Veteran Stories:
Harold Warner “Coonie” Colquhoun

Army

  • Canadian Army transit camp, with soldiers awaiting passage for Britain and then back home, somewhere in The Netherlands, 1945.

    Harold Colquhoun
  • Happy Dutch children celebrating the end of the war in Hengelo, The Netherlands, May 8, 1945.

    Harold Colquhoun
  • Canadian soldiers aboard RMS Aquitania en route home from Britain, January 1946. Mr. Colquhoun noted that on the voyage, which lasted about a week, "I finally got my sea legs and wasn't sick."

    Harold Colquhoun
  • Harold Colquhoun, Halifax, Nova Scotia, September 27, 2010.

    Historica Canada
  • Harold Colquhoun's close friend Howard "Dickie" Misener (in uniform) and other friends on Mr. Misener's leave to his home in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, circa 1940-41. The man in the centre is holding a photo of Mr. Misener's platoon. Private Misener was killed while serving with The North Nova Scotia Highlanders in the Normandy campaign. He is buried in the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, Reviers, France.

    Harold Colquhoun
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"I was in the engineers and I did a lot of electrical work on trucks and vehicles, and did a lot of mechanical work."

Transcript

Well, I’ll never forget that day. So we went from Juno Beach up through France and Belgium, and Holland and Germany, stopped at various places. V-bomb, V-bomb, buzz bombs [Vergeltungswaffe-1: German flying bomb] and artillery. I lost part of my hair in the army. I was in the engineers [First Canadian Army Troops Workshops, Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME)] and I did a lot of electrical work on trucks and vehicles, and did a lot of mechanical work. Did an awful lot of guard duty and patrol. I remember the first night I was on patrol, I saw this thing in the sky; and it was a buzz bomb we learned afterwards. They used to fly over, make a noise and then the engine would stop, and that’s when you started to worry because you didn’t know where it was going to land. We kept moving all the time, different places through France, Roubaix, I know I was in Roubaix. And that was a night, the first day [General Charles] de Gaulle [leader of the Free French forces] came back from England; and he was giving a speech none of us could understand because he was speaking in French. But I remember him. So I was in Roubaix, whenever he got back, whenever that was. And then we went up through Belgium and the Battle of the Bulge was the worst. The Germans were trying to cut us off; and it was cold and snowy, and the guard duty and patrol. But they didn’t cut us off; and then after the Battle of the Bulge, we were moved up through Belgium and Holland. Then I was in Hengelo [The Netherlands] when the war was over [on May 8, 1945].
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