for the first time. We went over as a colony, and came back as independent Canadians. Everyone felt that way, it was just obvious.

Dr. Theal reflects on Canada’s fatalities, and on how he and our country matured.

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

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: