Veteran Stories:
Pauline Harris

Civilian

  • General view of women workers producing components with the poster advising, "Haste Makes Waste" In the Small Arms Ltd. Long Branch munitions plant. April 1944.

    Ronny Jaques / National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / Library and Archives Canada / Restrictions on use: nil Copyright: Expired
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"It was very important to be supporting the war. And we were very involved in the friends we knew, the young fellows we knew from our area that were going overseas. We took an active part in saying goodbye to them. And, all in all, we felt that this was our part that we could do at home."

Transcript

It was very important to be supporting the war. And we were very involved in the friends we knew, the young fellows we knew from our area that were going overseas. We took an active part in saying goodbye to them. And, all in all, we felt that this was our part that we could do at home.

I was apprehensive when we first went there because I'd never worked on machinery before. And I can't remember if it was very noisy. I imagine it was though. And, so it was more or less, you might almost say tedious at times standing and watching the machine, making sure that everything went right. To us it was a paycheck and that was very important. We would take this money home and give it to our mother because that was what you did in those days. You helped out at home.

That’s quite interesting. Well, I think we made the inside of it. Is there a part inside that’s made of metal? Yes, I think that’s what we made. It’s quite a heavy weapon, isn’t it? I imagine the soldiers would be quite tired from carrying this around.

It was a big thing in those days to get a long-distance phone call. And I had a feeling he would phone, so I waited and waited, and finally my mother said to me, "Quit moping around this house, Pauline, do something constructive." She said, "Get down to the church and help them with the young people's Christmas pageant."

So that's what I did. When I come home, who should be standing in the door but my oldest brother, standing there in his uniform.  And he had this sad look on his face and I said, "What's the matter with you?" He said, "Well, I hate to tell you, Pauline," he said, "but Everett phoned to say goodbye," he said, "and you missed him."

Well, I can remember going into my mother's bedroom, flopping on the bed, and crying and crying. Mom said, "Now you've got to get out of this, can't do this," she said, and so she tried to console me. But I was very upset about it.

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