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Infantry: Walking Into the Enemy

Heroes Remember

Infantry: Walking Into the Enemy

We really knew what we were getting in to. We knew our chances of survival were pretty damn low. Infantry, you walk into the enemy, and you're more exposed than any other troops possible. On a regular continuing basis. I didn't do it on a continuing basis. I got wounded too early. Freddy didn't do it for more than 40 seconds. I don't say you expected it, and in some ways you did. We talked about it amongst ourselves. We were all bachelors up until I found an English girl and got married. And we said, well you know, our parents will feel badly, but it's part of a job that has to be done. And we were terribly young, terribly young. Except the greater tragedy in my view were those who were a little older who were married, and did have children and young families and were killed. And this hit me very hard, well it does every time you go back to one of these cemeteries, but when I went to the Calais cemetery last year, to see Earl's grave for the first time, and beside him was a Tommy Easton, who was a hard rock miner from Hornepayne. Hornepayne was a railway junction, but I think he was a hard rock miner anyway, he certainly knew how to dig a trench better than any of us Torontonians did, and a wonderful sweet guy. And I said, "Gee, isn't that great, you know, it's been over 50 years, and Freddy and Tommy have been side by side." It was an interesting reaction, rather than sadness, a little happiness.

Mr. Danson describes the reality of being an infantry soldier. He remembers how the men understood the risk and accepted it willingly.

Barnet J (Barney) Danson

Mr. Danson was born in Ontario, 1921. Before the war, Mr. Danson worked for Columbia pictures. As a Jewish man, he was aware of the political situation in Europe. His instincts told him that war was imminent and he felt a sense of urgency to fight. As a result, he joined the Army during peacetime in hopes of being trained and ready to serve if war broke out. Mr. Danson was an Infantry Officer with the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada. In the Fall of 1944 he was wounded, thus ending his war effort. After the war, he had a successful business and later entered politics where he served as the Minister of Defence in the Trudeau Government.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Barnet J (Barney) Danson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
Infantry Officer

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