Veteran Stories:
George Watson Willett

Army

  • Sapper George Watson Willett (on right) with an unidentified comrade. Date unknown.

    Watson Willett
  • Mr. George Watson Willett, July 2010.

    Historica Canada
  • Mr. George Watson Willett during engineer training, circa 1942.

    Watson Willett
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"We went with different infantry regiments and we swept for mines. You had good days and you had some bad days. You know, it was, you had to roll with the punches."

Transcript

[My name is] George Watson Willett and I was with the 2nd Battalion, [Royal Canadian] Engineers. My mother wasn’t in favour of it. They had no choice. I joined up. They weren’t aware of it. I joined the army and then they knew I was in the army. We were usually, our unit, it was bridge building. And I was with the bomb disposal and the mine disposal unit. We went with different infantry regiments and we swept for mines. You had good days and you had some bad days. You know, it was, you had to roll with the punches. Well, if you were in action and somebody got hurt or killed, that was a bad day. And the food wasn’t too good either; [laughs] especially in the wintertime when you were living in a slit trench and you were cold. Sometimes, you would be in for a week or two and then you’d get a few days off, but it was mostly to be re-equipped, you know. Queen Wilhelmina [of the Netherlands] made a speech one time. Of course, though, we were a lot of young fellows over there with nothing to do ̶ this is after the war - with a lot of pretty Dutch girls. And when Queen Wilhelmina went home, she was in Canada during the war, when she went home, she made a speech; and she asked, liberate us from our liberators. She was getting fed up with us over there.
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