Veteran Stories:
Nick Dronyk

Army

  • Nick Dronyk, in Olds, Alberta, June 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"The sergeant asked us how many can drive a motorcycle. There was quite a few hands up, never rode a bicycle. But anyways, that was, young guys, we all wanted to ride motorcycles."

Transcript

One day on the parade, the sergeant asked us how many can drive a motorcycle. There was quite a few hands up, never rode a bicycle. But anyways, that was, young guys, we all wanted to ride motorcycles. So there was about seven was enlisted for that job; and then we went training with the motorbikes. And we drove out in through trails and through gravel pits. You had to climb up and push to get up in the gravel pit with your bike and down. We followed each other on the trails. So a guy was in front of me, [laughs] so all of a sudden, he stopped in front of me and then I drove into a bunch of willows. [laughs] And a willow got, went through here and got my eye here about, you know, it’s good it didn’t poke the eye out. So then that was that. It just was an accident, I guess. So the training was tough on the bikes. Once we got our training, I was on, was six months on it, dispatch rider. We took the convoy. You had to lead the convoy and some were behind the convoy. As soon as your civilian car came through, you had to take a troop past the convoy to the end. Once they go to the end, you turn around and you got back on the front again. So there was about two or three at the back and two or three on the front. That’s to keep the public going through because our convoy was quite long, and that was our job. And then they put me in the quarter stores - that’s army supply stores in camp. My job was supplying the equipment for the guys going overseas. Their good clothes, good shoes and uniforms. That was my job at the quarter stores. And that was towards the end of the war and there was a lot of the conscripted young guys, they were 15 and over. They had two weeks training. And I, I felt sorry for the young guys because that’s not enough training. You’re going to get on the front lines, you’re going to lose them in no time. But, anyways, quite a few of them went over. Then I got a job guarding the Canadian prisoners at Little Mountain, Vancouver camp. And the prisoners were Canadian prisoners. Those that were absent or maybe got away from the army and got caught and bring them back. And I done that, but the worst thing I felt bad is when the little kids and their mothers come to visit their dad on Sunday. And the guardhouse had a fence around and I was outside the fence, so they come to visit their daddy and parents. So they had to talk through the page wire [agricultural fencing] and then give a kiss for their daddy through to the page wire. That was kind of a sad thing. But what can you do? I got my discharge in Calgary, in 1946, February. And I got married in July. July sixteenth, that same year.
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