Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Gerry O'Pray

Gerry O'Pray in Egypt with Miss Canada 1966, Diane Landry from Manitoba. Miss Landry was part of a delegation sent to Egypt to entertain the UN troops stationed there.

My name is Gerry O’Pray. I’m originally from Nova Scotia and now living in Toronto. I joined the military when I was eighteen, and I joined the Royal Canadian Signals. I was sent to Kingston, Ontario where I took my basic training. I was there for a year, taking my basic training and my trades training. After my basic training, which was training as an infantry soldier, I took my trades training, which was as a teletype and safe (cipher) equipment technician. Which probably nobody recognizes now, because I don’t think anybody knows what a teletype machine is now, but that was our means of communication then – or one of our means of communication then. After graduating from my trades training, I had a brief leave at home in Nova Scotia, and was posted to Fredericton, New Brunswick, where I served until 1961.

When I was finished in Fredericton, I was sent to the Congo, which was an on-going United Nations mission, called "United Nations Mission in the Congo." What happened was, in 1960, when the Congo declared independence, the country quickly degenerated into chaos because, the former colonial masters, the Belgians, had not prepared the people for independence at all, and there was nobody to run anything. There were no engineers, there were no doctors, there were no nurses, there were no teachers. So the whole country just fell into chaos, so, the first democratically elected leader of Africa, [Prime Minister] Patrice Lumumba, called the United Nations.

Mainly, what we were doing there was just stabilizing the country so that the country could actually start to work again. And many, many UN civilians were there, as well as the soldiers. The tour of duty there was six months, and I spent four tours there. I was there from 1961 to 1963.

A lot of things happened while I was in the Congo. One of the things I remember was kind of a culture shock for me, as a young man coming from Nova Scotia. There were thirty-four different countries, I think, in that mission in the Congo. It was everybody from Malaysians to Nigerians, to Scandinavians, to Indians and Pakistanis. So – almost the whole world was there, at one time.

It was a huge mission. At one point I think there was about twenty to forty thousand troops there, so that mission to the Congo almost bankrupt the United Nations. It only lasted for four years and I was there for the middle two years.

One of the personal points, while I was there, was we used to take some ribbing from our Irish friends [UN personnel]. They used to come to our canteen from time to time. They were chiding us that, are we still under British rule? Because at the time we were flying the Red Ensign, because the Union Jack of course was on the Red Ensign. It looks almost exactly like the Ontario flag.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

James Robert Murray

MURRAY, Robert James - Bob passed away on August 14, 2017 with dignity and respect. Bob was a part of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals and was a member of the Vimy Band, Air Transport Command Band and CFB Chilliwack Band. After a 30 year career in the military, Bob was involved in developing the LaSalle Seniors’ Band and was a charter member of the LaSalle Causeway Swing Band. He was always ready to play Last Post for other comrades. He recently received a commendation from the city of Kingston for his many years of playing Last Post at the Cross of Sacrifice for Remembrance Day Services. With his trumpet, his services spanned the 1967 Olympics, numerous tours and installation of the “Jimmy” at the Vimy Gate. He is survived by his partner Cori, his son Mark and Daughter Michelle and many grandchildren and great grands. He is predeceased by daughter Monica and son Michael. So many thanks to the fantastic palliative team at Providence Care Hospital. As music was Bob’s life, we welcome friends to come and share memories and music at the Royal Canadian Legion 560, Montreal Street in Kingston on Tuesday, August 29th from 4-6 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Joe’s Musical Instrument Lending Library. In care of GORDON F. TOMPKINS FUNERAL HOME - CENTRAL CHAPEL, 613-546-5454. Sharing Memories online guestbook www.gftompkinscentral.ca13202589

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ken Slater

Clipped from:
SLATER, Ken On December 24, 2007, Ken Slater passed away after a brief struggle with cancer, at the age of 83. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 60 years, Helen; son Bruce, daughter Linda, brother George, nephew Kent and family, nieces Pamela Arnell and family, and Barbara Fortin and family, sister-in-law Florence Euler, and Bijou and Lachance in-laws as well as many friends from skiing, golfing, curling and the Northern Alberta Signals and Communications Association. Cremation has taken place. A Celebration of Ken's Life will be held on Friday, January 4, 2008 at 2:00 p.m., at Evergreen Funeral Chapel, 16204 Fort Road, Edmonton. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, 11560 University Avenue, Edmonton T6G 1Z2.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Samson Young

Major Sampson Young is a first generation Canadian who immigrated to Canada as one of those thousands of refugees from South-East Asia. He is a Signals officer (RCCS) who joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1990 and has been to two peacekeeping missions and two taskings (one in Canada and one at SHAPE (NATO)): 2006 in Bosnia, 2013 in D.R. Congo, 2014 in North West Territories and 2016 in Belgium. He has lived in three countries in three different political systems, from monarchy to communist in Laos, to monarchy in Thailand and now in a democratic system in Canada.

Read more: Link

Monday, May 29, 2017

Wayne Marshall

"I joined the Army in the fall of 1952, and went into a new apprentice soldier programme for boys that were sixteen years old. It was part of the regular Army. I served on continuously from then right up until just before I was fifty-six years old, giving me almost forty years of regular service."

Read more Link

John Slater

"And all I was interested in was, I’m going home. It was a lovely time when I got that message. I thought, oh, thank God. I’m alive. And then, boom, shook the hell out of me."

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Laurence Giselle Bennett

When I enlisted, you chose what you would like to be. You could go into administration; that is stenography and that sort of thing. You could go into signals, RT was radio traffic control, which is what I wanted, different departments and I wanted traffic control but unfortunately, the section was closed when I applied so you had to go through a test and they helped you determine where you should go. And they decided signals would be for me because I guess I had rhythm and I could recognize things of that nature, so that’s why I went into signals, wireless training.

Read more Link

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Marshall Chow

Marshall Chow in Kingston, Ontario

This North Battleford, Saskatchewan native volunteered for service in Europe where he served for 4 years as a wireless operator.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mary Laura Wong

Mary Laura Wong (Mah) enlisted with the CWAC (Canadian Women's Army Corps) in Vancouver, British Columbia where she was employed as a teletype keyboard operator. « View Transcript


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hart Compilation

CTV Montreal: Heroic veteran recalls Dieppe raid | CTV Montreal News

Dieppe veterans recall fateful WWII battle

Dieppe remembered, 70 years later: ‘We reached the beach, all hell broke loose’ - The Globe and Mail

Signaling celebrations and military achievements | Kingston East News

Dieppe hero recounts his role on that fateful day

Canadian and Allied Jews at the Raid on Dieppe
Two Canadian Jews were honored for their part in this battle. Sgt. David Lloyd Hart, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, of Montreal, received the Military Medal at Buckingham Palace in the presence of hie two brothers who are also serving overseas, for his courage and efficiency in maintaining radio operations on the headquarters staff barge while it was under heavy enemy fire.

Canadian Dieppe Raid Veteran says it was supposed to be just another drill.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Alice Elizabeth Wilson (nee Slinger)

I guess I was in Grade 13 when the war broke out and as soon as I finished high school, I joined up. I thought that sounded like the best bet for me. I liked the idea of the naval service.

Well, I enlisted at HMCS York in Toronto, that was the closest one to where - I came from Guelph and that was the closest place. When I decided to go in the navy, I was sent to Saint-Hyacinthe in Quebec for my training in wireless. Well, it was very different. I found it was a very – the camaraderie was very good and also by deciding to take the wireless, I wanted to take something where I could have a course and have extensive training, really. You know, I could have joined as anything and I knew I had decided I wanted to take what would give me the most training.

Well, I went to Coverdale naval station outside of Moncton, New Brunswick. Well, that’s where I practiced my trade of listening for U-boats. Well, we intercepted communications in German U-boats and took bearings on their location and on their transmissions. Their messages only lasted about 30 seconds so you had to be quick to get them.

Oh, well there, well, we had what we called Operations where we worked to begin with and then we were sent out to shacks, they called them shacks. So nobody knew, nobody could see them. We were up high on a hill at Coverdale and then when we were sent out to these shacks to do our work, nobody could see what we were doing, we’d worked all night long. Well, we used to work, well, 12 hour shifts. Actually, our work was top secret, we couldn’t tell anybody what we did. I couldn’t tell anybody at home what I did. I wasn’t allowed to. And in fact, this friend in Guelph sent me a Christmas card and said – I thought she was being facetious that she said, “Don’t sink too many submarines.” So I quickly tore up her letters in case somebody found it because we weren’t to tell anybody what we did and of course, I hadn’t, not even my parents or my brothers and sisters.

Oh well, I was a wireless telegrapher and when the war with Germany was over, I stayed in and I took the – well, the Germans used Morse Code. And so I stayed in and the war with Japan was on so I stayed in for that. And the Japanese code was, we had to do it on typewriters because it was so long, the code, it was the Germans plus a few more characters. So actually, I was in New York on leave when the war with Germany ended and I went there and for two weeks’ holiday.

And we had our very dowdy uniforms, our black stockings and black Oxfords and the Americans had these beautiful all summery outfits, they had like cotton dresses and shoes with pumps and nylons stockings and so they were very much more fashionable than we were.