Veteran Stories:
William Higgins

Army

  • The 94th Regiment in their dress uniform of red tunics and fur hats. May 25, 1918. Courtesy of Bruce Higgins, William Higgins' grandson.

    The 94th Regiment in their dress uniform of red tunics and fur hats. May 25, 1918. Courtesy of Bruce Higgins, William Higgins' grandson.
  • William Higgins' attestation papers from his enlistment in WWI. The papers show that he was married and identified his profession as "iron worker." Courtesy of Bruce Higgins.

    William Higgins' attestation papers from his enlistment in WWI. The papers show that he was married and identified his profession as "iron worker." Courtesy of Bruce Higgins.
  • Members of the 94th Regiment in the field. Courtesy of Bruce Higgins.

    Members of the 94th Regiment in the field. Courtesy of Bruce Higgins.
  • William Higgins was discharged from the Canadian Army on May 25, 1918. The reason listed on his discharge papers was that he was no longer medically fit for active service. Courtesy of Bruce Higgins.

    William Higgins was discharged from the Canadian Army on May 25, 1918. The reason listed on his discharge papers was that he was no longer medically fit for active service. Courtesy of Bruce Higgins.
  • Gold box that soldiers used to hold chocolate or cigarettes. Courtesy of Bruce Higgins.

    Gold box that soldiers used to hold chocolate or cigarettes. Courtesy of Bruce Higgins.
  • The British War Medal given to every Canadian who served overseas between 1914 and 1918 (left) and The Victory Medal given to every Canadian who served in a theatre of war (right). The reverse reads: The Great War for Civilization.

    The British War Medal given to every Canadian who served overseas between 1914 and 1918 (left) and The Victory Medal given to every Canadian who served in a theatre of war (right). The reverse reads: The Great War for Civilization.
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Transcript

My name is Bruce Higgins and I live in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I'd like to tell a story about my grandfather, who I knew rather well. He was my father's father. His name was Bill Higgins – Billy Higgins, they called him. I remember he was one of the oldest fellows to march in the Remembrance Day parade, and he marched in that parade up until he was in his late nineties, believe it or not. He was almost a hundred and one when he died.

His stories that he would tell me of the war – some of them I can't repeat – but this particular one I remember him telling me of him coming out of the trench, going toward the enemy and getting hit in the leg. It was a gunshot wound in the right leg. Then he got hit with shrapnel or something. It hit him in the helmet and knocked his helmet flying and knocked him out. Well, he woke up later, and of course I guess the other waves went over him. He never did find his helmet – he didn't know where that was – but he did still have his rifle with him, which was very important, and he managed to make his way back to his own lines again where he was treated. And I think he went back into active service after that.

At that point I think his age caught up with him. I know it said in his attestation papers that he was thirty-nine years old but he looked twenty-nine. So this was getting later. He would have been in his early forties by the time I think they finally discharged him. I remember I thought it was because of that, but apparently he had had some other medical problems that I guess living in the trenches didn't do him any good, and he came back to Thunder Bay.

That was one story I remember about him. I always thought that my grandfather was a big hero. He lived a good long life, and I have some very fond memories of him.

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