"Now, I was one week over 19 when I got married. And by the time I was 21, I had three kids and false teeth."
I joined the army when I was 17. Was immediately sent to Saskatoon for a ten-month electrical course. When I was at Hamilton, a couple of us, two or three of us went to work at the big steel mill in Hamilton. After hours of course. Had our fatigues [uniforms] on and we worked there from, I think it was 8:00 until midnight or 1:00. And one night when we came out to get on the bus, here was the provost waiting for us because we were out. They had a set of stairs going up over the fence, down the other side of Hamilton.
Well, I was out there without a pass. We all were because we went over the fence. I don’t know whether they were just, happened to be coming by or got the word that some of us were working there or I don’t know. We spent three days in the clink for doing it.
I think by then, I was finally getting $1.30 a day. When I first joined up and was taking that electrical course, we got ninety cents, ninety cents a day. Needless to say, I wrote home quite often. Every time I did, my mother or dad, they’d send me ten bucks.
And from there, I went to Simcoe, which was the battle inoculation camp. Woodstock, took a driver mechanics course there. Well, they put us in a, what they called a 1,500 weight truck. Of course, the steering was on the right hand side. Well, I guess if you ended up in England or someplace, you drove on the other side of the road. We went out on a number of convoys and we had to get our head under the hood, check things out. And when we were at Meaford, you were using live ammunition. And I was in charge of a, a section. There was another section a way over and a big pile of rocks out in between us. This was like I say, live ammunition. So we were firing at these rocks and all of a sudden, up came a white flag from across the way. The bullets were ricocheting off those rocks into where these other guys were.
I met my first wife, she was in the army when I was at Woodstock. Well, I’d say she was in the army there, in the CWAC [Canadian Women’s Army Corps]. And there, we’d get together with some of them sometimes, usually just sitting around talking or having something to eat. Shortly after that, after I’d proposed to her, I had to write home because I was still underage, I had to write home to get permission to get married.
Now, I was one week over 19 when I got married. And by the time I was 21, I had three kids and false teeth. We were waiting around to go to, I think it was Louisiana for Pacific training. We’d all volunteered for [the] Pacific [campaign]. And before that happened, the war was over. We were kind of on our honeymoon. She had to go back to camp and I had to go back to camp but this was one night we were in a hotel and we heard all the kafuffle and looked out the window from the second floor and boy, the goings on. (laughs)