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Norman's war part one

by cornwallcsv

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Norman Hunt
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22 November 2005

This story was entered onto the Peoples war website by Rod Sutton on behalf of Rosemary Nichollas, the author of this story from her cousin Norman Hunt, they fully understand and accept the sites terms and conditions.

I enlisted in the Army in 1940 at the age of 16, I lied about my age. I joined the Lake Superior Regiment which is now Fort William and Port Arthur; they were twin cities, it is now Thunder Bay in Ontario. And I grew up in a hurry I can tell you. The pay was a dollar 30 a day, a rise from 6.25.

It was only a little bit of a rise but if you take out the uniform and meals that was big money. Any medical expenses were also taken care of. You see, out of the six and a quarter I got as a butcher's apprentice I used to have to supply the meat for the family so I didn't get a whole lot at the end of it. But the buck 30 was all mine. I was just 16, and I think my first thought was it was a job, you know. It was depression days, just coming out of the depression, I guess, but it was a job and it felt good to do it. I didn't know whether they would take me of not. Everyone else was doing it, not in my age group, but some of them were and it just felt that finally I was doing something, something worthwhile.

Then came B. Company. I enlisted in Winnipeg because that was the headquarters of the military district that I was in and was put on a train that night, in fact, and was shipped down the Thunder Bay or Fort William and Port Arthur. For a time you are just drilling, just another body. Finally you become aware of companies and platoons, and things like that. I was assigned to B. Company, Baker Company. And one of the unusual things was that I stayed with that same company for the whole of the time I was in the army.

The guys that enlisted about the same time I did were a lot of young fellows like myself, and there were several that I kinda chummed with because we were all around the same age group. There was another bunch of fellows that we were with constantly because we were all in the same company, and they were hard rock miners and lumberjacks. Then there were the men on the road, bums, hobos, whatever you like to call them, a pretty tough bunch of guys, you know.

During my training period while I was in Thunder Bay, I came east to Saint John, where I now live, twice. We had gone from Thunder Bay to Camp Borden from Borden we went to Ottawa to act as a guard of honor for President Roosevelt who was to come to Canada, but in the end didn't come. We were picked out of all the Regiments, anyway, and went to Ottawa. We had a wonderful time in Ottawa, great. Then we marched from Ottawa to Montreal, then we got on a train to Aldershot, Nova Scotia, and eventually landed in Saint John, where I now live. That was our first trip here.

We were here for quite a while, I can't remember exactly how long, but it was several months. Then they shipped us to Debert, Nova Scotia, and we did some more training there. Here at Saint John we were training and did the Coast Guard but in Debert it was nearly all training, and then we came back to Saint John. (They shipped us back to Saint John again.) Two days before I left to go overseas I met a lady, we got along so great. I met her on a Saturday and Tuesday I went overseas. That was how long I knew her. We corresponded all through the war, we just kept writing, she was a good writer and I liked writing. Her name was Jean Ross.

In 1939 Canada had already entered the war. In 1940 I was shipped overseas to England for more training.

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