Veteran Stories:
John Edward “Bungy” Williams

Navy

  • John Williams, Miramichi, New Brunswick, November 25, 2009.

    Historica Canada
  • John Williams's Medals (Left to Right): 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star; Burma Star; Pacific Star; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (CVSM); War Medal (1939-45).

    John Edward Williams
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"We were reporting the German planes that were coming over. At nighttime, you wouldn’t see them, but you’d hear them, because they had a different drone than the Canadian ones."

Transcript

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you know, and the ship, there were 60 or 61 of us, all Canadians, just passage to go to England. And then they sent us to Devonport, England, where they opened a Canadian barracks for a while. Devonport, England, near Plymouth. Well, I was a roof spotter, if you can follow that. I was on one end of the roof, up on the roof, with a telephone, and there’s another fellow and I remember his name distinctly, I’d like to find him, Herchabese from Ottawa, he was on the other end. We were reporting the German planes that were coming over. That was our job. And it wasn’t easy. At nighttime, you wouldn’t see them, but you’d hear them, because they had a different drone than the Canadian ones. No, out on the ocean, it wasn’t cold. It was when you come in handy [to]shore, the ice built up. No, it wasn’t too bad, oh no. But you’re never dry, really (laughs). Oh well, we had, you know, I forget, the balaclava or whatever they called it and a hood over us and you know, best we could, you know, to keep dry. But of course, don’t forget, it wasn’t always stormy. But wintertime, going to Iceland, it wasn’t easy, you know. When the war was over, I was out in the Pacific. I told you I was on the Uganda, eh. And we came back from the Pacific [10 August 1945] and my gosh, five or six days out, the Japanese war ended [August 15]. But the European war ended in the, I’d say the spring of 1945. When I got back from Pacific, the, oh, Pearl Harbor and that way, the war ended. The Japanese war ended. So talk about a celebration. We were going against the rules, but see, anyone down there then, it came out later in Ottawa, that anyone going to Pacific had to be volunteers. So this was a question and a lot of us didn’t volunteer once we got there. Oh, I volunteered because I was away, I told you, I was away up in Quebec. I didn’t have to go at all. We were escorting the aircraft carriers that was doing the bombing and trouble. That was our job then. There were two fleets, the British Pacific fleet and the American Pacific fleet. And I wish you could have seen us all joined together one time, at a quiet time.
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