Veteran Stories:
Melvin Charles Chapman

Army

  • A Canadian Red Cross Society worker distributing craft supplies to patients at No.7 Canadian General Hospital, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (R.C.A.M.C.), Marston Green, Birmingham, England, 19 November 1943.
    Hand, Kenneth H., Photographer / Mikan Number: 3203119.

    Melvin Chapman worked in the same hospital in 1941.

    Library and Archives Canada/ Hand, Kenneth H., Photographer / Mikan Number: 3203119.
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"So we were instructed to give the airmen instructions on what to do after they were shot down and things like this; and how to handle themselves on the ground."

Transcript

When the war broke out, I wanted to join, so I consulted them there and I wanted to get overseas fairly early so they sent me to Halifax. I joined the No. 22 [Canadian] Field Ambulance [Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps] at that time. That was on the 4 September 1939. So I was then with the No. 22 Field Ambulance for some time and was given duty at the Cogswell Street [Military] Hospital. I became chief clerk there eventually, and went overseas with the No. 7 [Canadian] General Hospital in 1941. From 1941, we sailed on the [HMS] Andes, an Australian ship. I remember we had mutton on the ship for 14 days; and we landed in Liverpool and through transfers, and one thing or another, we wound up at Marston Green, where we set up as a hospital. I was then a sergeant and was on administrative duties in the orderly room there, and we had various duties there. After a while, there was an order come through to recommend people to go through for commissions; and I was one of the ones that was sent forward, and did training down in the south of England in Borden [Army Camp], I believe. Then afterwards, came back to Canada and attended [No. 30 Officers’ Training Centre] Brockville. So in Brockville, I got my commission and this was just around Christmas time and we were sent out to [No. 110 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre] Vernon, B.C., where we did our post training and got our second pip [decoration denoting rank] then. After that, I come back and while waiting to go overseas, I got sick or something and they lowered my category; and I was sent to [RCAF Station] Debert air force training thing there. So we were instructed to give the airmen instructions on what to do after they were shot down and things like this; and how to handle themselves on the ground. Then I was later transferred to [Camp] Aldershot [A14 Infantry Basic Training Centre], where I was on administrative duties in the training company. And that’s where I was until the end of the war, I think.
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