O’Henly, John

John O’Henly was born March 15, 1923, and he grew up in the east end of Toronto.  He attended RH MacGregor Public School, and after one year at East York, he opted to go to Danforth Tech, as he was interested in their art course.  He spent much of his spare time with his friends

Morgan, William

Bill Morgan was born April 23, 1925 in Consett, England, a small city on the east coast, not too far from Newcastle.  Bill’s mother passed away when he was just five, and at that time he moved in with his grandparents and aunts, and his father’s role in his life diminished.  Bill grew up an

Kelley, Travis

Major Travis Kelley had a family background in the military, so he was interested at a young age.  He studied Engineering at the University of Waterloo and joined the Army Reserves when he was finishing his undergrad.  He then did basic training at the Wolseley Barracks and completed other training as a Combat Engineer in

Smith, Tyler

Tyler Smith was born in Calgary, Alberta, a city that had a very deep tradition for the navy, in spite of its inland location.  One of the first steps he took in order to achieve his goal of joining the military was to join the sea cadets, a program that the navy sets up in

Lister, Jim

Jim Lister was born January 5, 1928 in Toronto.  He grew up in the tough days of the Great Depression and well remembers that the family lost their home.  He also remembers exploring the Don Valley, and how different a city Toronto was at the time.  Jim had older brothers and two of them enlisted

Mezei, Leslie

Leslie Mezei was born in 1931 in Hungary in a little town called Gödöllő. He had a good relationship with his mother and father. His father was an officer in the Hungarian army, and a lawyer. Leslie lived in a small house and had a tough childhood with some anti-Semitism appearing in his neighborhood and

Collins, Ann

Ann Collins was born November 27,1925 in Nottingham, England. She was only 13 when WWII broke out; it ended her schooling, and sent her to work, and forced her to endure the Blitz and everything else associated with the war. Ann joined the ATS when she was 17; she expressed that her time in the British

Nash, Georgine

Georgine Nash was born in Hungary on June 16,1937.  She grew up during the war, and as was the case with most Hungarian Jews, she enjoyed a distance from the terrible conflict, and the from the terrible Shoah that was commencing in the neighbouring countries.  Georgine remembers her father being taken away to a labour

Otterman, Bob and Shirley

Robert Otterman was born January 24, 1925, outside Fisherville, Ontario, where he grew up on the family farm.  When the war came, Robert recalls that he did not want to be a soldier; his village was largely German-Canadian, and while the locals disliked what Hitler and Nazism represented, they did not want to fight their

McKay, Howard

Howard was born in the Scotch settlement of Bradford on July 11th 1923, his English and Scottish ancestors settled there long before.  Growing up on a farm meant that Howard and his family were self sufficient and were able to provide for themselves; slaughtering animals for food was not uncommon on the farm.  Howard’s uncle was also a World War 1 Veteran decorated

White, Rod

Rod White was born in Trenton, Ontario in 1925. Rod’s father died when he was only four, and some of his early memories are of his mother struggling to raise her seven children in difficult economic times. Rod was a sickly child, suffering from bouts of tuberculosis and jaundice; combined with wearing glasses from an

Rees, Frank

Frank Rees is from Toronto.  He grew up in the city’s east end, against the backdrop of the Great Depression.  He attended Danforth Tech and served in the reserve army during the early part of the war.  When the time came for him to join up, Frank chose the RCAF – he remembers that it

Cash, Norm

Norman Cash was born January 1, 1920 in Russia, in the city of Odessa.  When he was one year old his family made the decision to emigrate as the anti-Semitic violence associated with the pogroms was intensifying in the wake of the Great War, where Norm’s father had been a veteran.  The family settled in

Gallant, Alyre

Alyre Gallant was born December 23, 1923, in Piusville, Prince Edward Island.  He grew up during the time of the Depression, and when his father died when he was quite young, Alyre left school and began working on the family farm.  And that was the theme for the rest of the decade and into the

Swirski, Walter

Walter Swirski was born in Poland on May 7, 1922.  His family lived in a small village, where they were prosperous farmers; Walter’s father owned a share in a flour mill, and had been an officer in the Soviet-Polish war.  Walter had one brother and was going to school when the Second World War broke

Parks, Jim

Jim Parks was born September 22, 1924, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  He grew up there during the hard days of the Great Depression, making money anywhere he could, selling magazines and blocks of ice.  When the war came along, Jim was in high school, and he remembers learning about the war in history class. He joined

Gower, Harry

Harry Gower was born in Toronto in 1922.  He grew up in the city’s west end, where he attended Western Tech.  With the death of his father and the coming of the Great Depression, Harry had to leave high school after one year, and he took a job at Eaton’s, where he operated the elevator

Hirschl, Helena

Helena Hirschl (nee Beinhacker) was born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in 1928.  An only child, she grew up in a well-to-do assimilated family, and her father was in the construction business.  Helena remembers the prewar period in largely positive terms.  She was unaware of the hatred bubbling beneath the surface; she had friends and liked school,

Lucas, Alison

Alison Lucas was born in Ottawa to parents that moved around frequently, since her father was in the Air Force.  Her mother was an Emergency Room nurse who took a “break” to manage the 3 kids and all the moves.  By the time she was in high school, she had moved 8 times, but was

Magan, Aaron

Col. Aaron Magan joined the American Army in 1991, following his undergraduate ROTC at Western Kentucky University.  He went into the Army Corps of Engineers and soon found himself rising through the ranks.  He attended a series of schools and courses in the American military, all the while furthering his training.  They included: the Ranger

Hodgins, Richard

Richard Hodgins was born in Toronto in 1919.  He grew up in the city’s east end, in the Danforth and Jones neighbourhood.  He has been a hockey fan his whole life, and many of his prewar memories centred on the Toronto St. Pats and the Mutual Street Arena, and then the Leafs at the Gardens,

Zaidman, Mina

Mina Zaidman was born in Miedzyrzec, Poland, in 1934.   She lived in a small house with her parents and younger brother.  She was only 4 ½ when the war broke out and does not really remember much about life before that.  Before Germany invaded Miedzyrzec, the Russian army occupied the city as part of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact settlement.  When the

Moore, Dalton

Dalton Moore was born in the hamlet of Horning’s Mills in 1931; when he was four the family moved to Toronto – right in the midst of the Great Depression. Dalton’s early years happened against that economic backdrop, as well as the subsequent war. When World War Two came along, Dalton’s older brothers went off

Lamantia, Larry

Larry Lamantia was born in Toronto, growing up in the city’s east end in the Pape-Danforth neighbourhood. His father ran a grocery market, and Larry grew up in the care of his grandmother, as his mother died when Larry was only five. The family experienced some of the anti-Italian backlash that spread through Toronto at

McIlroy, Frances

Frances McIlroy was born on June 16th, 1917, in Madoc Ontario.  She is the eldest of one brother and one sister.  She went to school in Madoc; later on she went to Kingston General Hospital to train as a nurse.  From there she became an army nurse.  Frances went overseas in June 1944, right as

Kerr, Helen

Born in Saskatchewan on August 2, 1919, Helen Louise Kerr was a former nurse who served in WWII. She is currently 99, and lives in Toronto. As a child, she lived on a farm with her family members, including six siblings, four of whom would serve in the war. Her mother was a teacher and

Williams, Don

Don Williams served in the Canadian army during the Korean War.  He grew up against the backdrop of the Second World War, experiencing the ups-and-downs alongside fellow Canadians during that changing time.  As the Cold War escalated, he enlisted for his own war, and with basic training he was assigned to the PPCLI, designated as

Peon, Bill

Bill Peon served in the Canadian army during the Second World War.  He was born in Toronto, where he grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression.  With the coming of the war, he enlisted, and with basic training he was assigned to the Service Corps, designated as a truck driver.  He spent additional

Jones, Robert “Bud”

Robert “Bud” Jones was born in the St-Henri District of Montreal, and educated in the school districts of St. Henri, Montreal and Verdun , Quebec. Bud Jones is a decorated career soldier of 30 yrs, and a veteran of WWII who also served in Korea. He grew up in Depression-era Montreal, where Bud remembers his

Zweig, Seymour

Seymour Zweig was born in 1921 in Lodz, Poland. After the Nazis invaded, Zweig was forced to flee to Russia, where he spent the remainder of the war. In Russia, he joined the army and did war work in an aluminum factory, where he even worked alongside German prisoners of war. After the war, Zweig