Language selection


Failed attempt to Enlist

Heroes Remember

Failed attempt to Enlist

After we found out war had broke out, we, I got back on the SS <em>MacKenzie</em>, come back to Smith, Mickey Ryan took me across the Portage. Mickey was MacKenzie River transport chief and he was a millionaire in those days. Quite a nice guy, Mickey and Pat. And they got me on to the Echo to go back to Fort McMurray and on the way down to Fort McMurray, I think it was about 60 miles out or something, there was an aircraft landed and it was the, some carpenters they were going to pick up and there was a friend of mine by the name of Riel Martin from Fort McMurray. He was supposed to go, but I put my pack on my back and I got in the plane and I signed my name and it was I think a Norseman or a Focker float plane and once I signed my name, well they shut the door and we flew to McMurray and we got off and we got paid. And then I got in a, went into a box car and we rode from there into Edmonton. And when I went into Edmonton, of course I had a, I didn't have shoes, I had a pair of beaded moccasins on. I bought my first pair of Oxfords then for seven dollars, and they were nice. But that's when I went in to join. I went down to the armouries and when I was coming into the armouries, there was a guy up in the tower behind bars. The fellow was one of the deckhands, Whitford, and he hollered down. They called me Habo. He says, "Hey Habo, what are you doing?", "I'm going to join the army.", he says, "Don't do it. Look what they done to me!", and I says, "Well, you probably deserve where you are.", "I'm in jail!". So, I went in and I got in. I was in a day and then they changed it, you had to be 19 to go overseas. So I was oozed out. But then I bummed around Colinton for a while. Interviewer: Well, how old were you when you tried to enlist? I was 18, my proper age. If I'd of known 19 to be overseas, I would have said I was 19 years of age, but I didn't know at the time. That law came in after, you had to be 19.

Mr. Lenko's first attempt to enlist doesn't succeed as he's not old enough to serve. He tells the story.

Sam Lenko

Mr. Lenko enlisted in the army in Edmonton of February 14, 1940. He took basic infantry training in Calgary and then travelled to Halifax by train where he boarded the Duchess of Bedford, where he sailed in convoy to England. The ship arrived in the port of Liverpool and he was sent immediately to Aldershot for further training.His service included Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium and Holland. He returned to Canada and to Calgary on August 29, 1945, eventually training as a barber. He ran a barber shop for 20 years before changing his job to an unspecified occupation. He spent his working civilian life in Sangudo, Alberta.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Sam Lenko
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: