Veteran Stories:
Alexander “Mack” Esdon

Army

  • Pictured here in his last year of high school Alexander (Mack) Esdon has already been a cadet for eight (8) years.

  • Alexander (Mack) Esdon is pictured with his father Herb Esdon. A veteran of World War I, Herb Esdon was a mere 10 minute walk away from his son's location during their World War II training.

  • Alexander (Mack) Esdon's Statement of Service.

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"I was sent out to just check on lines. And this covering of artillery shells of all sizes going over, made for a very eerie and disquieting, but comforting, sound"

Transcript

My name is Alexander McGregor Esdon. My service began before I was 20 years of age. I joined the Canadian Army in Kingston. I took basic training in my hometown of Cornwall; driver training in Camp Borden, Ontario; army support troop training in Aldershot, Nova Scotia, learning about the Vickers machine gun, the PIAT -Projector Infantry Anti-Tank gun- and 20 millimetre Ack-Ack.

I went overseas. Landed just outside of Glasgow and transported to Ilkley in Yorkshire. We hade a short period of training there and then moved to south England as D-day approached. I was sent as a reinforcement to the 3rd Canadian Division Artillery, 22nd Field Battery. Within several weeks after my arriving in the unit... It was rather interesting, by the way, that, whereas I took the driver training program in Aldershot in England, when I arrived at the unit, the latest casualty had been on a telephone exchange operator. And I had to learn how to do work on the job, as it were. A little bit remote from any of the training that I had taken previously. However, it worked out.

In the latter months, we were doing a lot of consolidating in areas that had been flooded, either through bombing or by deliberate act of the German army for their own protection. I think my most eerie experience was, probably, doing a walk, clearing lines and so forth at the time that the 3rd Div. opened up with every possible artillery barrage from light Ack-Ack to the very heaviest rail transported guns, firing to disrupt and dismantle the German forces on the Rhine. I was sent out to just check on lines. And this covering of artillery shells of all sizes going over, made for a very eerie and disquieting, but comforting, sound. If it could be both, it did its job. The enemy, very reluctantly, gave up their positions and we crossed on from there and proceeded up to the northwest part of Holland.

It's hard to recall a great many of the individual situations. It was a very minuscule amount that I was able to contribute. It was part of a force that was loyal to the end. And we made friends in and around Holland that were, and have continued to be, everlasting.

Do I get lumps in my throat at Remembrance Day? Yes. Do I wipe away tears of emotion? Yes. Do I like wars? No. Are wars sometimes necessary? Yes. Do I think that each of you can help make this world a better place without wars? Yes. And I'm suggesting that you live a good life, be a good neighbour and be a good friend. And, I don't know that I have much more to add.

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