Veteran Stories:
Jack Walker

Army

  • Mr. Jack Walker during his time in the service with the Royal Canadian Dragoons in Italy in World War Two.

    Jack Walker
  • Mr. Jack Walker, January 2012.

    Historica Canada
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"Then I went to visit my aunt in London. [...] I visited her there and I remember, she gave me a great big meal and I didn’t learn until later that it was her ration for the week."

Transcript

We landed at Liverpool and took the train to, that’s the first area we went to in England, was the Aldershot area [one of the main Canadian military facility in England during the war]. We were at a place called Blackdown [a military camp near Aldershot]. And the food was ghastly, the food was terrible. It was so bad, I could hardly eat it. Except when I was starving to death and then I manage to get some down me. But those days were pretty bad, the first days in England [Mr. Walker served in Italy with the Royal Canadian Dragoons]. Then I remember my first leave, I took the train up to London. By this time, we were in Brighton. So I took the train to London and I remember being in Trafalgar Square and my first experiences in England. And I remember the stone lions being at Trafalgar Square. And I enjoyed that. Then I went to visit my aunt in London. She lived in what is called Bethnal Green [a district of the East End of London], very poor area of London. Anyway, I visited her there and I remember, she gave me a great big meal and I didn’t learn until later that it was her ration for the week. And I ate it in one meal. Yeah, those were hard days for the Londoners, they were get bombed at night and it wasn’t much fun for them. I managed to avoid all the bombs. They were going off around me but I managed to elude, to not get hurt at all. Funny thing, my most vivid memory was right at the end of the war [May, 1945]. And we were being discharged at the end of the war. And I remember sitting in one location with the sergeant major and he was, in the earlier days, he was a fearful figure and you didn’t dare cross him or you were in trouble. And he was very friendly. Before, he’d been like the enemy, sergeant major. This was at the end of the war and I got into a friendly conversation with him and then all of a sudden, all of the other sergeant majors in the regiment came in a group, they were all laughing and having a great time and they took my sergeant major away, they were having such fun. And I never saw that man again. But anyway, the war as a whole was tolerated, it was to be tolerated. Yeah, I enjoyed that part of it.
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