November 12, 2012 Features & Images » Feature Story

Lest we forget 

click to flip through (5) Roy Buchholz (right) with a friend at Trafalgar Square, London, U.K. during his service in WW II.
  • Roy Buchholz (right) with a friend at Trafalgar Square, London, U.K. during his service in WW II.

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In 1943, Norm Hart and his brother Ray voluntarily enlisted in the Canadian Army — their enlistment date was Jan. 21, 1943. My dad also told us how he and Ray left the family home in Bralorne, B.C. to enlist. They went to Little Mountain in Vancouver for some initial training and to be fitted for uniforms then at some point they took the train to Montreal and went by ship to Europe.

He was now a member of the Royal Rifles of Canada.

Communication during the war was sparse, until the first telegraph from the Canadian government arrived at my grandparent's home in April 1945.

"To Mrs. Annie Hart, April 14, 1945. Sincerley regret to inform you K9148, Pte. Norm Hart has officially been reported as wounded in action 10th April 1945, Nature and extent of wound not yet available STOP ....when further information becomes available it will be forwarded as soon as received STOP to prevent aid to our enemies do not divulge name of casualty or name of unit. From, Director of Records."

That was it, all the information they received until the next telegraph.

"To Mrs. Ann Hart, April 27, 1945. K9148 Pte. Norm Hart previous reported wounded in action nature of wound now reported. Bullet wound through and through right thigh, STOP No further information will be forthcoming unless the patient's condition considered serious or dangerous by Medical Authorities. Director of Records."

I will presume due to the volume of these telegraphs being put out by the government that the details had to be kept minimal, as a parent myself I cannot imagined what went through my grandparent's minds in those times.

The first story our dad opened up to us about was the injury.

"It was a beautiful sunny morning," he told us. "We were sent out on lookout. We were all lying in the ditches when the breakfast bell rang for us to come in to eat. As we were walking in an enemy plane flew overhead — shooting at us. I was shot in the leg from a piece of the shrapnel. The next thing I knew I was riding in the back of a jeep, on a stretcher. It was pitch black and I had no idea where I was, or where I was going! I woke up in a hospital where I stayed for a few weeks." The hospital, he also mentioned, was a converted resort sitting on the shore of the Mediterranean, the name and location, he could not remember.

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