As fall came upon us, I had a leave granted as I had been selected for officer training and would soon proceed overseas. The family were all glad to see me and I them. Here memory fails me whether Louise the girl I thought great gave me the bounce, so I did not spend any time around Aneroid where she lived, but did drop by to say a brief hello to Ida that I had been not too kind to the past leave saying all was over. It served me right as I was trying to keep both girls on the string. I did drop in and see a school teacher that had taught me in the early thirties, a Kathleen Whittington. She had a sister, Hazel, a nursing sister in the army. Hazel survived the war, and I believe had wounds from a shell fragment. Both Hazel and Kathleen passed away a number of years go. The rest of my leave I spent with the family.
George, my oldest brother, had purchased some shotgun shell that he thought I would use for duck hunting when I came home. Well one day two or three coyotes appeared quite close so I grabbed the shotgun and George started the Model A Ford car and we proceeded to chase these coyotes. I was on the fender firing at them lying partially across the hood of the car sort of almost obscuring Georges vision. The up-shot was the coyotes were maybe a bit frightened but suffered no harm and I had quite a ride and shoot.
It came time to leave and this time I knew I was going overseas soon. George had been taking some army courses at Dundurn and Nanaimo while in the reserve , and decided to go active force with the starting rank of Sergeant, and was posted either to Dundurn or to the infantry training at Prince Albert Sask. where he would wear he insignia of the SLI, Saskatoon Light Infantry, a machine gun battalion that was now overseas with First Division. Dad also said he was joining up and would join 28 Company Veterans Guard Of Canada. So there was the three of us leaving the farm house the same day and together. I can still see my mother waving to we three until we were out of sight. My Mum was the greatest! She never saw us away with great tears, those she kept to herself and she sent us off with a smile. After seeing us out of sight, she would tackle a large washing and thus get on with life. This now left Marjorie who was 15, Donald11, and Arnold not yet 6, so Mum was a busy person. I should write the book about her.
Dad, George, and I arrived in Swift Current to catch the trains. George left right away to Dundurn, and Dad and I were to catch different trains the next morning early, Dad to Moose Jaw, and I on to Petawawa. While overnight in Swift Current, I looked up a school friend Lucienne. She was going to school at a catholic convent and the nuns were very strict ,so Lucienne could not go to the show with me. Another girl, Alice, was going to the school but did not live in the convent so Alice and I went to the show.
Jumping ahead I saw Alice once in Vancouver after the war. [ She had quite a life and was rescued off the street by her family and spent the rest of her life almost a recluse. She has passed away ]. Lucienne is still living and farmed for 70 years, now retired.
The train ride east was eventful, as at Winnipeg we stopped near a west bound train and here were our regimental buddies going on leave. They shouted that they were on embarkation leave and the regiment was going overseas. Here I thought I would beat them over but this was cancelled and I was to stay and go with the regiment.
Arriving back at Petawawa everything was getting prepared for the overseas move. All the men had to get leave and return, extra tetnus shots were given, and all training to be completed. Then those that did not want to go overseas somehow were able to be posted to base mess orderliess, some to training areas, some of the older and not so fit given medical discharges. The rest of us that were gungho to go took on the task of bringing the new members that replaced the departing ones up to speed so to speak. It was a time of great anticipation. Leaves all over all men returned [ maybe there were a few who deserted but it may have been only a couple ].
It is now October and the advance party left under command of Major McNeill. They sailed on the HMT Orangi. The rest of the regiment was inspected and all loaded to go when the move was cancelled. We did leave Petawawa on 8th November, and boarded the HMT Oronsay for overseas.
The adventure, if you like to call it, had really just begun ..........