Veteran Stories:
Charlie Norris

Army

  • Charlie Norris at the veterans wing of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, Toronto, Ontario, January 2012.

    Historica Canada
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"There was a lot of people I know who got killed from the church."

Transcript

The boy friend and I were down near the Exhibition [Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario] where the armoury is, and it had a big sign up there, “machine guns on the lane,” we said, “That’s for us boy,” you know. So the Queen’s York Rangers was the group that was in there at the time. So with the two [hunters] we went up to [Camp] Borden, oh God what a dust bowl that is, that’s where I started drinking quarts of beer, I never saw a quart of beer before then, but anyhow make life short and everything. I met some friends that I knew and when I was in the city, on the thing, good friends, and they said, “Oh we’re looking for you.” I says, “What?” “Well were short in the pay office.” I says, “Well you want me to go in the pay office?” And they said, “Sure we’re short we need you,” so I went on the thing, and then we got moved to, we moved to so many places, went to Sussex, New Brunswick, we went down to the bay in Newfoundland, bivouacking there, we went to sleeping in tents, course I was sleeping in tents when I was in the reserve anyhow that Niagara Lake, and the next thing I found out I'm in the line up or in the group that’s going to go overseas, and they brought this pullups test in at that time. And that tested all of your body all of the things you know, well I failed the test. Along came the conscription you know, and I had heard about it that the government was going to conscript everybody and that was bad because they all flooded in to Debert [Nova Scotia] you know and had to process all their papers on the thing. So I was in the pay office we had to record them on the thing so they’d get paid, and then eventually I was sitting in the orderly room I answered the phone, that was the guys from the ammunition plant down at, near the Debert town you know on there, and I said, “What are you looking for?” “We need a woman down here, we need somebody in the office that can do something.” I says, “Well I happen to have my wife, she’s coming down,” on the thing so she made up her own mind. When I went down there she said, “I'm coming.” I says, “Well I'm not going to hold you back or nothing,” so she came, and I found her a room for her, and us to stay in. So then I got a pass every night to go out, and then of course I met other friends that I knew before that, and in Toronto, they're good friends we used to play bridge with them, so things just started to knit together you know. There was a blueberry patch down there, she used to go to … and get 10 pound pails of it and she used to send them home to her mother in Toronto, oh yeah my wife did everything. We had a great guy that lived on our street, and we used to help me do in the papers, I used to deliver all kinds of papers and the Saturday night there was a special paper, and he always helped, he’d on the thing he went in on the army or in the air force, and he was not a pilot but he was in the front part there, I don’t know what you call them there but anyhow, his plane got shot down and he got killed, yeah he wasn’t there very long. There was a lot of people I know who got killed from the church.
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