Veteran Stories:
Herbert Lyle Shillington

Air Force

  • Newspaper Clipping of Saskatoon Star with all Herbert Shillington's Brothers, August 4, 1943.

    Herbert Shillington
  • Group of 15 posted to a district headquarters in North Africa from London. Travelled from Alger to Tunis in Box cars with British 8th Army, 1943.

    Herbert Shillington
  • Herbert Shillington (on the fourth left) in Tunis, North Africa, 1943.

    Herbert Shillington
  • Trading tea for eggs with locals in Tunisia, North Africa, 1942.

    Herbert Shillington
  • In Italy, near Naples, when Mount Vesuvious erupted, March 1944.

    Herbert Shillington
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"Two of us ended up with malaria fever and that was first there, so we thought we might die and the next several days, we were afraid we weren’t going to die."

Transcript

My name is Herbert Lyle Shillington. My everyday name is Lyle, I go by my second name. Well, when we first went to Algeria, we were located in a place called Tunisia, in Tunis, and at that time, there were a lot of natives as well as French people, because French was dominant people in North Africa there. But there was a lot of the native people, a lot of poor people too, and they were like natives. In another place, they had trades and stuff like but we, we didn’t live in barracks. So we had to provide our own food stuffs, so the local stuff that we were able to buy eggs from the natives. And they couldn’t get tea and some of them liked tea, so we started trading tea for eggs. I used to go out on Saturdays in this truck, not by myself of course but I was in the truck and we were in the back of the truck and we would, depending on how many people there were, we might have to start out with a handful of tea. For a dozen eggs or something. But sometimes, there seemed to be a surplus of eggs, so we would trade it and get down and trading a couple of teaspoons of tea for a dozen eggs with the natives. But we didn’t have barracks to live in out there. We lived in private homes - not a private home but they would requisition the homes from people. We couldn’t destroy them or anything like that. We took care of them. In our own barracks, we had all our air force people from the warrant officers and down and the officers had their own people as well. They had no separate buildings than we had and this headquarters would become another location. So we had three locations to look at. Got along pretty well with everybody, we had to. But I recall one night, during the hot summer, we started sleeping outside, just under mosquito nets. And one night, we end up, three of us ended up, we’re outside. And these mosquito nets, there wasn’t enough room to have all your clothes and everything in there, so we wouldn’t carry money with us out there. But all our clothes would be just outside of the, of this net. One morning we got up, the three of us and we didn’t have a stitch to put on and here, some the natives had picked up our clothes from just outside. We never heard them at all outside of our mosquito nets and there were three bare people having to call out for someone to bring us some pants or shirts - back to the house because we’re just around the fence, around our place, like. Also another, in North Africa with malaria fever and was confined to the hospital for a little while. But this was carelessness on our part because we had tablets, our medication on a table, the meal tables every day. But we got a little careless and we would take it or some days we wouldn’t take it. Two of us ended up with malaria fever and that was first there, so we thought we might die and the next several days, we were afraid we weren’t going to die. But we come out of that okay and …
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