Ted Shale in his Navy Band Uniform at the Vancouver's Chinese New Year's Parade, British Columbia, February 14, 2010.Ted Shale
Crew of the HMCS Ontario, 1945.Ted Shale
Ted Shale in RCN Uniform (far right) taking Japanese prisoners in Kowloon, Hong Kong, 1945.Ted Shale
Ted Shale (middle row, third from right) with his crew, 1945.Ted Shale
Ted Shale and his crew on HMCS Ontario on their way back to Canada from Asia, 1945.Ted Shale
"It seemed ironic that I could have been taken a prisoner of war had my dad okayed me going into the battalion that ended up in Hong Kong."
The war started, I played a small bugle at one time and they needed Cadets for the Lord Strathcona Horse in Winnipeg, so that would have been 1940. So I progressed from there into the Winnipeg Grenadiers because they were forming a bugle band and so I went with them, underage because I was only 15 at the time. So that was 1941. And so when they were mustered to go to replenish the first battalion from which - I was in the second battalion, they needed recruits and so I tried to go, even if I was underage. But I had to have [my] parents’ consent and my dad refused to sign for me, so I remained in the reserves.
When the battalion left for wherever they were going to go - which ended up [being] Hong Kong - I ended up, when they disbanded the band, going with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles. And as it worked out, I didn’t join the army, I joined the navy. Simply because I had lost my cousin on HMCS Louisburg and then another friend of mine was lost on one of the corvettes in the St. Lawrence River. So I felt that I needed to, whatever it is you feel, and so I went into the navy and experienced trainings and ended up in small ships on the East Coast. Also ended up going on a troopship to Britain, stationed [on HMCS] Niobe, Scotland and proceeded being drafted to HMCS Ontario, which was a commissioning crew, which I was part of and I was - being a gunner, having had training as a gun layer in [HMCS] Cornwallis [Nova Scotia] - my job was to look after the ammunition aboard ship - it was called gunner’s party.
And from there, we proceeded, well, all around the British Isles and the war ended in Europe and so they had to take personnel off that did not volunteer to go to the Pacific. I volunteered to go, so I remained onboard the Ontario and proceeded through the Mediterranean and down into areas like Sri Lanka. And during our operations in the Indian Ocean, the [atomic] bomb was dropped, so that was the end of the war. So our duty from then on was to proceed to Hong Kong and take over from the Japanese and we did duties there. And then proceeded home.
And we were the last warship to arrive at any Canadian port after cessation of the war. And then I proceeded home to Winnipeg. So when I arrived in Banff, I’d completed circling the globe. Not bad for a young fellow starting in Winnipeg. It seemed ironic that I could have been taken a prisoner of war had my dad okayed me going into the battalion that ended up in Hong Kong, which was the Winnipeg Grenadiers.