Amica at Swan Lake
Canadian Army – 5th Division Irish Regiment – Served 3 years
Colin was member of the 5th Division Irish Regiment of Canada in the Canadian Army. Starting out as a Private, Colin finished his 3 years of service as a Lance Corporal.
He started his basic training at the age of 17 in Toronto at the Manning Depot which is now known as the Canadian Exhibition grounds and continued his training further west around Erie, Ontario. Colin also trained on the West Coast and was later sent to Camp Warden.
Colin was first stationed in Aldershot, Nova Scotia before being deployed to Northern Scotland at the age of 18. During his time in Northern Scotland, Colin remembers staying with a Dutch family in the Netherlands for his break, around the same time President Roosevelt passed away. The lady of the house had gone into town one evening returning with news that the war was over. Colin went down to a local office to double check if this were true and will never forget the feeling of knowing the war had come to an end and he would soon return home.
On May 5th, 1945, the heads of the army from all regiments and countries came together to sign the peace accord stating that World War II had ended.
When Colin was released from the Army, he found there was not enough space to take all the soldiers home. He then had to billet with a family in the Netherlands for another year before he could return to Toronto in 1946. A few days into the ship ride home, he discovered his brother was also on the same ship and was able to reconnect with him during the journey home.
Colin recalls both his Belgian and Dutch billet families with such happiness and gratitude for the wonderful people they were and who took him in and treated him like family.