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

Halpenny, Francess

Francess Halpenny hails from eastern Ontario, where she grew up in the 20s and 30s.  The family relocated to the Toronto area early on, and it was there that the young Francess fell in love with books, as she made her way through the Great Depression and built upon her education, which would take her

Preece, John

John Preece was born October 19, 1926 in Toronto’s Queen-Bathurst neighbourhood.  John’s early life was not easy, largely because of family circumstances.  His mother had emigrated from Scotland, and – alone in Toronto – she fell into a relationship with a married man and turned to alcohol.  John does not have many positive memories of

Skolnick, Irene

Irene Solnick was born August 22, 1937 in Przemyśl, Poland.  Her name at birth was Ruth, but Irene was the Christian name she was given in wartime Poland – to help her to survive the Shoah.  She was raised in a mixed Jewish family, where her grandfather and father were Orthodox, Yiddish-speaking successful merchants, while

Snow, William

Bill Snow was born September 13, 1922 in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland.  He grew up in that small community alongside his five sisters.  Bill recalls that his father was a fisherman – but that he did many other jobs in the off season.  Bill went to school but left in Grade 8:  work was available and

Cooke, Kenneth

Kenneth Cooke was born August 8,1925 in East Kirkby, Nottinghamshire, a coal mining district.  He indicated that he had a rough early life growing up:   there was a general strike, and there was no income.  He attended school at age 5 and completed his education at age 14, and then had to find employment. 

Cosgrove, Stephen

Stephen Cosgrove was born June 5, 1926 in Liverpool, England.  He was 13 when the war began, and he remembers the schools shutting down in the early days of the war:  there were fears of a German attack, and authorities did not want a school to get hit.  Stephen remembers classrooms set up in people’s

Corbett, Raymond

Raymond Corbett was born September 3, 1934 in Bass River, Nova Scotia.  He grew up in that small community against the backdrop of the Second World War, where he attended school and church and did all the things that were normal in small town Canada at the time.  Ray left school in Grade 10, and

Leuchter, Kurt

Kurt Leuchter was born February 6, 1929 in Vienna, Austria.  He grew up there in the 1930s and remembers well the dark days of the Anschluss, when the Nazis marched in.  Restrictions began to set in, and then the real brutality was unleashed during Kristallnacht.  Kurt recalls seeing the synagogue burned, and remembers his father

Loeb, Edith

Edith Loeb was born December 31, 1927 in Bruchsal, Germany, not too far from the border with France.  From her accounts and memories, Edith was living a good life; her father had a store, and she and her brother went to school and the family was doing well.  As the 1930s and the Nazi ideology

Foy, John

John Foy was born October 12, 1925 in Rochester, New York.  He grew up there against the backdrop of the Great Depression, in a large family of ten children where four of the brothers would serve during the war.  In the 30s John went  to school and did all the normal things for a teenager

Chouinard, Robert

Robert “Boots” Chouinard was born December 21, 1923 in Newburyport, Massachusetts.  He was the youngest of 8 children.  His father was employed in a paper mill and as a barber.  Robert attended various schools, including Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia, where he played football on a scholarship.  He said that he went from being

Balabanow, Bill

Bill Balabanow was born February 17, 1926 in the little town of Blue Ridge Summit in southern Pennsylvania, though the family moved to Lancaster in 1931, and that is where he spent most of his childhood.  Bill’s parents divorced when he was an infant, so his parental and family memories come mainly from his mother’s

Pouder, George

George Pouder was born February 18, 1923 in New York City.  He grew up in the Bronx during the difficult times of the Great Depression, a period that impacted his family and the neighborhood.  George recalls that the quality of his schooling varied,  but that he took full advantage of the city, exploring it with

Kersh, Mervyn

Mervyn Kersh was born December 20, 1924 in South London. He grew up with two older siblings in a middle class Jewish family in the neighbourhood of Brixton; he experienced significant anti-Semitism at school, until his parents moved him to a Jewish school. They also enrolled him in the Jewish Lads’ Brigade, and Mervyn too

O’Leary, Gerry

Gerry O’Leary was born December 3, 1924 in Tottenham, Ontario.  He grew up on a farm there, one of ten children, doing chores such as milking the cows and spreading manure.  When the time for war came, both Gerry and his older brother joined up, and they were on their way overseas in 1944.  Gerry

Cottrell, Edwin

Edwin Cottrell was born January 17, 1922 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  His parents moved to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania the next year though, and that is where he grew up.  Edwin remembers a good childhood – and one where he played all kinds of sports.  His father – a Great War veteran –  worked at the

King, Wallace

Wally King was born October 31, 1923 in Cortland, Ohio.  He grew up in that rural part of the Buckeye state, not too far from the Pennsylvania border.  Wally recalls a pretty normal childhood, growing up against the backdrop of the 1920s and the Great Depression 1930s.  His father had two sons from his first

Doduck, Marie

Marie Doduck was born May 10, 1935 in Brussels, Belgium.  She was a young child when the war began, but given the intensity of her experiences, she remembers those early days well.  She grew up in a large Jewish family in Brussels, one that had a long history in Poland.  When the war came the

Goss, Warren

Warren Goss was born February 9, 1925 in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, where he grew up in a large farm family.  He grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, working around the farm and delivering papers and being a Boy Scout.  When the attack on Pearl Harbor happened, Warren recalls selling many newspapers – and

Quddus, Marguerite

Marguerite Quddus was born December 4, 1936 in Paris, France.  Her parents had fled Russia at the time of the revolution in order to escape the pogroms that were devastating Russian Jews.  Her grandfather, Rabbi Shlomo Eliashev, was a well known kabbalist, and he made his way to Palestine with some family members, while Marguerite’s

Byrne, Jack

Jack Byrne was born March 13, 1925 in Sydney, Nova Scotia.  His parents had to come to Canada – from Newfoundland – just before his birth.  Jack grew up in the Whitney Pier area of Sydney, and he remembers it fondly.  When he saw footage of the Russo-Finnish Winter War, he was motivated to join

Mockers, Michel

Michel Mockers was born December 17, 1922 in Nantes, in the northwest of France.  His father was a successful director of casinos, both in Nantes and Cannes, so Michel had a positive childhood.  He attended school at the Abbaye de Calcat, where he received an excellent education, and as a teenager he was even learning

Cassidy, Clyde

Clyde Cassidy was born January 31, 1925 in Barton, Vermont, not too far from where he lives today.  He grew up against the backdrop of the Depression, but as his father had steady work with the railroad conditions were not too bad for the family.  Clyde was in high school when the attack on Pearl

Armitage, Roly

Roly Armitage was born February 8, 1925 in South March, Ontario, in the Ottawa area.  He was raised on a farm, with many brothers and sisters.  Roly’s father was a veteran of the Great War who saw action at Ypres:  he was gassed and while being treated in England he met a young Red Cross

Curtis, Des

Des Curtis was born July 16, 1923 in Caterham, England.  He was born in the Guards’ Depot there, as his father was a member of the Irish Guards, one of the foot guards for the monarchy.  Des’s father also happened to be a Great War veteran who served in the trenches and the major campaigns

Heller, Danny

Danny Heller was born June 16, 1925 in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan.  He grew up on a farm, working hard and helping out the family during the Great Depression.  Danny also attended the local school, and made the most of life in a small town.  Danny’s parents were of German descent and had emigrated from the

Forbes, Harry

Harry Forbes was born April 11, 1918 in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan.  Harry grew up on a farm, the oldest of 11 children.  He remembers the 1920s as being a dry decade where farming became increasingly difficult, topped off by the crash and Great Depression.  Harry in fact had to quit school when he was 15

Patterson, Hugh

Hugh Patterson was born December 30, 1921 in Seneca Township, just outside Caledonia, Ontario.  He grew up on a farm:  there was plenty of food as Hugh remembers, but money was tight in the days of the Great Depression.  Hugh worked on the farm when he was young, but as he put it “milking those

Allen, Ernie

Ernie Allen was born January 14, 1922 in Heaton Park, in Manchester, England.  His father served in the Royal Artillery during the Great War, and his mother worked in the cotton mills of Manchester.  Ernie went to school and did all the normal things a boy would do in 1930s Britain; when he completed school