CALL TO DUTY THE DAILY COURIER, TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 2012
A SALUTE TO THE OKANAGAN’S WAR VETERANS
Daily Courier Photos by GARY NYLANDER
June Brown June Brown was a member of the Canadian Women’s Army Corp, stationed in England.On D-Day — June 6, 1944 — two of her brothers took part in the Allied invasion of Europe, one as a Spitfire pilot and the other aboard a navy ship. In the fall of 1942, rumors were circulat- ing that women might be going overseas and of course we all hoped that we might go.We boarded the queen Elizabeth on Dec. 15. Our barracks in London was a six-storey
hotel.We heard our first air raid warning that night.Th
e windows were blacked out with heavy curtains so that no light could show, and we couldn’t look out. We were posted to jobs at Canadian Military Headquarters 1. I worked as a clerk-typist.
In the summer of ’43, I transferred to the Historical Section as a steno. Here we were actually writing the history of the war as it happened. German V1 rockets came in thick and fast and some of them were darn close. They had a flame at the rear and when they passed and the flame went out, you knew you were safe, but some other poor bugger was going to get it. After D-Day, one of the jobs I had to do
was to keep a map up to date showing where and how far our Canadian troops had gone. Sometimes I was a few days ahead of myself, and had us in Paris long before we arrived. Wishful thinking, I guess. If they had gone by my map, the war would have been over long before it was. Unfortunately, men were running it.
Don Wraith The late Don Wraith was among the Canadian troops who drove the Germans off an Italian mountain during the Second World War.Th
is is part of his highly personal account of the battle: We knew the Germans were waiting for us,
but we also knew we had to take that hill and hold it.We also knew that many of us would die.
heavy. I was sick with fear; sick with the sight of my buddies’ blood; sick with the repulsive stench of rotting bod- ies killed in the hills God knows how long before we got there. I gradually over- came my fear, mainly
because Mother Nature has a way of chilling the mind to things which are repulsive to it. We lost about three-quarters of our twelve hundred men.I added my small contribution to the fire that finally convinced the Jerries that we were on the hill to stay, and that we had the firepower to keep it. We were cold, wet, dirty, hungry and thirsty. But the Germans accepted their defeat ...Th
ese things happened to me, just as they happened to thousands of other fellows.
Submitted photo Bill Adair was on recon duty during the Second World War.
Creeping toward the enemy T
By RON SEYMOUR The Daily Courier
he more Bill Adair went out on re- connaissance patrols, the closer he’d creep to the enemy. He and the six other men of his
squad were sent out under cover of darkness to try establish the location and strength of German troops.
“Our job was to find to out how many men they had, where their petrol supplies were, the location of their ammo dumps, all that sort of thing,” Adair, an 87-year- old Vernonite recalls. “Of course we’d stay in the shadows, but it was surprising to me how close we could often get to the Germans without them detecting us,” Adair says.
“We were pretty nervous, but we got braver as we went along.” Sometimes, he says, there was as lit- tle as 20 feet separating he and his comrades from the oblivious Germans. “I guess the Good Lord was with us on those occasions,” he says with a laugh.
Adair had joined up for service in May 1943 in Simcoe, Ont. He was just 17 years old, technically too old to be inducted, but he was accepted into the army nonetheless. After postings at various bases in Canada, he was sent overseas in the fall of 1944 and
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The evacuation of Adair and other wound- ed soldiers from the battlefield turned into a bit of an ordeal in its own right.
“The ambulance driver couldn’t find the airfield, because the Germans had turned all the (roadside direc- tional) signs around the wrong way, or knocked them off,” Adair says. “There was about eight or 10 of us wounded in there who were hoping he was going to find the airfield pretty quick.” After the war, Adair worked for General Motors for 33 years. He and
his wife of 65 years, Lavina, have lived in the Okanagan for the past decade. As a member of what’s often called the Greatest Generation, whose ranks did ex- traordinarily brave and heroic deeds when they were young and busy saving the world, Adair sometimes wonders about today’s youth. “Some kids, with their drugs and nee- dles,” he says, his voice trailing off, “I don’t understand it at all.”
Don Green Don Green, who was born in Canada,
.He saw action in the Battle of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. One time, we were on a convoy to Tubruq
served seven years with the British Royal Navy
(Libya), and we sighted a submarine.We at- tacked, depth charged, and then the Italian submarine came to the surface.We fired about 200 shells, four inch shells at it, before we dis- abled it. The crew abandoned the submarine. It sank
d there were bodies all over in the sea.We put the body nets out, picked up 54 survivors, and they were all the ship’s crew, except one person.
So when he came aboard, scrambled up the
nets, he said, ‘I’m an officer, Luftwaffe (German air force). So someone gave him a kick in the ass, and said, ‘Get forward.’
A Special Salute to All Our
Steve Lubky Driver mechanic, infantry When we got into Germany, this woman and a kid come walking and they was crying the blues, you know.Th
ey’re talking in Ukrainian, so I figured I’ll go and see what happened to them. They were sort of afraid to talk, but they final- ly eased up. I told them we’re Canadians, not terrorists. Their clothing was hardly anything, just rags.Th
e kid was just skinny and underfed. They had rags wrapped around their feet in- stead of shoes.Th
ey’d been forced labour on a German farm. Apparently, the farmer found out we were get- ting close and had chased them off the farm. I tried to find out who the farmer was, but the woman wouldn’t say.Didn’t want to get involved. I said to the woman, You don’t have to worry
anymore.You will be fed and clothing will be pro- vided.
was part of the Allied advance into the heart of Germany near war’s end.
“Anyone that didn’t have the fear, they weren’t all there, as far as I was concerned,” he says. “Or maybe I was just too young to realize the danger we were in.” His combat duty came to an end when he was shot in the shoulder by a sniper. “Some kid in a tree got me,” he says.
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