Robert Fairchild, January 28, 2010.Historica Canada
"When you have friends over on the other side, you want to be with them."
Well, I don’t know. Everybody and all my friends were marching off in uniform to war and they were saying, too bad you can’t come along with us, you know. And I thought, gee, I will go too. And I was trying to find a way to go. And I made up my mind; I was going to make it over there before the war ended.
But, unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, there seemed to be great big stumbling blocks on my way. I was sent everywhere else but towards Europe. [laughs] It was Western Canada. [laughs] There I was, miles away from war and I wasn’t too happy sometimes when I thought about it.
Well, when you have friends over on the other side, you want to be with them. You know, you feel, well, I should be there too. And I was definitely determined to get there. Yeah, but it wasn’t to be that the war ended and there I was sitting in Western Canada, [laughs] a Western Canada hero. Never wore out the uniform.
The feeling was something not accomplished. I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to do. I know I did something because I was trained as a mechanic; and I worked with them as a mechanic and I was able to do a lot of good things with their vehicles and drive around and help out, you know, take guys out of the ditch, military people. But that wasn’t what I wanted to do.
Because I had a brother, a prisoner of war now. I had one serve in the RCAF [Royal Canadian Air Force] working over and I had my other brother over there. Well, he went through Italy and everything else, so you know. But, it wasn’t to be. I was still too young. [laughs] The war ended. I was still too young.
Well, when we found he was a prisoner of war, we were very concerned he wouldn’t get killed because he was the type of guy who would fight back. He was a big guy; he would fight back. Which he did; he did escape in Germany, he did escape a prisoner of war camp. And they made it a few miles away before somebody squealed on them and they got caught. Somebody squealed. If somebody wouldn’t have squealed, they would have probably made it through.
When our training was getting to an end and we were going to go, everybody was anxious to go. Because people, like soldiers, get anxious to go. They don’t want to stay anymore in their camp. They want to get their orders and go. And that’s what I found was great about it, the comradeship. Everybody was ready to go.