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When War Broke Out

Heroes Remember

And I can tell you this exactly. I was in Chicago, we were unloading newsprint for the Chicago Tribune off the ship that I was on when the war broke out. I can remember these, these shore workers, Americans, saying, "Well, that'll be the last we'll see of you guys, you'll be in the war." And I can remember telling them, "Don't be too long you guys, you'll be along over there too." "Oh no, we're not getting caught in this one," they says. I said, "Don't worry." And, of course, I didn't know that they still would never be in if the Japs hadn't dropped a load on their heads. That part of course came later. But anyways that's what I said to those guys. And I said, "Sure." I went back and we went right up to the lake head and I took my discharge from that ship and went straight out to Regina to see my widowed mother before I enlisted.

Mr. Keys recollects being in Chicago with the merchant marine when the war broke out. He then went to Regina to visit his mother and subsequently enlisted.

Herman C. Keys

Mr. Keys was born on September 15, 1916. He grew up in Balcarres, Saskatchewan which is sixty miles east of Regina. Mr. Keys started school at the age of six and quit in grade ten, at which time he went to Ontario to find work. His father owned a hotel which he sold before Mr. Keys was born. He also owned two farms and later became a cattle buyer. He died when Mr. Keys was twelve. His mother came from England and was a housekeeper for his father. Mr. Keys had a brother, named Mel and a sister. Mel went into action with Mr. Keys in Dieppe. Mel was wounded but survived the war. Mr. Keys joined the South Saskatchewan Regiment as a rifleman and was a member of the merchant marine for three years prior to enlisting.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Herman C. Keys
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
South Saskatchewan Regiment

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