L-R: CVSM; War Medal; 1939-1945 Star; France and Germany StarPhilip Kazimir
Liberation of Bergen-op-Zoom MedalPhilip Kazimir
Iron Cross taken from Hitler's Chancellery after the war in Berlin, Germany, dated from 1939.Philip Kazimir
German Mother's Medal taken from Hitler's Chancellery after the war in Berlin, Germany.Philip Kazimir
"And I took the radio to them, you’d think that, I gave them a million dollars."
… When war broked out, five of us got into a car and drove all the way to London, Ontario, to join the air force. They didn’t want us in the air force because we didn’t have the education.
So from there, we went all the way down to Chatham [Ontario]. The same thing, they didn’t want us in that. From there, we went to Simcoe, from Simcoe to Brantford and then we got to Brantford, we joined the Dufferin & Haldimand Rifles. They asked for drivers and 17 of us put up their arms. Only four of us were qualified with our driver’s licenses. That’s when I started as a driver and I think I never got any sleep because we were always going for rations, going here and going there as a driver.
Five days from Halifax to Scotland by ship, they zigzagged because they were scared of the submarines and that.
Aldershot in England, Aldershot. More training there and from there, on the boat to the English Channel to Europe. And I got there, Gent [Belgium]. They gave me choice, what regiment do you want to go to. So Argylls were there and I said, Argylls, I was in the same brigade with the Argylls in 1940, so naturally I went to Argylls.
I was in the Argyles D Company. A lot of members there know, gone through in the front lines and all the way through with D Company. We got as far as the Maas River in Holland. And we were under patrol at nights. And one morning they called me and they said, you’re going back as a driver.
I recall when we were in Tilbury, we used to stay with people there and they complained that the Germans stole their radio and they had no communication. So when I was in Germany, they said, see if you can get us a radio. So we were out in this field and the two MPs and I said to one of them, there’s a farmhouse right there, I can go and see if I could find a radio there. So I said to Chuck, give me protection with your rifle, I’ll go across and see if I can get a radio. So he said, I’ll give you protection with a pistol., Not much protection there.
So anyway, Whitey and myself went across the field into the buildings there, house, barn, pigsty and everything else was all there together. So I could still see Ford Whitey climbing up this ladder, looking for eggs. (laughs) I went into the house and a woman was there with kids and a couple of women or so, and I went in there and I saw the radio. So I pulled the plug out. She, we yackety yack at me, we exchanged a few unpleasant words and I put the radio under my arm, took it back to my truck.
And we had to back for a rest periodically, you were in the front lines, you had to go for a rest, so got back to Holland to the place at Tilbury where the people had missed the radio. And I took the radio to them, you’d think that they, I gave them a million dollars. The old man went upstairs and found a piece of bacon, give it to me and I said that you’ve got children to feed, not me, because they used to live on boiled tulips. Poverty. So I did a good deed there.
Our regiment got the call. They were honoured to go to Berlin as a parade. So all the vehicles had to be all cleaned up, washed up and polished up and that being the one day they say polish up the vehicles and that the next day you say, don’t do this. So anyway, I think it was two companies of the regiment, we drove the pipe band and that, drove to Berlin and we were stopped by the Russians in the German border because somebody made a mistake and they didn’t know that we were supposed to be there.
So we got to Berlin. They had to clean up some of the buildings for a place for us to stay and that. But then we went out to Berlin to the museums and Hitler’s Chancellery. We went to Hitler’s chancellery. And the British got there before us, they smashed Hitler’s marble table into pieces and sent them home as souvenirs. There was the medals, medals, medals and medals by the thousands, all sorts of them. We grabbed them and picked them up. So I had a lot of them but some of them wanted a souvenir so I still had the one swastika. And a few other German medals and that’s about all I saved, you know.