Veteran Stories:
Enid Anne Liddell

Navy

  • Musical programme presented by the Royal Canadian Navy, attended by Ms. Liddell, Halifax, May 1944.

    Enid Liddell
  • Musical programme presented by the Royal Canadian Navy, attended by Ms. Liddell, Halifax, May 1944.

    Enid Liddell
  • Newspaper article on first Wren birthday parade in Ottawa, at which Ms. Liddell was present, during the Second World War.

    Enid Liddell
  • Ms. Liddell and other Wrens in training, 1943. Their white hats signify that these Wrens are "probies" (on probation).

    Enid Liddell
  • A weekend pass Ms. Liddell received, April 7, 1944. A leave ticket was issued whenever a Wren requested and was granted days off.

    Enid Liddell
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"But it wasn’t until the next day that I realized how bad it was. Pictures in the paper of the people breaking the windows and getting in and stealing the jewelry out of the jewelry store and the riots, yes, it was, it was awful."

Transcript

I went to Saskatoon [Saskatchewan] and I think the train left from Saskatoon and then we went on to Winnipeg [Manitoba] and down to Galt [Ontario]. That’s where our basic training was. You know, it was a big, big drastic change. It was, I’ll never forget it, that’s for sure. It was, the whole culture thing changed, a little country girl into this big city. The basic training, we did everything. We started in, well, the first thing they did of course was to take us down and fit us for our uniforms and then they were always a little bit too big because you could never get the right size. We had two hats, when they gave us the navy hats, the little round one, with the white that we could just cover over the navy for, you know, summer and winter. And we also had the tricorn for dress-up. And they gave us a little work outfit, a little cotton blue dress that we wore to do our chores around. I think we had shorts and things for working in the yard too in the summertime. That was a traumatic experience. Well, I was downtown and of course, we didn’t know that the war was, you know, we knew the war was over and we were all happy about it and everything but we didn’t realize that people were going a little crazy until we started to go home, to go back to the ship. And the reason we went back is because the naval people came in to … I was in the, oh, it’s the, what do they call it, it was the YMCA head hostel. That’s where we were. And they told us that we had to go back to barracks but we didn’t realize that things were going a little wild. So we were really glad to get back. Yes, it was wild. Halifax Riot [7 to 8 May 1945, the VE Day celebrations deteriorated, and military personnel and civilians rampaged through Halifax, Nova Scotia].I can remember the noise and I remember the personnel were not wearing their hats and things like that. But it wasn’t until the next day that I realized how bad it was. Pictures in the paper of the people breaking the windows and getting in and stealing the jewelry out of the jewelry store and the riots, yes, it was, it was awful. Well yes, there were a lot less boys around. It wasn’t happy there and there were a lot of new war brides and you know, there’s only 100 people in that town that I lived in.
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