When I left the last stage of training we were still at Aneroid Sask, and we were really active service, battle dress and all.
The Aneroid stay we felt would soon be over and bigger events were to come. The last few weeks were one of meeting new people joining up and as we were to find out most of them would be our friends and fellow gunners for the next six years, although we thought the war would be over before we were ever in combat. How wrong we were!
Orders came out that we could invite family members to visit the battery on the next Sunday which was the end of August 1940. On the Monday we were told that in the next day or so we would be moving to Indian Head Sask where the 76th Battery was mobilized and this was our sister battery. On the final day tents were taken down and rolled up and stored away. Kits were packed and if I remember rightly, we slept out in the open field so that all we would have to do was have breakfast and catch the train for Indian Head. Morning came and we had our breakfast, marched down to the station and waited for the great adventure. Many had never rode on a train before, so it was waiting full of excitement, and of course letting on how we would write and never forget the friends and girls of Aneroid. The train arrived, and on a hot summer day we were at last seated and on our way. It was a pretty slow train and, some of the fellows were very glum especially some of the married men who had left wives and family, teary eyed on the Aneroid station platform. Joe Schwarek and I were seated together and passed the time wondering what was in store for us, also watching the next station to appear. The rail line went along southern Sask and along the line turned north to Moose Jaw Sask which was a divisional point in the railway. Here the train had a long stop.
Now we had quite a few Moose Jaw gunners whose wives and sweethearts were at the station to say hello and give and take a hug or so. Well, some of the more thirsty fellows who knew the cabbies in Moose Jaw, pooled their money and brought a lot of beer on board the train. I think because of Joe's and my age we did not get into the beer. Well, the run from Moose Jaw to Indian Head was a sort of something out of a drunken comedy. On arriving at Indian Head and getting off the train, Sgt. Magor called us to fall in for the march to the barracks in Indian head. We lined up and Major Jacobs called us to attention. Seven or eight gunners fell flat on their faces out like a light! The booze, not much food, and the extremely hot day caught up and it was a shambles. What a sight! The sister battery and dignitaries were all there to see our arrival. I imagine that impression of the 60th Bty arrival is still stamped in the memory of any citizens of Indian Head that are living this 61 years later.
We marched, some straggled, others were tossed into trucks and taken to the armoury. I think all eventually arrived and passed out. Joe and I not having a drink and both 17and 18 were not too impressed with the older fellows. There even was a couple of broken windows on the train. I do not think any one was charged with being drunk but it was only because we had a fair-minded Major Jacobs.
[ Jumping ahead, I was the sgt. major who six years later brought the Bty home after the war. I will leave that until the final episode. It was a sober arrival ].
The next will be the time spent in Indian Head, Promotions and the combining of the two batteries into one. This should get more interesting.
all the best Gordie .,,,,