Veteran Stories:
Norma Hariet Dillon

Navy

  • Food ration coupon booklet for buying groceries.

    Norma Dillon
  • Photographs of Norma and her husband John in their Navy uniforms, 1944.

    Norma Dillon


  • A letter received by John Dillon in 1944 just before going to D-Day. On the back a note reads, "This is a message given to us on the eve of the invasion".

    Norma Dillon
  • Mrs. Dillon (on the right) with two other women at basic training in HMCS Conestoga, November, 1943.

    Norma Dillon
  • Newspaper article features Mrs. Dillon teaching a Russian soldier how to use a sewing machine, November 21, 1944. Her future husband would see this article overseas.

    Norma Dillon
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"Everybody’s out celebrating, let’s you and I go raid the kitchen. She had the key to the kitchen, so I thought, well, she’s the petty officer, I’ll go with her. So we had our own little party."

Transcript

One day our ship, we had a whole lot of Russians come onboard at HMCS York. And we were all given papers, Russian words and the Russians had English words and we had to kind of talk. And one day they, they came over to pick up a minesweeper [HMS Jaseur], I have pictures in here of this. And they asked for volunteers to go around the gun trials of the minesweeper and I went out on the gun trials. And it was very exciting. And there was very rough seas. It was on Lake Ontario but the seas, very small waves, not like the ocean. A lot of people got sick. But I didn’t get sick and then my picture was taken so a Russian sailor had to work a sewing machine on this ship and then my future husband was overseas and he got this, I guess it was a naval newspaper or something and there was my picture on the front page. And he saw it overseas. Well, I used to write every night, send him a letter and just whatever was going on in the daytime, whatever we did and then he would write back and tell me where, well, he couldn’t say too much because they were censored. And then he went off on trips up to Russia and all over the place and then he’d come back to port and he’d collect all these letters. I’d get a whole bunch of time when I received his letters, he’d get a whole bunch at a time. He didn’t write every day because he didn’t have the time for that but he’s kept in touch and I remember with him, when he said it was D-Day [the Normandy invasion], that everybody took off and I was on duty, I had to stay there that night so they were all partying out in the streets in Toronto and I didn’t know where they’d gone but I had to stay, so I was on duty that night. So then I went back to Howard House and there was only one person there. I don’t know where they all were, out celebrating. Then so there was a petty officer, so she said to me, well, everybody’s out celebrating, let’s you and I go raid the kitchen. She had the key to the kitchen, so I thought, well, she’s the petty officer, I’ll go with her. So we had our own little party. Yeah, everybody was out celebrating, yeah.
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