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Humor kept us going

First World War Audio Archive

Transcript
Oh yeah, we had some good little officers. We had one, Campbell,

Hill 62 Memorial Belgium.

this Bennett, I told him that, and he says he might have been, he was from Prince Edward Island, he says, he might have been

Courtrai Memorial Belgium.

my relative. In 1918, you remember the Germans broke through in March. It looked bad. They were pretty strong. We had to do an

Le Quesnel Memorial Belgium.

awful lot of marching and marching at night. And I remember this

Gueudecourt Memorial France.

night he said, “We’ve got a long distance to go tonight.

Dury Memorial France.

It’s hard and I’m going to, I’m going to give you a little poem.”

Monchy Memorial France.

This is funny. It didn’t amount to much but we all had a good laugh. He says, “I have a dog, and his name is Tauzer and he is

Passchendaele Memorial Belgium.

a very smart pup. He will stand upon his hind legs when you hold

Masnières memorial France.

his front legs up.” And there was a lot of humorous, and that’s

Bourion Wood Memorial France.

what kept you going, and the dumbbells over there. I think

Courcelette Memorial France.

they were formed in 1916 from the 3rd division by the name of

Beaumont-Hamel Memorial France.

Al Plunket. He founded them. And that, by golly, I haven’t talked about it for so long, but there was a female impersonator.

St. Julien Memorial Belgium.

He was a Hamilton. And then there was Red Newman and

Canadian National Vimy Memorial France.

he sang his song, “Oh, oh, oh, oh, it’s a lovely war. What do you

Hill 62 Memorial Belgium.

want with eggs and ham when you got pom and apple jam? Form forward, right, turn. What do you do with the money you earn

Courtrai Memorial Belgium.

Oh, oh, oh, it’s a lovely war.” They’d sing that and they had the

Le Quesnel Memorial Belgium.

greatest singers, you know. They’d sing Roses of Picardy,

Gueudecourt Memorial France.

all these nice songs. You’d think it was a woman. During the winter when we were preparing for Vimy, that was the first time.

Dury Memorial France.

We saw them many times after that, of course, and always just

Monchy Memorial France.

enjoyed them. A funny thing happened. I remember when we went

Passchendaele Memorial Belgium.

over in 1916. We went to Neuville-Saint-Vaast and you know the town, the buildings were all blown down and we went down into a

Masnières memorial France.

basement. That was to be our home. You know, you’re going in

Bourion Wood Memorial France.

there. Your prospects didn’t look so rosy, did it? And so,

Courcelette Memorial France.

here again we went in and there was this darky from Halifax.

Beaumont-Hamel Memorial France.

He’d been down to the Somme and he survived and he was a

St. Julien Memorial Belgium.

ventriloquist and threw his voices. And that got us all amused, you see, and that made the night much better. And it’s a funny

Canadian National Vimy Memorial France.

thing about all these people that were really good at amusing

Hill 62 Memorial Belgium.

people. They were killed later. He was killed shortly after this.

Courtrai Memorial Belgium.

Le Quesnel Memorial Belgium.

Description

Mr. Ganong describes some of the humorous diversions which lessened the stress of the war: poetry, theatre, and ventriloquism.

Whitfield Ganong

Whitfield Ganong was born August 1, 1895 at Snider Mountain, New Brunswick. A second cousin to the Ganong chocolatiers of nearby Saint Stephen, he and his family lived on a mixed farm. Mr. Ganong enlisted in the 64th New Brunswick Battalion, having been accepted despite a bad leg and transferred to the 104th Battalion. He then joined the 26th Battalion as a Private and Lance-Corporal, and saw action in three major battles: Vimy, Hill 70 and Passchendaele. Mr. Ganong later worked as a teacher, shopkeeper and accountant, and married Katherine Ellen Herbert in 1924. He took part in a pilgrimage to France, and was shocked by the number of graves, yet awed by the work of the War Graves Commission. Mr. Ganong died on January 5th, 1989.

Meta Data
Medium:
Video
Owner:
Veterans Affairs Canada
Duration:
2:36
Person Interviewed:
Whitfield Ganong
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
Location/Theatre:
Europe
Branch:
Army
Units/Ship:
104th Battalion
Rank:
Private
Occupation:
Infantryman

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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