Veteran Stories:
Ernest Borgal


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    Ernest Borgal was in the Halifax Rifles from 1941 to 1945

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"So, but the only thing I remembered was the hatred of it and the stupidity of it."


I hated it. I thought that was the stupidest war in history. I just wanted to be a lawyer and then a politician, since I was a boy. And I come, oh, just the time of age when the war started. And that’s how I got picked, so I decided I hated it from the beginning because it took away my dream. The old guys, they kept saying that young fellow up there, should be in the army, so I was hearing that all the time, so I felt guilty. So I went home one night and I didn’t get up to go to work. I can still… so I walked in the kitchen and mom said, what happened to you, you didn’t go to work today. I said no, mom, I decided to join the army. So then I went up to Citadel Hill [Halifax], that’s where they had the recruiting station, and I joined up. But we didn’t have any uniforms, we didn’t have any guns because they all went overseas with the 1st [Canadian Infantry] Div [Division]. So we trained there on Bedford [Bedford Rifle Range] with our ordinary clothes on. So all of a sudden, there was word come down, our uniforms were there; so they went to the quartermaster and there it was funny. He only had three sizes: small, medium and large. [laughs] All the little guys, the short… it was funny, them dancing around with their pants and their uniform. So that was it. So we got broken up into platoons. So when the platoon is picked, the sergeant comes over and he orders the men, one step forward, and then he goes between each frame and he touches everyone on the head, that’s anointing. Then he’ll tell you: now you belong to us; you don’t belong to anybody else. You have mothers and sisters, but they don’t count to us. We own you, the army owns you; and we’ll do and tell you what you’re to do, and you’re to do it. So then you become one. Each one is for good for the other. One for one, all for one. And that’s the way you’re trained. So that’s what it is, that’s how you start out. And you never forget that. How can you describe a battlefield? Now, I don’t know. There’s so many things that you couldn’t, you don’t remember, and don’t want to be remembered. So, but the only thing I remembered was the hatred of it and the stupidity of it. And young people died there when they only faced a few days on the battlefield. Young kids. It was a tragedy because of history.
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