Veteran Stories:
W. Norman Dow

Army

  • This tiny boat transported the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, a few at a time, across the Moro River, Italy, at night.

  • The long line of trucks of the First Canadian Division getting ready to leave Italy and headed for Northeastern Europe in February 1945.

  • Three of Mr. Dow's fellow soldiers took a quick break and posed for a photo as their Signals unit prepared to leave Italy and join the rest of the Canadian Army in Holland in February 1945.

  • While serving with the Canadian Army in Italy, W. Norman Dow was part of a Canadian audience with Pope Pius XII in Rome, where each soldier received this papal medal.

  • February 19, 1944 edition of The Red Patch, the frontline newspaper of the First Canadian Division.

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"In June of 1944 we were just below Rome and not far from Monte Cassino."

Transcript

I joined up in 1942 at Kitchener. I was called up for two months of training, and during that process I joined active service. Then I went to Kingston for advanced training in the Signals Corps. as a driver. From there we had embarkation leave and sailed in August for Scotland. We were on the train going down to England when the Canadians went into Dieppe, and we were supposed to be trained soldiers but we were afraid we were going to have a short stay overseas. But it turned out that Dieppe was a very brief thing and we weren't trained soldiers, they thought, when we got there, so we spent more time in training camp in the south of England.

I joined the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade driving wireless trucks that communicated between the regiments and division. We took further training in the south of England, and then in the spring of 1943 we sailed out into the Atlantic Ocean. We landed in Sicily on July the 10th. We were in Sicily for two months, and we crossed the Straits of Messina on the 3rd of September and went on up through Italy.

In June of 1944 we were just below Rome and not far from Monte Cassino. While we were there, Rome was declared an open city and we were able to go on leave to Rome. We saw the Vatican and had an opportunity to meet the Pope, Pius XII, which was quite an honour.

In the summer of '44, some of the boys didn't like a Corporal we had and they got a little pig and they put it in his bed. He threw out on the floor, and they decided that since I was a farmer, I probably knew how to look after it. So I actually raised that pig. I was driving a sixty hundred weight truck by this time and I carried the pig along with me in the truck. We ended up butchering that pig for Christmas.

The 'powers that be' decided that they wanted all the Canadians together under the 1st Canadian Army, so we crossed from Leghorn, Italy to Marseille, France on a landing ship tank with all our equipment and drove up through the Rhone Valley, up through Belgium, Luxembourg, and into Holland, where we were when the war ended.

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