Oral History Project – Don White

Mr. Hawkins and Mr. Masters’ Grade 10 History students are meeting with World War 2 veterans every Sunday over Zoom, as part of their studies of this important period of Canadian and world history.  It’s a fantastic opportunity for students to meet and interact with the men and women of this generation! Last week we met

Fairbrook, Paul

Paul Fairbrook was born into a Jewish family on August 21, 1923 in Berlin, Germany.  His first ten years were spent in that country, but his father saw the writing on the wall and made arrangements for his young family to get out in 1932.  First they made their way to France, and then to

Novak, Joseph

Joe Novak was born September 10, 1923 in Montreal, into a Polish family in the city’s Frontenac neighborhood. Both of Joe’s parents were teachers, though his father later worked for Canada Customs. Joe’s father passed away in 1934, and times were difficult for the family as the Great Depression wore on. Joe did manage to

Herschel, Tswi

Tswi Herschel was born December 29, 1942 in Zwolle, a small town in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. In January 1943, the family was forced to leave Zwolle and moved to the Jewish ghetto in Amsterdam, where Tswi’s father contacted non-Jewish Dutch friends and asked them to help his newborn son. In March 1943, a Protestant Dutch

CPC Oral History Project – Nursing Week

Nursing Week is the annual celebration of this critical profession.  It is held every May to coincide with the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.  This year more than ever we have to be aware of the critical role these health care providers play in Canadian society, as has been true through

Card, Albert

Albert Card was born March 12, 1924 in Hastings, England.  He grew up there in a big family, and Bert remembers they did well even during the Depression, because of his father’s food allotment.  Life in Hastings was good:  Bert grew up on the beach, going to school, playing sports – all the normal things. 

CPC Oral History Project (Mar. 5)

Over the past two weekends the Crestwood Oral History Project has continued its Sunday sessions, introducing students to members of the wartime generation.  On Sunday, February 21 and again Sunday, February 28, we did zoom sessions with Holocaust survivors in Israel, and each time Mr. Masters and Mr. Hawkins welcomed approximately 20 students to listen

Lett, Ken

Kenneth Lett was born July 13, 1923 in Carp, Ontario, a small farming village to the west of Ottawa.  He worked the land and would go to the Byward Market with his mother when he wasn’t playing hockey or attending school.  When the war came, Ken and his brother opted for the RCAF.  Ken went

Zwaagstra, George

George Zwaagstra was born August 9, 1933, in Friesland, a northern and low-lying province in the Netherlands.  George grew up in this largely agricultural area, and when the Second World War was about to begin, George was just starting school.  When the Germans did invade, the Dutch surrendered after five days of fighting, and the

Stafford, Ed

Ed Stafford was born in Toronto on January 31, 1921.  He grew up in the city’s west end, during the Great Depression.  Ed attended school until Grade 10, when he decided to apprentice as a tool and die maker at GE.  When the war came along, one of Ed’s friends joined the Governor General’s Horse

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

van Dyk, Jerry

Jerry van Dyk was born Sept. 13, 1933 in the Netherlands, in the northern province of Friesland.  Jerry saw the beginning of the German when the planes of the Luftwaffe flew overhead on their way to bomb Rotterdam in 1940, and he witnessed the German occupation of his country from 1940-44. His family lived in

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

White, Don

Don White was born in Oshawa, Ontario on August 9, 1924.  He grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, attending school in Oshawa and then enlisting after Grade 12.  He had joined the militia at the age of 16, and at 18 he joined the regular forces, and was quickly sent out to

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

Summersides, Jim

Jim Summersides was born in Welland, Ontario, and grew up with his mother, father and siblings. When the war broke out, Jim decided to join his classmates and enlist in the infantry. He became a part of the Canadian 48th Highlanders and was then shipped overseas to England. Having arrived in England, he was then

Crawford, Stuart

Stuart Crawford was born on March 2, 1922, in Kingston, Ontario.  He had three brothers, and the boys all grew up playing sports and musical instruments, and they shared the same Kingston Whig Standard paper route, passed from one brother to the next.  Stuart’s family was very close, and with his parents’ sacrifices they made

Tuns, Adrien

Adrien Tuns was born on June 11, 1944, in Holland. He has 3 siblings, including 2 older sibling that were born in the Netherlands, and a younger brother who was born in Canada. At age 8 his family emigrated from a little island village in the Netherlands to Canada. His older sister Ann was born in Holland,

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

Stohn, John

John Stohn originally came from the U.S., but he moved to Canada at a young age, when his father’s work led the family to Granby, Quebec.  The family did well there, and they were largely insulated from the devastating impacts of the Great Depression.  John remembers his youth with some fondness, and that it prepared

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

White, Tom

Born in 1926, Tom White grew up in Toronto against the backdrop of the Great Depression.  He remembers his mother’s recipes from that time period, and the afternoons spent at Saturday matinees.  He also remembers his schooling, and the lessons from an Oakwood Collegiate geography teacher that were imparted to students who thought they’d soon

Warford, Jim

Jim Warford was in the Canadian army during World War Two. Born in England in 1922, Jim grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, against the backdrop of the Great Depression, attending school and very active in sports. Jim and a friend joined the militia before the war, knowing that war was on the way. When his

Gogo, Norman

Norm Gogo grew up in Toronto and Michigan, as the family moved when his father was transferred and began work in the Motor City. But the good economic times did not last, and as the Depression worsened the family returned to Canada along Hwy. 5. Back in Toronto Norm went to school in the city’s

Chartre, Bob

Bob Chartre grew up in prewar Quebec, one son in a very large family. He remembers well the difficulties of the Great Depression, and even recalls that his father was happy when he and two of his brothers were called up for the war as that meant fewer mouths to feed! When Bob went into

Preston, Harry

Harry Preston served in the Canadian army during World War Two.  He grew up in western Canada, in and around Winnipeg, where Harry and his family experienced the realities of the Depression.  Harry kept himself busy though, and with friends, he got involved in the militia and the Sea Cadets, where he was able to

Field, Richard

Richard Field served in Canada’s 2nd Division during World War Two. He grew up in Toronto during the Depression years, where he was able to finish school and join the prewar militia and sea cadets, two organizations that would teach him many valuable lessons in the upcoming war years. When Richard moved into the regular

Pike, Herb

Herb Pike is a Canadian veteran of the Second World War, and a proud member of the 48th Highlanders.  Herb grew up in prewar Toronto, where he remembers living a relatively good life, even against the backdrop of the Great Depression.  When in Toronto, Herb attended Bowmore Road Public School, and then Central Tech; he