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

Gladstone, Sidney

Sidney Gladstone was born July 18, 1925 in Toronto.  He grew up in the city’s old Ward neighbourhood, though he remembers moving around a lot when he was young, and attending many different schools.  Sid’s grandparents had emigrated to Canada at the turn of the century, leaving behind the limitations and pogroms of Poland to

Atkinson, Ken

Ken Atkinson was born April 18, 1925 in Sunderland, England.  His father was a veteran of the Great War who enrolled his son in the Air Cadet Corps between the two wars, and Ken’s father remained part of the Home Guard once the Second World War began, watching the skies for signs of the Luftwaffe. 

Gord, Marvin

Marvin Gord was born December 31, 1920 in Toronto, Ontario.  Marvin grew up with his mother, raised in a secular Jewish family, first in New York and then back home in Toronto.  Marvin delivered papers and worked at a local Loblaw’s, and after he graduated high school he began an apprenticeship to prepare for a

Dodds, Richard

Richard Dodds was born November 22, 1925 in Toronto, Ontario.  He grew up in the city’s west end, where he attended Humber Park Public School and later Humberside Collegiate, where he played sports in all seasons.  His father raised horses – racing was popular in interwar Toronto – so the family was insulated from the

Remembrance Day (Nov. 11)

Today is November 11 – Remembrance Day.  Today we remember all the veterans who have sacrificed for Canada.  We also remember Bob Middleton, who passed away last month.  Originally from Toronto’s east end, Bob was a proud Canadian who served in the RCAF during the Second World War. Bob grew up in the Beaches neighbourhood

Sinclair, Reuben

Reuben Sinclair was born December 5, 1911, and students had the chance to do a zoom interview with him in October 2021, making him the oldest veteran we have interviewed for this project – 109 years old at the time!  Reuben grew up in the small farming community of Lipton, born to Jewish parents who

Standing, Gord

Gord Standing was born June 23, 1921 in Ottawa.  His father was a city fireman, so Gord remembers that the Great Depression was not as difficult for his family as it was for so many others.  He had a typical childhood from the time; Gord played ball and went swimming and cycling and fishing with

Zavitz, Jack

Jack Zavitz was born June 18, 1924 in Windsor, Ontario.  He grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the early part of the war, and when he finished high school he found himself in the RCAF, where he was pegged as a mechanic and trained for ground crew duty.  Jack spent time

Bays, Jim

Jim Bays was born January 20, 1918.  He grew up in the Christie Pitts neighborhood in Toronto, where he attended Central Tech.  Jim grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, so he and his friends made do, playing soccer and softball, and helping their parents where they could.  When the war came, Jim

Adam, Wallace

Wally Adam was born in Winnipeg during the Second World War, where his father was serving in the Army Pay Corps.  He grew up there, and decided to join the RCAF Reserves in his own right when he was in high school. After university, Wally enlisted in the RCAF, serving during the Cold War years. 

Sayers, Pete

Pete Sayers was born January 9, 1933; he grew up on Canada’s west coast, in Nanaimo, British Columbia.  Pete remembers growing up in a time of war, watching the soldiers practice live fire exercises, and he also remembers the internment of Japanese-Canadian neighbours as wartime paranoia grew.  Blackouts and the reality of total war were

Fraser, Bill

Bill Fraser hails from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, where he was born in 1940.  His father and uncles served in the Second World War, and Bill would follow them into the service, albeit in a very different time.  Bill was part of the Canadian Forces during the Cold War;  he joined the RCAF out of

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

Brewster, George

George Brewster was born April 5, 1923.  He grew up in New Brunswick, the son of a Great War veteran who had enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps.  After the war his father worked for the railroad, managing to keep food on the table even during the difficult days of the Great Depression, a time

Lunn, Rae

Rae Lunn was born March 29, 1920, on a farm outside of Edmonton, Alberta.  He grew up during the difficult years of the Great Depression; he remembers that his family was fairly self-sufficient, but he wanted to help, so he left school early to work at another farm.  War clouds were forming in Europe during

Patrick, Ian

Ian Patrick was born January 29, 1938, in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  He and his siblings grew up in the shadow of war, as St. John’s was a busy port city during the Second World War.  His father was a railroad machinist who worked in the dockyards:  his war was spent on the home front, working

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

Taylor, Donald

Donald Taylor was born in Montreal, Quebec on September 8, 1918.  There were three siblings in the family.  During the Great Depression, his parents did not lose their jobs, but they still did not have the money to pay for extras, such as college tuition.  Before the war, Donald liked sports very much, especially hockey. As a junior,

Burke, Michael

Michael Burke was born on January 5th 1921 in Montreal Quebec. As a kid he went to Westmount Academy, and in 1937 he got a degree at McGill University and then a job at the Bank of Montreal. When the war broke out he enlisted in the RCAF and eventually became a ground crew mechanic

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

Olley, George

George Olley was born May 10, 1925 in London, Ontario.  George’s parents divorced when he and his sister were quite young, and for a time George and Rose lived with their father, but work and family proved a difficult combination, and George ended up in an orphanage from age 9-14.  He went to school during

Bentley, Lloyd

Lloyd Bentley grew up in northern Ontario, in Kirkland Lake and Sault Ste Marie, during the Great Depression years; the family was on the move as Lloyd’s father searched for work.  When the war came, Lloyd joined the air force, and he began his training for the RCAF, following the BCATP training scheme from Brandon

Marshall, Margueritte

Margueritte Marshall was born April 20, 1926 in Hamilton, Ontario, the oldest of thirteen children.  The family moved to Niagara Falls, where her father ran a farm and worked at the Carborundum Plant.  Margueritte remembers wanting to be a teacher, but with a family that size and the reality of the Great Depression, she quit

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

Sutton, Gerald

Gerald Sutton was born in Uckfield, Sussex, England on July 23, 1925, and he attended grammar school on a scholarship in the historic county town of Lewes.  While there he watched the Battle of Britain fought overhead in 1940.  With that in mind – and despite the danger of U-boat attacks, his mother brought him

Kennedy, Frank

Frank Kennedy is a WW2 Veteran; he was born in Manitoba in 1923.  He is the 7th son in a family of 9, and he recalls some difficult early years as the family experienced the Great Depression in the Canadian Prairies.  The Dust Bowl swirled around them, and Frank’s father’s business faltered.  When the war came,  Frank and two brothers joined up.  Frank joined the