Veteran Stories:
Robert Burvill

Army

  • Robert Burvill in the field on exercise in Sussex, England, 1942.

    Robert Burvill
  • Robert Burvill's Gun Crew, 23rd Battery, B Troop, #2 Gun in Italy, 1944. Mr. Burvill is in the front row on the right.

    Robert Burvill
  • Robert Burvill posed in the backyard of his future in-laws in West Calder, Scotland, in early 1941.

    Robert Burvill
  • Robert Burvill's Soldiers Service and Pay Book, dated from December 18, 1940, contained all pertinant information regarding the soldier and his family.

    Robert Burvill
  • Robert Burvill's Soldiers Service and Pay Book, dated from December 18, 1940, contained all pertinant information regarding the soldier and his family.

    Robert Burville
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"Many of the guys would go and get their ration of food, whatever it was, and just walk over and dump their food from their mess tins into the containers that these kids all had, just so that the kids could have something to eat."

Transcript

When we arrived at Gourock in Scotland and as we got on the trains and during the trip down through the country, Scotland, and into England, on the way to Bordon Camp, which is near Aldershot, we were quite impressed with the countryside; and I decided that on my embarkation leave, which was for seven days, that I wanted to go back to Scotland. My best buddy that was with me said that he was going back to Scotland to a place called St. Andrews. He said his brother was over there and had been to St. Andrews, and advised him to take a leave there. I decided to go to St. Andrews. On the way, we stopped in Edinburgh and lo and behold, it wasn’t until years later that I got to St. Andrews because while I was in the [YMCA] Forces Canteen in Edinburgh on Princess Street, there was two air force ladies and an army lady. And with them were two Polish soldiers. Polish soldiers were trying to convince the air force girls to go to a picture show with them, which they finally agreed to do, which left the army girl all by herself. And, of course, being the perfect Canadian gentleman, I sat beside her and started to talk to her and, as they say, the rest is history. Less than a year later, we were married and shortly after that, I was sent to Sicily. While in Sicily, waiting for our guns to catch up to us, we were stationed in Count Ciano’s palace on the slopes of Mount Etna. We were moved from the slopes down to the coast to a little village called Iona where we were quartered in a school with a huge courtyard. And it was such a depressing time because of all the children that was gathered around, especially at mealtimes, with those hungry, staring eyes, waiting to pick up scraps. Many of the guys would go and get their ration of food, whatever it was, and just walk over and dump their food from their mess tins into the containers that these kids all had, just so that the kids could have something to eat. We then moved to the northwest Europe and we first went into action there just over the bridge from Nijmegen in the field where there were crashed helicopters and we were in on the final assault on Germany. After being in action for about three weeks, I managed to get a seven day leave and went to visit my wife at her parents’ home, just outside of Edinburgh, and to see my wee daughter for the first time. On the last day of my leave, my daughter got up from one side of the room and walked right over the room to me, so I saw her first steps, a sight that I will never ever forget.
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