Veteran Stories:
Douglas Lloyd

Navy

  • Douglas Lloyd in Toronto, Ontario, 1945.

    Douglas Lloyd
  • Douglas Lloyd's certificate of service.

    Douglas Lloyd
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"First of all VE-Day had come and gone. So the line up of people wanting discharge was all the way from Toronto to Halifax and out to Vancouver the other way."

Transcript

I was 17 when I graduated from high school, but that was average by the way in that time for our school. So the first year, I was not subject to any drafts or anything else. The following year, I was in the COTC, which is the Canadian Officers Training Corps, which is the army and we went over to Camp Niagara for a couple of weeks; came back with bad sunburn and a bad cold. And I said that was enough that I would never go near them again. It was a dreadful experience. And so that fall, which would be my third year of university: first year was not subject to draft, the second year was the COTC, the third year was when I joined the navy, which would be October of 1943. And I joined it at the university. And I joined in what they called the University Naval Training Division. We were taken down to Cornwallis [Nova Scotia] for a couple of weeks’ training in the following summer, in May probably. I remember we all got sick going across the Bay of Fundy because it’s very rough. And of course, you’re going from St. John [New Brunswick] over to Digby [Nova Scotia] and you’re right in the trough of the waves and the boat was going like this and everybody was sick as a dog. It was a terrible mess. Anyway, so we were over there and the understanding was that if we failed out or graduated, we were automatically in the navy. And the air force had a similar arrangement. I can’t speak for them because I wasn’t in it. So that in May of 1945, they gathered us all together and marched us down to HMCS York in Toronto, which was housed in the automotive building at the [Canadian National] Exhibition grounds. And it was a rather interesting collection of people. First of all VE-Day [Victory in Europe] had come and gone. So the lineup of people wanting discharge was all the way from Toronto to Halifax and out to Vancouver the other way. And everybody wanted to get out and consequently, they were overloaded. But the curious thing was that suddenly, we arrived on the scene and they were very badly understaffed, they just grabbed us like this and the next thing, we knew we were practically doing everything except run the ship. Thirty odd university graduates and suddenly replacing nobody. So you can imagine, we were extremely useful.
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