Tuesday, 3 June 2014

WW II - Before and After D-Day

Original post date: 6 Jun 2014

Military Week - 5

Barely out of his teens at age of 20, my father Thomas Ray Edward “Bud” Seale, along with his brother Bill and their best friend James (later their brother-in-law), enlisted in the 16th Field Company at Montreal. After basic training at the camp in Longueuil Bud asked to be transferred to the 1st Bridge Company of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps at Mt Bruno, Qc, because they were the next to be mobilized overseas. He shipped out of Halifax on Nov 13, 1941 and disembarked at Liverpool on Nov 23, 1941. Once in Europe it was training, training, and more training. Driving, motorcycles, weapons, Map reading, officer training… the list goes on, with a few days leave here and there, all through 1942, building bridges in 1943, then more training into 1944, rising to the rank of Sergeant.  This is a pontoon bridge built across the Rhine.

Early in 1944 Bud asked to be transferred to artillery, where he was given more training, and in March 1944 was made a Lieutenant and gun position officer in charge of 35 men.

His friend and fellow officer from Montreal, Charles Lavallee, is in these photos (middle bottom 2) on leave in Neede, Holland. Bud is standing in front of windmill that is near his position. The photo of his gun crew was too small and fuzzy (the photos he had are about 1 ½ inches).

In the early morning of June 6th they got word that troops were landing on the beaches in Normandy. Bud reported to his holding unit and was assigned to the 25th Field Regiment, engaged north of Caen, France. As troop leader he had 4 guns - 25 pounders, and gun tractors with a cab for 6, ammunition carriers, a jeep, a Sergeant, and a crew of 6 including a Corporal.  They supported the Infantry and the Armor with shell fire.

In the winter of 44-45 they were bogged down at the Maas River, and could see the Germans across the river, neither going anywhere. In May 1945 the Germans surrendered. Bud left England in November 1945 and he was put on Active Reserve until he was discharged February 20, 1946. Neither my Dad, his brother nor his friend remembered anything about their homecoming. They had to hash it over with other friends and family and still no one remembered.  He says “Four bloody years fighting for your country and nobody remembers our coming home!” They finally figured out that Dad and Bill arrived at Halifax while Jim was shipped home through New York. 

Bud never talked about the war, just one time he told my mother it was too terrible. Even in is memoirs that he wrote when he was in his 80’s he mostly talked about leave, girls, and touring, with a bit of training mentioned, and what bits I’ve written above. Nothing of the horrors of war.

Bud went to Loyola College taking advantage of the government plan to provide education for veterans. As my parents got up in their 80’s the veterans paid for their house cleaning 2ce monthly, windows 2ce a year, lawn and snow as needed, driver to doctor appointments, living aids, anything they needed.  They still continued giving these services to my mother as the widow of a vet.

Relevant Links:
Canadian Second WW War Dead

Medals and Awards Canada 1812 – 1969

Books of Remembrance Canada

WWII Ranks and Units – Cda, UK, US, et al

USA WWII Records

British WWII medal records

British Military Records

Ireland Military Services

Australia WWII Nominal Rolls

Military New Zealand

Military France

Military Germany

Polish soldiers who served with the British Forces

Internment Camps Canada

USA Internment Camps and Records

WWII Newspaper Articles

British Navy List - 1944

Canadian Army Newsreels (youTube)


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