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Camaraderie: War Isn't All Hell!!

Heroes Remember

Camaraderie: War Isn't All Hell!!

Because we got paid a lot of money in that job, 50 cents a day, I put one of my quarters, as a lot of the fellows did, on the railroad tracks, so the Royal train ran over it, and flattened it out. And that became a souvenir and was a lucky charm in my money belt throughout the war, still have it. War came, and I don't know if I did mention, but we were not mobilized immediately. So we were getting impatient. I even tried to join the air force, and it was not easy to get in in these days. And I went down to London to try to join the RCR, the Royal Canadian Regiment who had been mobilized. But, they just weren't recruiting. Then finally one day in early June of 1940, I got a call from the air force, and they would take me. But that same day my regiment mobilized, so I went with the regiment. And the rest is history. We had two divisions go up initially, we were 3rd Division and the 1st and 2nd Division, we just had enough uniforms, weapons, training areas or anything. So we had a minuscule of military when the war broke out. So we became, Freddy and I became very close friends with two other fellas, one, Gerry Rayner, who was an Englishman actually, he was in Trinidad on the family plantation, and he came up to join the army in Canada. And Earl Stoll

Picture of Gerry Rayner and Earl Stoll.

who was from New Toronto. And we were all about the same age. That was the remarkable part of the whole operation. We were just kids, and we had a lot of fun together. I mean war isn't all hell, there is an awful lot of fun in it. And, you know we would go to London together, up to Scotland together, we'd be in the pubs together, chasing skirts together, I actually caught one.

Jerry holding something in his hand.

And there's something special about being a Canadian over there, this is in England. And you felt that special Canadian bit when you marched or walked down the street, if it was Whitehall or Haymarket or around Trafalgar Square or Leicester Square. And you knew you were Canadian

Picture of Barney.

and you have those badges on your shoulder, and you just threw your shoulders back a little further, and saluted more smartly when an officer came by. And it was a wonderful experience except that everybody got killed, except me.

Mr. Danson remembers the mobilization of his regiment and goes on to recall some of the positive experiences he shared with his friends during the war.

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

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