Eloie Durrell at The Memory Project event in Miramichi, New Brunswick, November 2012.Eloie Durrell
"The time was hard back then. And so we decide, the four brothers, we decide to join the armed forces."
We were fishermen. We were lumberjacks. And, of course we were a boxing family from Baie-Ste-Anne, New Brunswick.
And, the time was hard back then. And so we decide, the four brothers, we decide to join the armed forces.
We left Petawawa. We took the train in Ontario. And, it was the troop train. And, we travelled, Petawawa to Seattle. And, we took the boat in Seattle, the [USNS] Marine Lynx, and we sailed 21 days until we hit Pusan [Korea].
Our duty was – we were the artillery, we were gunners. And, we were in the state of readiness 24 hours a day, just in case anything erupted again, which luckily it didn’t.
I had two fights in Korea, two boxing matches in Korea. Well, one day I was – we were pretty well physically fit at the time, anyway we were young and strong and couldn’t care less for anything that was going on. So, we went up the hill into our camp. Then I hear a name downstairs at the headquarters. “I heard that you have a Durrell here,” one British fellow said. Sergeant-Major, of course, was Mr. Nobby Clarke, “Yes we have a Durrell here.” Well, we started a boxing match for the Commonwealth, coming up, so we want him to participate in it.
So they called me down the hill. So he says, “Get ready, you are going to box.” Whatever it was. So they put me into a jeep and they drive me there and we stayed there three days, and then the boxing tournament start. So due to that I was – quite a few fights, we were fighting professional then in Canada, so I didn’t fight any preliminaries, but the main event, for the championship. I was fighting Mr. – from England, Mr. Dougherty. And, he was kind of getting rough with me. So, I had to get rid of him in the second round. And, that was the end for that fight. And after that we fought – they made arrangements so I fought with Mr. Johnson in the 3rd Army, U.S.A.
And the referee that was refereeing my fight, for the Commonwealth was Mr. Dougherty. He was refereeing these fights here, in the U.S.
And every time we get to a clinch, when he say break, instead of breaking, he kind of grabbed me by the throat. But he didn't like me anyway, I don’t think. But he was a Brit also. And, break, I told him, “Don’t do it again. Leave my throat alone.” So next time we get into a clinch he grabbed me again. So I turned around, let Mr. Johnson go and get onto the referee. So, I got disqualified.