Veteran Stories:
Paul Tomelin

Army

  • Sergeant Paul Tomelin, photographer with No. 25 Canadian Public Relations Unit. Fort Lewis, Washington, April 1951.

    Credit: D.L. Burleson/Canada. Dept. of National Defense/Library and Archives Canada/PA-193475 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • No. 25 Canadian Public Relations Unit (left to right): Phil Plastow, John McLean, Don Manton, Stevie Stephens, Jim Wood, Paul Tomelin and Colin McDougall. Fort Lewis, Washington, April 1951.

    Credit: D.L. Burleson/Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-193477 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • Sergeant Paul Tomelin of Calgary and Edmonton climbs aboard a ship in Japan en route home from Korea where he served with the 25 Canadian Infantry Brigade for over 18 months as a photographer with No. 25 Canadian Public Relations Unit.

    Credit: Caza/Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-188709 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • "Van Doos Under Fire." While under fire from enemy machine guns, 2 Battalion, Royal 22e Regiment riflemen and Bren gunner scramble for cover during a daylight raid on Hill 166, Korea, 23 October 1951.

    Paul Tomelin / DND / Library and Archives Canada / PA-128848 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • "Face of War." Private Heath Matthews of C Company, 1 Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, awaiting medical aid after night patrol near Hill 166, 22 June 1952.

    Paul Tomelin / DND / Library and Archives Canada / PA-128850 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • Sherman tanks of B Squadron, Lord Strathcona's Horse, crossing the Imjin River after completing their tour, 16 July 1952.

    Paul Tomelin / DND / Library and Archives Canada / PA-115496 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • Private G.U.I. Lambert, 2nd Battalion, Le Royal 22e Regiment, reads a comic book in a slit trench. Korea, 28 May, 1951.

    Paul Tomelin/Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-128806 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • Le Royal 22e Regiment mortars blast away at enemy. Korea, November 1951.

    Paul Tomelin / DND / Library and Archives Canada / PA-184317 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • "Brigadiers Hit the Dirt." Brigadier General Pat Bogart, in foreground, incoming brigade commander of 25 Canadian Infantry Brigade, Brigadier John Rockingham, centre, outgoing commander, and Lieutenant-Colonel Norman Wilson-Smith, background, commanding officer, 1 Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, take cover as an enemy shell explodes nearby.

    Paul Tomelin / DND / Library and Archives Canada / PA-188707 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • Le Royal 22e Regiment mortar platoon ready to fire, November 1951. Left to right: Private Daniel Primeau, Private Raymond Romeo, and Private Julien Blondin, all of Montreal, Quebec.

    Paul Tomelin / DND / Library and Archives Canada / PA-184319 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry casualty, Lieutenant A.G.E. Wagstaff, is flown back to Canada aboard a RCAF No. 426 Thunderbird Squadron North Star. Corporal J.A. Huffman is accompanying him. 28 March 1951.

    Paul Tomelin / DND / Library and Archives Canada / PA-183831 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • Private John Lewis, 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, one of the survivors of a Chinese attack, 13 October 1952.

    Paul Tomelin / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-146992 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • CBC's Normand Eaves (standing) and Norman McBain (kneeling) interview Lieutenant-Colonel Jacques Dextraze, commanding officer, 2nd Battalion, Le Royal 22e Régiment in Korea.

    Paul Tomelin / DND / Library and Archives Canada / PA-183979 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • Lieutenant Ed Hollyer, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, receiving the Military Cross for his actions during the Battle of Hill 187, 2-3 May 1953.

    Credit: Canada: Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / e002505269 Restrictions on use: NIL Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • New Korean homes spring up through the surrounding rubble of war from demolished buildings which once stood there. Barbed wire entanglement running past the houses gives evidence of a former defence line. 31 January 1952.

    Paul Tomelin / DND / Library and Archives Canada / PA-184486 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Library and Archives Canada
  • United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) transport officers in the officers' mess, Gaza, Palestine, 1957. Paul Tomelin is third row, first on the right.

    Paul Tomelin
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"I can recall the fighters, planes attacking the bombers that flew over London. Of course, we couldn’t see them, they were too far up. But you could sure hear them."

Transcript

My name is Paul Tomelin. I was born in Canora, Saskatchewan on September 28th, 1925. I grew up initially in a small town called Queenstown [Alberta], then we moved to Arrowwood [Alberta] where I spent most of my time and that’s when the Second World War began, while I was in Arrowwood. And while going to school there, I had a friend of mine a couple years older than me had joined the air force and he was killed, a pilot and he was killed. And I more or less was inspired to join the services and later on, when I became 18 -and-a-half, I was in Calgary and I was eligible to become a member of the Canadian Forces, so I wanted to contribute to the defence of democracy but not wanting to kill anybody. So I applied with the Canadian Army to become a member of the medical corps and was told that there were no vacancies in the medical corps. But there were lots of vacancies in the infantry and since everybody had to go through the basic training of the infantry, why not join the infantry and apply to become a stretcher bearer once you got overseas. Which is what eventually happened. I invariably ended up in the upper bunk and this is the thing that sticks out in my mind throughout my early training was that I invariably ended up in the upper bunk and even back in basic training and advanced training, we had these huge wood or coal stoves to heat the barrack block. And sleeping in the upper bunk, there was a pallor of smoke from the people who smoked. And I slept in that smoke and I strangely enough, more recently, I had an x-ray and my doctor at that time asked me when did you quit smoking. I said, I never quit, I never smoked. So I can only assume that whatever was in my lungs had indicated I had smoked must have been breathing that smoke that I slept in. I mean, that’s all I could assume. Around Christmas or around New Year’s, I was on leave in London and I recall bombs that were sent over, V bombs. You could hear the things coming over and then all of a sudden, they would stop buzzing and all of a sudden, there would be silence and then there would be a big explosion where it landed. And I could recall those when I was outside hearing those. And also, I can recall the fighters, planes attacking the bombers that flew over London. Of course, we couldn’t see them, they were too far up. But you could sure hear them. A Salvation Army service officer presented me with a 1945 pocket calendar, on the back of which was a verse. It influenced the rest of my life and has to be shared. Titled Builders [A Bag of Tools] by Author Unknown [R.L. Sharpe], it reads: Isn’t it strange that princes and kings and clowns that caper in sawdust rings. And common folk, like you and me, are builders for eternity. To each is given a safest mass, a bag of tools and a book of rules. And each must make ere life is flown, a stumbling block or a stepping stone/ Life is a mirror, a king and a slave. It is what we are and do. So give to the world the best that you have and the best will come back to you [Madeline Bridges].
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