"I was working on Alaska Highway and then I come home, and they sent me a call to go in the service. I got that call. I had to report in Calgary, Mewata Barracks."
I was working on Alaska Highway and then I come home, and they sent me a call to go in the service. I got that call. I had to report in Calgary, Mewata Barracks. I took an M [mental capacity] test and I passed pretty good. I think it was over 160 out of 200. But they looked at it and they said, boy, you’ve got a good score, you’ve got a good score. And then we went to, just like you here, to somebody put you to where you’re going to go to do; and he said, what do you want to do? I says, well, I was monkeying around with the radios, making crystal sets and stuff like that. They said, okay, we’ll send you for signals [Royal Canada Corps of Signals] to Kingston, Ontario. And two days later, I was on a train to Kingston.
End of October 1944, some time I’m not sure exactly the days, but we come from leave and in the morning, they get us out of bed at 6:00 and they say, you parade in front and they give us two bandoliers of shells, live bullets, two belts. They say, you’re going on guard duty. We wondered what we were going to guard. They said, you’ve got to go on this island that’s in Kingston. You go on this island and there’s a submarine apparently here and got to watch; he may be attacking us or he may be doing something. So we stayed there two hours work and two hours sleep, two hours work, two hours sleep. We stayed there for a week on the island.
Then they called us off; they said the whole thing’s all off. In the meantime, a bunch of German prisoners got loose in a little town called Gananoque. I don’t know if you know where it is, it’s a little town out of Kingston, looks like to the east of me. They had a big party there, German prisoners of all kinds and that. The police come found these prisoners that got loose. They said, for them, you’re under arrest. They said, okay, we’ll finish the party and we’ll go home with you. [laughs] They said, okay.
But when they were arresting these prisoners, supposed to be 31 German prisoners and there was more. They couldn’t figure out where they got the more prisoners from. So nobody said nothing, no more, that was it. They took all the prisoners and put them in wherever they were working or in jail, or whatever it was. That was the end of that. But after a while, I see that in the news that there was a submarine there and it sank. The guys that were on the submarine, they sank the submarine because they run out of fuel and run out of food. So they are the ones that showed up at that party, the extra people. It was good to see that they didn’t squabble or nothing. We had bullets to help them if they were on the shore, we were there. But after a while, you’re at home here, right.
So then, time after, here in Edmonton, I was talking to a friend of mine. He says, there’s a captain of a German submarine living next door to me. He says he didn’t want to say where he’s from or what, but he says he was a captain on a submarine. That was the captain that sank that ship that time in Gananoque, and he come ashore. He died here close to two, three years back, three years ago. But he was living in Edmonton after here.