Veteran Stories:
John Arthur Maguire

Army

  • John Arthur Maguire enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War on April 28, 1915. He served with the 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion in France. Collection courtesy of Mr. Maguire's son, John.

    John Arthur Maguire enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War on April 28, 1915. He served with the 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion in France. Collection courtesy of Mr. Maguire's son, John.
  • John Maguire's Canadian Expeditionary Force discharge certificate. He was discharged from the Army on Mary 9, 1919.

    John Maguire's Canadian Expeditionary Force discharge certificate. He was discharged from the Army on Mary 9, 1919.
  • During World War II, John Arthur Maguire served with the Veterans Guard with the rank of Corporal.

    During World War II, John Arthur Maguire served with the Veterans Guard with the rank of Corporal.
  • Mr. Maguire's WWII discharge certificate showing his service with the Veterans Guard from August 14, 1940 to September 9, 1942.

    Mr. Maguire's WWII discharge certificate showing his service with the Veterans Guard from August 14, 1940 to September 9, 1942.
  • Left to right: 1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal (1914-1918); Canadian Volunteer Service Medal; War Medal 1939-1945.

    Left to right: 1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal (1914-1918); Canadian Volunteer Service Medal; War Medal 1939-1945.
  • As a young boy, John Maguire posed for this photo dressed as a soldier of the Boer War, c.1900.

    As a young boy, John Maguire posed for this photo dressed as a soldier of the Boer War, c.1900.
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Transcript

My name is John Arthur Maguire. I go by the name of John. This is an autobiography that my father wrote. He is also John Arthur Maguire, but went by the name Arthur.

He joined the 38th Battalion on January the 6th, 1915, at age twenty-one, and was transferred to the Canadian 2nd Battalion on April the 28th, 1915, and served with that battalion until his discharge on May the 9th, 1919.

I'm going to read a portion of his autobiography:

"After our six days in, we returned to our billets in (?). We rushed the cook wagon for tins of faithful old mulligan. It sure tasted good, as we had not had any food for a week. After our feed, we moved our putties and boots and settled down, owing to the fact that most of us had not had our boots off for twelve days. We quite understood why some of the shingles were missing from the roof in the morning.

The Sergeant awakened me, saying I had to go on guard at battalion headquarters at once. I said it was impossible, because I had not had time to clean up. This did not serve as an excuse, so I went the way I was, to be bawled out by the Adjutant, who said we were a disgrace. On examining our rifles, he could not see through them from mud. He was so disgusted that he gave us an hour to clean up. We cleaned up as well as possible on the outside, which met with his approval. It mattered little how one felt as to being clean, as long as one looked clean.

We were taken off guard the following day. As it happened, it was payday once again, and we decided to go to a larger town to celebrate, feeling we were entitled to a day out after having been in a lake of mud for many days. Before proceeding, we decided to call upon the lady and her two girls and have a feed of eggs and chips. The girls recognized us and said, 'We're glad to see you come back'. In our previous visit, we had not heard them speak English, and we were surprised and thoroughly enjoyed it. When leaving, the girls smiled at us and wished us 'Bonjour', and we left singing."

Another section here:

"After being dried inside and out, we turned in for the night. I for once did not sleep very well, and I was told by my pals that I guess I'd stirred them up. 'Stirred what up?' I replied. 'Read your shirt and see if you can see anything'. I did, yes I did see something, and right then was shown how to kill the little devils. On close examination, I discovered different colours. Some were big with stripes in black across their backs, while the smaller ones had a touch of red on their backs, and how they could travel up and down the seams of a shirt. I spent the rest of the day killing 'cooties'. As luck had happened, we had our monthly bath and change of underwear, which I expected to be clean the next day. I was bothered again that night, and in the morning found more. My friends said, 'Forget them. To Hell with them'. It was impossible to forget them. They would not let me rest, especially when I became overheated."

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