Veteran Stories:
Douglas Ritcey

Army

  • Unidentified crew commander in a Ram tank at A33 Canadian Armoured Corps Training Establishment, Camp Borden, Ontario, Canada, 7 July 1943.

    Credit: Lieut. Ken Bell / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-206528
    Restrictions on use: Nil
    Copyright: Expired

    Credit: Lieut. Ken Bell / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-206528
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"As a young man, I was pretty, I use the term green. I didn’t know exactly how the rest of the world lived. I was quite surprised to see how they lived, different than myself."

Transcript

Well, I was needed in the family business, and I waited until I got my call. Funny part was I went up to join the navy; and I got up to join the navy, they were all out to lunch and I couldn’t spare the time so I came back. And when I got my notice, I joined the army at the MD6 [Military Depot 6, Maritime Provinces] Halifax. The first year in 1943, I went from lance corporal to corporal, corporal to sergeant by the end of the year. I was what you call promoted. But then later on, I was paraded before the officer commanding to go to the DOC [district officer commanding] for officer training. I thought I should go, but I turned it down. At that time, my pay was I think $1.60 a day, something like that, or three [dollars] something. I forget what the pay was, but I thought if I went into the officer [training], the pay, I thought, was around $5 and I’d have to supply my own uniforms and pay for that, and that would incur an expense of which I did not… I felt quite comfortable as an acting sergeant with the platoons. We would take our platoons to the men to have them test it on different things on the map reading and Bren gun [light machine gun] and rifle, the small arms and gas. I think that’s all I remember at the moment. But that’s where I used to take the men, so they could get their training. I had been on draft many times for overseas but, at that time, I was out of camp [Camp Borden] and on leave; and they of course, when they were making up the lists, I guess, for overseas, I wasn’t present, so they couldn’t take me, they took someone else. I think it was on my chart that my training with rifle or that it was good, somebody said I’d make a good sniper. But they never proceeded with anything like that to me. But I just heard them say that. Had I been called to go overseas, I would have gone overseas. I signed up on active service. I enjoyed my military career very much. As a young man, I was pretty, I use the term green. I didn’t know exactly how the rest of the world lived. I was quite surprised to see how they lived, different than myself. I discovered life.
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