Veteran Stories:
John Colin Neville

Army

  • Official message to all commands when the end of the war was declared, 1945.

    John Neville
  • Private John C. Neville pictured in 1936.

    John Neville
  • John Neville (on left) pictured in 1936.

    John Neville
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"During the night, a German bomb landed between our tent and another tent."

Transcript

My name is John Colden Neville, I was born in Windsor [Ontario] February the 29th, 1920. And went to school there, and most of my life was spent in Windsor. We went to a new camp in Windsor, Nova Scotia, a brand new camp. When we pulled into Windsor, Nova Scotia, the first thing we saw was wooden sidewalks, dirt streets and the farmers were pulling wagons around town. So that was kind of a shock because we were used to having paved roads at home and everything. Then we got into the new camp and we were there for quite a few weeks. And then we were transferred to another camp called [CFS, Canadian Forces Station] Debert in Nova Scotia. And actually, I was in Nova Scotia six months. They were not sending anybody over. They had all the troops they could handle in England, and so we were backed up. But as soon as they started making some progress, we were shipped over. So I got over in England in 1943, and then we just trained there until 1944, when we got shipped out to France. Our unit didn’t go into France until after Caen [France] had been captured. I got off the boat in France, the reception area was in an apple orchard and they had tents all through the orchard. And that’s where we spent about three days. And the first night, we were all sleeping in the tents that were maybe, oh, I don’t know, as wide as this room apart. And during the night, a German bomb landed between our tent and another tent. I’m a sound sleeper. I didn’t hear anything about it. All the other guys, they’re out of the tents. And the bomb landed between our tent and the next tent, left a hole about six feet deep. I never heard it and I didn’t find out about it the next morning. So that’s how close I came to not being here. (laughs) That’s the only dangerous thing that happened to me. And none of us were hurt, but it’s because it landed right between the two tents.
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