Veteran Stories:
Sidney Albert Appleyard

Army

  • Platoon 10 "B" Company 131, Comrose, October 1944.

    Sidney A. Appleyard
  • Service of Pay book of Sidney Appleyard, September 20, 1944.

    Sidney A. Appleyard
  • Book instruction: Drivers Certificate of Sidney A. Appleyard, 1944

    Sidney A. Appleyard
  • Dog Tags of Sidney A. Appleyard.

    Sidney A. Appleyard
  • Sidney A. Appleyard, 1944-45.

    Sidney A. Appleyard
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"Some of us in headquarters went into and checked the weights of these German soldiers when they were captured. There was none that lost any weight."

Transcript

The growing up days in that little city of Walsh, that was Depression time. And it was not easy or anything. There was no money around, too much at all. And the folks had a grocery store but they went broke in that and so my mother and dad were both out work and wherever they could find a little work to do. You couldn’t complain too much because it was a regular thing in them days. So anyhow, I went to school just through grade school and I quit school when I was in grade seven. I went to work for a sheep rancher, a big sheep rancher. And then when the war broke out, I hitchhiked from Walsh there right to Calgary.

I went in training for driving all the vehicles, the big trucks and everything. We trained under real fire, the places they trained us they was actually firing on us when we were crawling along in the ditches and that. So you had to stay down. And it, it was interesting, I thought. Even my family ended up with a garage, a place, and so you’re into vehicles all the time, playing around with them and …

So I was interested in that part of it and I thought, if I did have to go to the front, I would maybe be driving the big tanks and that is what I had in mind. Anyhow, then the war slowed down so they sent me to Lethbridge, Alberta. There, there was a prisoner-of-war camp, German prisoner-of-war camp. And they had 33,000 prisoners in that. I started out just as a guard, you know, going around the camp and, and checking on prisoners and that. And what they did there at that camp, they built tents or, for the prisoners to go out there, the ones which I guess they trusted most. And they went out there and they’d work in the sugar beets, they all were happy to do that. And I was the driver that drove the officers around to visit these camps, they had about three or four of them out in the field. And I had to drive them around and then you’d get up next morning and, and go start back out there again.

And then they put me into the headquarters. Some of us in headquarters went into and checked the weights of these German soldiers when they were captured. There was none that lost any weight. They all gained quite. And they were happy to be there. They didn’t want to go no place. They thought Canada was a pretty nice place to live I think. Yeah.

There was an odd thing in there too that one of the prisoners who was in that camp went to school in Lethbridge and he’d gone over to Germany to visit relatives. And he got caught over there and he was then put in the German, German army and he was captured in the German army and brought back to Lethbridge. But he still had to stay in the camp because the rule was that, you know, you had to deliver these people, like when the war was over, and you delivered them home, they had to go back to where we accepted them from. He had to go back as far as Britain and then they released him there and he got back to Lethbridge.

And another thing I’ll tell you that was interesting in that prisonerof-war camp, those guys were very smart, some of those Germans. In fact, they built, you know, in their off-time when nobody was around, in their barracks, in between the two-by-fours inside a wall, they built a two-way radio with all the pieces that they had picked up when they were hauling garbage out in the truck and they’d see some wire or something in there and, and they built a two-way radio there. And they ended up, they did get caught with it sometime down the line. They could contact right back to Germany with that equipment they built. And I saw that thing. These guys were actually talking right back to their relatives in Germany. So they were pretty smart. Like I say, they were so happy to be there, you know. They were never handled like a prisoner in the jail or something. They were just handled like German prisoner of war.

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