Wednesday | December 13, 2017

Douglas Brooks was born in 1921 in Toronto, the middle child out of all his four brothers.  Douglas is currently 92 years of age.  He grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression.  Like many men, the reason Douglas joined the army was simply because there was no work; also all his friends and brothers were joining the Army.  Douglas joined the army in 1939; at the time he was 19.  He became part of the Royal Regiment of Canada.  Douglas’ journey to get to d Dieppe took him to Iceland and England first, where he awaited further orders and prepared for the raid on Dieppe.   During that time, he also was in London during the Battle of Britain.  After the disastrous Dieppe raid, where Douglas was lucky not to be wounded, he became a prisoner of war for three years.  Douglas’ prison camp was liberated in 1945 and he left the army, ready to begin a new life in Canada.

Douglas was interviewed for this project in his room at Sunnybrook in February 2014 by Crestwood students Gabe Lantos, Luca Lettieri and Aidan Reilly.

April 6th, 2014

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John Hishon and his mother lived in the Yonge & Bloor area of Toronto, where his Mom worked extremely hard to make a living during the Great Depression..  When the war broke out, John trained on the Canadian Exhibition grounds, where at first they did not have any equipment and were laughed at.  He eventually was shipped to England, where he saw firsthand the Battle of Britain.  His squadron was wiped out at Dieppe, but John was lucky to escape this tragic event because he was injured at the time.  He was sent to France after D-Day and was involved  in the attack on Caen on the fourth of July, 1944.  He advanced with the Canadian army in northwestern Europe, through belgium and Netherlands, through to VE Day.  We met Mr. Hishon at the Sunnybrook Veterans’ Wing in November 2013, where he was interviewed by Steven Feng and Hunter Kell.

January 3rd, 2014

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Ron Beal enlisted because he was part of the regiment already as a bugler and it was expected of him. After training and the overseas journey and several months of waiting, , he was sent to Dieppe. Ron’s division was given the task of clearing the field battery that had a firing position on the beach The training received and resources allowed to the mission were not enough and the Canadians suffered a horrendous defeat. Ron and his comrades surrendered after their officers decided that more bloodshed was useless. Ron was taken to Lamsdorf, Germany and placed in Stalag VIIIB. Boredom was very present for prisoners in POW camps: they constantly thought up with creative ways as to how to keep themselves busy. After prisoners were liberated some celebrated but most were too weak to move and were transported to Britain for care. Ron was put into the hospital with all the other injured soldiers while he was regaining his strength and planning his return to Canada.

Ron presently lives in the Suynnybrook Veterans’ Wing, where we were privileged to visit him in November 2011. Students Richard Laramie and Duncan Gilfillan interviewed Ron for this project.

July 9th, 2012

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