Veteran Stories:
David Ward

Army

  • This photo, taken by from a German POW by David Ward shortly after D-day (June 6, 1944) is thought to show the Allied evacuation at Dunkirk in 1939. Note the small fishing boats.

    David Ward
  • Germany 1945, March or April. Reichwald Forest. Ward sits at sewing machine (Gritzner model) obtained from a bombed out farm house. Standing is Junior Grey, from Western Canada. Ward was a part-time tailor.

    David Ward
  • Camp Debert Nova Scotia. David Ward standing by his truck waiting for orders, 19 years old, 1941.

    David Ward
  • Peacekeeping in Egypt 1956-57. R & R bar in Ciro. Ward is seated at far left.

    David Ward
  • David Ward’s mess kit/personal effects bag. When a man died this was used to contain his personal effects. This shot shows a watch, dog tags, cutlery, jack-knife/trench-digger & razor.

    David Ward
  • This photo, taken by from a German POW by David Ward shortly after D-day (June 6, 1944) is thought to show the Allied evacuation at Dunkirk in 1939.

    David Ward
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Transcript

My name is David Ward. I joined the army when I was 18 years old. I joined up on the 4th of September of 1939. And then I went from there to Camp Borden, for basic training and then from there I went to Camp DeBert, Nova Scotia. And that was what they called a staging area. We regrouped there and shipped out from Halifax overseas to England. We went over on the old Empress of Canada. And then we went to Aldershot. That's where we took our training.

We went over to Normandy from there. That's where we landed on D-Day. And that's when all the fun started. They were shooting at us then and we weren't playing war games. It was the real thing.

I was on the first batch that landed on D-Day. And landed at 7:30 in the morning and I was on a hospital ship and we had to be evacuated first, they needed the hospital ship for taking the wounded out, so we had to get in there good and early. I was on ammunition detail. I was delivering ammunition. And we built ammunition dumps. And we... on the first day we were right up into Caen. We went too fast and we had to retreat when we got into the enemy lines up in that area.

And then we had the whole campaign all through Germany. Up all along the coast of France and Belgium and Holland. In the spring of 1945 that's when we were in that Reichwald Forest. I was more or less a truck driver and our job was to deliver the ammunition to the guns and to the troops. And, of course, we could carry a lot of junk around with us and that's when I latched onto that sewing machine. I got that out of an old bombed farm house. And I was part-time tailor and did all the tailoring for the guys.

After the war was finished... and the armistice was on the 8th of May, 1945, we had a point system then for getting home. The point system was based on the length of time you served and whether you were married and had children or not, you got x number of points. I had lots of service in, but, being single I didn't have enough points, so I was on, what they called, the army of occupation and I served on that from May 'til September. The war was finished, but then we had to dispose of all these German ammunition dumps that were laying all over the country. So we took all that German ammunition, loaded them on boats and they took it and dumped out to the North Sea. The fishermen are still dragging it up out there. And they're wondering where it's coming from. Well I said, "All they had to do was ask us and we could have told them." From then we went back to England and then sat around there for a few months and then, finally we came back home. And when I got home the love bug got me and I got married. And then, of course, I sort of enjoyed the army and work wasn't too plentiful around the time, so I got out of the army and they were taking us back in again. We had the option and then that's when I got back in the army and then I started to make a career out of it.

So, they sent me over to Egypt in the peacekeeping forces. I went over there in December of 1956 with the first bunch that Pearson had sent over. And we were the first Canadian Peacekeeping Force that was formed. That was the start of it all.

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