Veteran Stories:
Yorkston John “Yorky” Marion


  • Yorkston Marion, Gaspe, Quebec, July 12, 2010.

    Historica Canada
  • Yorkston Marion is pictured here on his first leave from the army, 1943.

    Yorkston Marion
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"The Japanese idea was, you fought for Japan ̶ you fought there to die. You went there to die, so you didn’t give up and you were not prisoners."


My name’s Yorkston John Marion. And I enlisted because I wanted to; because a lot of my friends and my buddies were overseas. Being I was younger than the rest of them, I tried hard a couple of times to get into it and they wouldn’t take me on account I was too young. But I finally made it when I was 17.

And then I went in the infantry and got my basic training in [No. 60 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre] Yarmouth, Nova Scotia; and my advanced training in [A14 Canadian Infantry Training Centre, Camp] Aldershot, Nova Scotia. From there, I went to [A23 Coast Defence and Anti-Aircraft Artillery Advanced Training Centre, Camp] Debert, Nova Scotia where I went on draft to go overseas, but the war was finishing off pretty well in Europe. So I enlisted for the Pacific force; and I was unlucky there again because I wanted to go bad, I had an uncle that was in Hong Kong. But the Japs finished it off before I had a chance to get there.

I was in Montreal and I tried to get into the air force because the air force were taking younger people and [training] them. But each time I tried to get in the air force to take the test, I was always about four points below average because I had no education. So I couldn’t and then one day, I went down to join the navy. So I think they were on Drummond Street in Montreal, I went there and they weren’t open yet. So I walked down Beaver Hall Hill and joined the army.

I told them I was 18, but during the time I finished my advanced training, I think my mother had something to do with it, because I had filled out my birth certificate and they got a new [different] one. And the day that they got [it], they told me that I was drafted, I was on from Aldershot to Debert for overseas when they told me I wouldn’t go. I think that was a sorrowful thing in my life.

Once they found out my age, then I still was sent back to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in the demonstration squad [illustrating training procedures] until I turned 18. So I had courses. I had a course in anti-tank guns and all that during that time; I was waiting to turn my age before I could go.

The training for Europe, the fighting in Europe, the training was a bit different. When we joined for the Pacific force, they changed the, they had a different style of training for Pacific fighting because you were fighting a different type of person. You were fighting the Germans; the Germans had their way of fighting. But the Japs were altogether different story. You had to learn what the Americans were teaching then for the Pacific force. Not what they were teaching for Europe is what I understood it, I seen at the time. The Japanese were a different story.

The Japanese idea was, you fought for Japan ̶ you fought there to die. You went there to die, so you didn’t give up and you were not prisoners. So it was a different type of war.

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