Veteran Stories:
Ruth Kinread Lewis

Navy

  • Ruth Kinread in 1942. Born in New Brunswick, Ruth went to Nova Scotia during the war to work for a company that supplied Navy ships. She met her husband Gerald Lewis (also in the Digital Archive) at the Halifax dockyard.

  • Gerald Lewis and friend (left) and Ruth Kinread and friend (right) out for a day of fun in Halifax. The friend of Mr. & Mrs. Lewis married at the end of the war as well.

  • Ruth Kinread's pay book from her work at the Halifax dockyard. On February 27, 1943, she was paid $24.11 after 90 hours of work.

  • Ruth and Gerald Lewis on their wedding day: March 26, 1945.

  • Ads that ran during wartime to encourage war savings in the form of special postage stamps and certificates.

Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"The worst blasts came in quick succession about four in the morning, and of course we were all warned to get out of the city, which we were unable to do."

Transcript

I was born in New Brunswick, and when I graduated from school I went to Halifax to find work, and I was living with my sister. My dream was to go into nursing, but I was too young at that time, so I had to find work elsewhere to fill in the time. I did find a job in the dockyard. We supplied the ships. They would come in with a demand, and we supplied the ships with their utensils and stores that they needed on board to feed the men on their long trips overseas. I enjoyed that work very much. It was quite interesting, being right down on the dockyard. We could see the convoys coming and going. It was an interesting time in my life. That's where I met my husband. He was in the Navy, and we just celebrated sixty years of marriage. Leaving home was always traumatic. Leaving friends and family. But while we were there I remember the riots on V-E Day. The turmoil that went on in the streets. On July 18th I was there having dinner at a friend's home, and an ammunition barge blew up in the magazine jetty, and it shook the whole area and shattered windows. The exposed ammunition dumps had caught fire, and the Naval headquarters warned that there would be more explosions. The worst blasts came in quick succession about four in the morning, and of course we were all warned to get out of the city, which we were unable to do. So we found shelter in the open, away from flying glass and so on. The windows were shattered in the dockyard in the place that I worked. We couldn't go in for a few days, and also in the home where we lived. So Halifax was profoundly affected by the war. We were used to blackouts and sirens and that sort of thing. Anyway, we had long hours and little pay. I worked for thirty-five cents an hour, and we would work over sixty hours. After deductions for our Victory Bonds and so on, we'd end up with about twenty dollars.
Follow us