Veteran Stories:
Arthur Hawkes

Army

  • Copy of a brochure advertising the different training centres for the Canadian Technical Training Centres (CTTC) during the war.

    Arthur Hawkes
  • Studio portrait of Arthur Hawkes in uniform taken after the war.

    Arthur Hawkes
  • Arthur Hawkes poses outside the barracks in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, in the winter of 1944.

    Arthur Hawkes
  • Arthur Hawkes (on left) and a friend pose outside the barracks in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, in the winter of 1944.

    Arthur Hawkes
  • Different badges worn by Arthur Hawkes who was part of the Canadian Technical Training Corps (CTTC) during the war.

    Arthur Hawkes
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"Our directions were quite forward. They said, they’re going to speak before they sit up at night. If they don’t, hit them with a bat. Then when he comes to, ask him what he wants. Crazy, I know."

Transcript

A town of maybe 350 if we were lucky, in the summertime. It’s basic industry was water power for Winnipeg. It was built in 1911. My father worked there, two brothers worked there. So there were no job for me, I had to leave town. They took over an ITS [Initial Training School], an air force ITS, initial training school that they had closed and that was great because there was only 20 to a room and linoleum on the floor, and hot and cold running water and life was good. And that’s the first part of our schooling. We were there, I’ve got to guess now and say maybe two months. And then they sent us off to Victoria. And in Victoria, we were at barracks, a very small barracks by the way, that was strictly for boy soldiers under seventeen and a half. When I enlisted, I got 70 cents a day [laughs] until I turned seventeen and a half, and then they raised me to $1.20 a day. Then we were utilized as guards in the detention hospital within the barracks. That was for the military individuals that had been sentenced for one reason or another, or had ended up with VD [venereal disease] and you were put on guard at night. During the day, they were looked after by the people in the hospital. That was my first experience with dealing with such a job. Our directions were quite forward. They said, they’re going to speak before they sit up at night. If they don’t, hit them with a bat. Then when he comes to, ask him what he wants. Crazy, I know, but that was their instructions. Mind you, never had to use the bat, so it was fine. And one of the ‘joe’ jobs I got stuck on was fire picking. And I found out at that time that the attitude of the people in the fire hall wasn’t my attitude of life. In short term, there was a few homosexuals within the working group. So I didn’t stay there very long. One of the jobs I was working on was records. They’d give me a list and I’d have to go through a great big pile of records to find the records for these people that were being discharged. And after working at this for a month, the light went on and I said, well, I’d better find my record and throw it in there too. So I did. And I was discharged just about a year after I enlisted.
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