Veteran Stories:
Gordon Cadman

Army

  • Gordon Cadman was twenty years old when this photo was taken in England in 1942.

    Gordon Cadman
  • Cadman Gordon and other members of the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade participated in a liturgy of Easter April 9, 1944, before the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy. The service was held on the day of the birthday of his mother when he sent the program.

    Gordon Cadman
  • Gordon Cadman's Soldier's Service Book. This book, which he had to carry with him at all times, contained information on his enlistment, training, medical treatments and awards.

    Gordon Cadman
  • When Gordon Cadman arrived in Halifax on October 26, 1945, he sent this telegram to his parents in Langley Prairie, BC, saying that he would be home soon.

    Gordon Cadman
  • Mr. Cadman's discharge certificate dated December 5th 1945 discharging him from the Canadian Army

Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"In our group I can’t remember anyone speaking – just standing with every human emotion taking over."

Transcript

My name is Gordon Cadman. I served with the Canadian Army (1st Canadian Armoured Tank Brigade) in the United Kingdom, Central Mediterranean and Continental Europe during World War II (1941 – 1945). This is one of my war experiences. A week before departure for home we were given the opportunity to visit (mandatory) one of what we were told was one of three extermination camps in Holland. I imagine it was small in comparison to places such as Bergen Belsen, Auschwitz and others but there was no doubt what had taken place here. Six months had passed since the surrender and the area had been somewhat cleaned up, but the cremation ovens were still there all in a row, and when the ovens couldn't handle all the dead they were dumped in a mass grave which had by now been fenced off. In our group I can't remember anyone speaking – just standing with every human emotion taking over. We, in this group, believed this was done by the powers that be, to show us, and to leave no doubt about what we had spent five years fighting to rid the world of this terrible tyrant. We who were lucky enough to return home will never forget the ultimate sacrifice paid by those we had to leave behind. A fact well known is that thirty thousand Dutch citizens died of starvation and killings in the winter of 1944-45.
Follow us