"So we had a chat; and I told him, I said, I’m a sergeant cook, I’m fully a cook, I can do anything in cooking, I don’t care what it is, I can do it."
Well, my buddy hired me to take him down to Woodstock in Carleton County. He was in the services, but he had to sign up. So he talked me into signing. So I did. I was told to report on the island at Woodstock on Monday morning at 10:00. Which I did. They led me right into a little place; it used to be a stand, you know, for ice cream and stuff, about eight by 12. And he said, come on in. I went in. He said you have to feed 90 soldiers at 1:00. This was about 11:00. I looked around, all that was in that place was an old rusty, what do you call them, put gas in them, you know, and, what’s the name of it? I’ll think about it in the minute. And it was a two-burner.
And I said, well that rusty thing doesn’t look like it can do very much. I can’t cook on that. He said, well, it’s okay, I’ll let you in on a little secret. He said, the women are coming in in about an hour and they are going to bring sandwiches and tea, etc. So all you have to do is stand there and give orders. He says, you’re the boss, you tell them what you want them to do. Well, they knew probably just about as much as I did about serving people.
So the troops went through, got their sandwiches and tea. That was okay. Then they said, now after, at 5:00, they’re going to serve soup and sandwiches at 5:00, and you do the same thing. You just make sure everything’s going on the way you want it to go, and that’s it. So that’s how I got my start.
I was overseas, I don’t know whether it was October seventeenth or November seventeenth, I went over with the advance guard anyway. There were 90 of us went over in the advance guard. Well, it wasn’t too bad at first, you know. The war just started and there wasn’t too much action as far as we were concerned. I just done my job. I was put into the C company, Carleton and York Regiment. And I cooked for them for quite some time. Then they took me out and sent me to a sergeant’s mess for three months. I went there and I come back to the unit, and there was an offer. I zipped out to the officer’s mess; and I was there I think 14 months. And then, seems to me, of course, at that time, things seemed to be getting pretty hot.
I was sent for some training. All the non-combatant members was to go on training, basic. Well, I knew I couldn’t pass, but, anyway, I went on it and come to find out when they put down there that that arm there won’t go any higher than that. I got hurt when I was 19 years old. So I was overseas then two years and a half with that arm like that. Well, I couldn’t soldier a rifle a bit more than nothing and I couldn’t carry a pack. So I was categoried out right off from A1 [fit for active service] to C4 [unfit for service]. They were going to send me back home. I said, oh, I don’t know about that. So I asked to be paraded before the colonel; and they said, oh, you can’t be paraded before the colonel. I said, oh yes, I can, I have a legitimate reason and you can’t stop me. This was the RSM [Regimental Sergeant Major] I was talking to. He said, yeah, I guess you’re right.
So they took me, he called one of the runners to take me into colonel so and so. So we had a chat; and I told him, I said, I’m a sergeant cook, I’m fully a cook, I can do anything in cooking, I don’t care what it is, I can do it. And I took all this training. If I come back to Canada, I’ll do the same thing, then all this is wasted. I gave him my big talk. And [he said,] well, I’ll think about it. And I stayed and didn’t get home until April 1945. So it worked out.