“The white and glistening snow that has freshly fallen seems to be an omen reflecting the purity of our hearts and the purpose of aims. We who have given and offered out lives for a just cause and have again and would again now, pause to pay our homage and tribute to those who have the same ideals as we have and have shown what they, like us, are ready to offer their lives and youth to maintain the right of free men and man’s right to freedom.
A Service was held in the Recreation Hall and the Corps was represented in the Parade and Service held in Medicine Hat. Our indefatigable Padre officiating at both Services. The Sergeants Mess gave a dinner to which were invited Col. Ellwood and the Company Commanders, the Padre, Administrative Officers and Medical Officer. It is reliably reported that it was a dinner that only the Sergeants Mess know how to make successful.”
– War Diary of Internment Camp 132 – Medicine Hat, Alberta
November 11, 1944.
While most November 11 war diary entries from the Veterans’ Guard of Canada mention attending a Remembrance Day service, this one stood out. The men of the Veterans’ Guard continue to amaze me for, as the entry above suggests, this was their second war. Despite their experiences in the First World War, some 10,000 of the veterans re-enlisted after war broke out in 1939. Although they may not have been on the front lines, these men did their duty with pride.
Lest We Forget.
Well after a lengthy break, I am back at it. I’ve added a new page to the website dedicated to the Veterans Guard of Canada. This is the start of what I hope to be a larger section that will provide more information about the Veterans Guard and its members while also providing some resources for those interested in learning more.
The Veterans Guard of Canada was formed in May 1940 in response to the threat of foreign invasion. The unit consisted primarily of First World War veterans who were deemed too old for overseas service so they were instead placed in charge of maintaining security and discipline at internment camps in Canada. To learn more, click on the link at the top of the page or click here!
Lastly, while the Veterans Guard members were supposed to be under fifty years of age, this wasn’t always the case. Eager to enlist, veterans frequently lied about their age so that they could “do their bit.” As this newspaper article from the Winnipeg Tribune suggests, men of all ages tried to enlist!
I apologize if this is old news, but I was just made aware that Library and Archives Canada finished digitized their “ZK” prefixed photos. Taken between WWII and the mid-1960s, the collection includes over 3,600 colour images of the Canadian Army. More information on the collection is available here and a finding aid is also online.
There’s a lot of images to go through but I did manage to find, among others, some relevant to my research.
One of a series of photos of two members of the Veterans’ Guard of Canada posing for photos. The Veterans’ Guard was primarily composed of WWI Veterans who acted as a “Home Defence” force and guarded PoW camps across the country.
One of a series of photos of German soldiers captured during the Normandy Invasion. Quite possible that some, if not most, of these men ended up in Canada for a couple years. You can find the story of one of these PoWs, Richard Beranek, who ended up in a lumber camp in Manitoba here.