With tomorrow being Remembrance Day, my thoughts turned to the military history of my family in composing this blog post. I remember hearing my father complain that he was too young to enlist in WW I and too old to enlist by the time of WW II. Instead he and my mother worked in military related industries during WW II. My father worked at Small Arms Limited, Long Branch, Ontario, as late as October of 1943. He was working for Victory Aircraft Limited by December of 1943. My mother worked for Small Arms Limited, Long Branch, Ontario, as a machine operator until 21 December 1942. She left their employ due to pregnancy with my oldest sister.
Alexander Thomas Campbell L64945
I knew that my uncle Alexander Thomas Campbell, my father’s only sibling, joined the Canadian Army because my mother recorded his service number, L64945, in an autograph book and I found a picture of him in uniform among my father’s collection of pictures.
Since my mother and father had already died by the time I wanted to know about Uncle Alex’s army career, I had to approach the National Archives of Canada [now Library and Archives Canada] for information. Unfortunately as a nephew I was not considered immediate family and had to wait for 20 years after his death to get his file. All that was released to me in 1995 was the following information:
Branch of Service: Canadian Army (Active)
Date of Enlistment: 17 February 1942
Date of Discharge: 8 July 1942
I then had to wait until 2008 to find out about his short time in the army. During those years I wondered why? Was it due to his conduct or an injury? Did he actually see service overseas? I must admit that in waiting those extra years I was late in requesting the records and did not receive them until 8 July 2009.
Alexander Thomas Campbell’s Service Records
Uncle Alex enlisted at Regina, Saskatchewan, 17 February 1942. He was placed in 12th District Depot, Canadian Army Active Force, Regina. He was transferred to #4 District Depot, Montreal, Quebec, 19 March 1942. His next assignment was to #3 TTC, Cote des Neiges, Montreal, 15 March 1942. On 11 April 1942 he was admitted to Alexandria Hospital where it was found that he had Scarlet Fever. He was discharged from the hospital 8 May 1942 but the damage was already done. A report by C.C. Brichard MD noted that “this man has suffered either myocardial damage or mitral valvular damage from his recent illness”. Uncle Alex was discharged 8 July 1942 at Regina, Saskatchewan because he was “unable to meet the required military physical standards”.
Uncle Alex did receive a Service Award, World War II (1939-1945) for his attempt to serve Canada overseas. His last act of service was to donate his body to the University of Saskatchewan for the purposes of teaching and research. His remains were buried in an unmarked grave in Woodland Cemetery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Sadly I never got a chance to meet Uncle Alex because he died prior to my first trip to western Canada. “Bad blood” existed between he and my father. After coming east circa 1940, my father had little or no communication passed with Uncle Alex. Dad did not even wish to talk about him.
Remember the Service of our Fallen Soldiers
Rest in peace, Uncle Alex. My heartfelt thanks is extended to all families who lost family members to the ultimate sacrifice on fields of battle for Canada.
Accessing Military Service Files
Should you wish to access World War II files for an ancestor see How to Obtain Copies of Military Service Files.
The Ontario Genealogical Society