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I wasn’t happy as a civilian.

Heroes Remember

I wasn’t happy as a civilian.

My military life began again in 1952. My dad had passed away and I was fishing with him. I didn’t want to fish. I hated the sea because I used to get sea sick. So I went back to the military. So when I went back into the military, I went in to the depot and I said I want to re-enlist. So they did a medical on me and they said, “Oh well, we can’t take you.” I said, “Why?” I said, “You took me during the war and I served my country during the war and now your telling me I can’t go back in, what’s wrong?” Well he said, “You’ve got flat feet.” “Oh,” I said. “Jeez, didn’t I have flat feet during the war?” “No,” he said. I did. So there was a Captain Eldridge. Captain Eldridge knew me as a young man, kid, when I was in the scouts. So he said to the recruiting officer, “No, he’s going back in.” He said, “I know Mr. Berry and if he could damn well serve his country when it was wartime, what are you trying to say he can’t serve the country just as well in peacetime?” I went back in the forces. That was in 1952. Uh, I went back in the forces. I went back in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, same outfit, not the bridge company but just the service corps. And I served from 1952 to 1974. I got promoted to a sergeant. I became an administration sergeant. I had no problem with anybody. I was treated like anybody else. That’s about my whole life story. It was military. I was a military person. I think maybe God meant for me to be a military person. Regardless of what happened, I was never happy as a civilian. I wasn’t happy as a civilian. And I was really happy when I went back in the forces. I should have never got out but I was really happy when I went back in the forces.

Mr. Berry describes his reenlistment in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps and how good Military life proved to be for him.

Irving Malcolm Berry

Irving Berry was born on March 10, 1924 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. He attended South End School, but left school early to find work. At the time that war broke out, he was working as a porter for the bus company, earning $3.50 per day. Mr. Berry was aware that the recruiting officer in Halifax was prejudiced against blacks, but managed to successfully enlist. His training took place in Camp Borden, and then he shipped overseas, joining the 86th Bridging Company, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps. Mr. Berry’s active service in France began twenty-one days after the D-Day invasion. His company’s responsibility was to deliver bridge building components to the Front, and if needed, assist in the actual construction of new bridges. Three major areas of activity were the Seine, Arnheim, and the Rhine. Mr. Berry left the Armed Forces after the war, but reenlisted in the RCASC in1952. He retired with the rank of Sergeant in 1974.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Irving Malcolm Berry
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
86th Brigade Company
Bridging Crew

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