Veteran Stories:
John Leland Harvie

Army

  • John Harvie at Remembrance Day service held in the school Auditorium in Hantspert, Nova Scotia, on November 11th, 2005.

    John Harvie
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"The generations that are coming along need to know what happened and be prepared to acknowledge it, and live by it. I mean, we all signed up. When we signed the paper, we were signing our lives away."

Transcript

And you look back, you wouldn’t have missed it. But I would never recommend it either. I’m very glad that my sons didn’t have to go. I was in the signal corps [Royal Canadian Signal Corps], and I had a very short time. They sent us over in April and we landed Ostende in Belgium, and went on up into Holland; and I was in Breda when the war ended, and still acting as the teletype operator. People were in terrible shape. Ragged-looking women and children were coming up to the train with their hands out, and the conditions were very serious. We’d throw our can rations out to them, but we found the Dutch people very hospitable indeed. Well, one of the things that stands out about the Dutch people… I asked what we did with our laundry. They said just bundle it up with a bar of soap and take it down, and stick it in the fence. And I thought, well, goodbye laundry, but I’ll try it. So I did that, a few days later, a little boy shows up in the barracks with my laundry all freshly washed and cleaned, and pressed. The reception was fantastic there. You’re never the same. There is a comradeship that we value very highly. I’m a staunch member of the [Royal] Canadian Legion. And so we have our comradeship and our memories that are special. The generations that are coming along need to know what happened and be prepared to acknowledge it, and live by it. I mean, we all signed up. When we signed the paper, we were signing our lives away. They need to be aware of that.
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