Veteran Stories:
Edward Drebitt

Army

  • Edward Drebitt, 18 years old - three weeks after enlistment.

    Edward Drebitt
  • Edward Drebitt - last row, fifth from the left. Drebitt was 18 years old.

    Edward Drebitt
  • Service certificate.

    Edward Drebitt
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"In those days, they had teletype machines, teletype. You hit a key here and the same key or word comes out, whatever you type."

Transcript

I was in northern Ontario. I was an operator in a mine, and I got fed up with being an operator so I joined up, at least it was free traveling. So I quit the mines; and I went to Port Arthur [Ontario] and joined up. Three of us went to the armoury, and I was the only one taken. And from there, I went to Winnipeg [Manitoba], Fort Osborne [Barracks]. It used to be a big campus, which was formerly the University of Manitoba, but the army took it over; and after that to [Camp] Shilo [Manitoba], to [A4 Canadian Artillery Training Centre] Brandon, to Kingston Collegiate [and Vocational Institute]. I can’t remember half of them. And then I learned to type and I was very good at office work, at typing, so they put me in headquarters. I think it was Intelligence Corps. There were two machines, three machines and one was top secret. [It] was the forerunner of the email, like today they have. But in those days, they had teletype machines, teletype. You hit a key here and the same key or word comes out, whatever you type. I used to correspond with the guys in Vancouver, in the States, all over the place. But by typing: how are you, I’m fine. But instead of talking, you typed. And my brother was in the army too, older brother. So we had quite a time. I joined up in Port Arthur, which is the one that today is Thunder Bay and I went to headquarters in Fort Osborne in Manitoba. I used to send cigarettes, two cartons of Players, cigarettes and some more. It’s better money because of the rationing, but servicemen had special, so a carton of cigarettes can go a long way in those days, especially overseas.
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