Canadian General Hospital Unit, Queen’s Own Rifles
Born 03/04/18 at Ohswegen, ON. Six Nations Reserve, Cdn. Gen. Hospital Unit. ‘Art’ appears on the “Muster Roll” of the 2nd Bn., Kent Regiment (MG), N.P.A.N. (date unknown) with.
Prior to the war, young John was a railway porter. He married Jean 30 Dec., 1942 in Chatham, ON, just eight months before he was going overseas to England.
He enlisted in the Army 20/07/1942 at Brampton, ON., No. 24 Basic training Centre. After arriving in England he was posted to 1st Bn. Queen’s own Rifles (QOR) in 1943. they were stationed at Aldershot, southwest of London. According to Jean she wrote to her husband often but he seldom wrote back. John appears in the Book “Battle Diary” by CSM. Charlie Martin being in A-Coy. Queen’s Own Rifles as a Rifleman landing on D-Day 6/06/44.
Art was on the first Canadian ship to land on Juno Beach 6 June, 1944 D-Day with able Company QOR. His landing craft hit the beach at Courseulles-sur-mar wher his job was to blowup some barbed wire entanglements. The shelling from the ships was very heavy and that had taken out the obstacle. The unit was to meet at a railroad ditch which he did, however of the 33 men in his platoon only eleven made it. “My buddy Jack Bailey from Galt [now Cambridge] On., was hit and killed, I was lying right beside him.” The survivours moved about 11 km. in land where they rested briefly.
After a brief rest and some food John and two other men snuck out in the dark to stand guard duty. They spent a sleepless night often firing into the darkness when they heard a noise. John said, “We fired from the hip because we couldn’t see to aim.” In the morning when the sergeant major to check on them he found two dead Germans just two meters away.
In September of 1944 Jean would receive the distressing news that John had been injured, the telegram just said that he had been “seriously injured” without any detailsHe would be wounded during the attack on Boulgne, Fr. On 17/09/44. In fact the wound was not serious, a broken bone in his wrist after being struck by a piece of shrapnel. Unfortunately Jean would not learn of this until after the war.
He returned to his regiment in time for the Rhineland campaign. Promoted to Corporal he was wounded a second time during the fighting at Mooshof and again at steeg, Germany.
This time the telegram reported John as “slightly wounded”; in fact he would be out of action for three months after being shot in the back and thigh. The extent of these wounds would not become evident until after the war. In 1952 while playing with his oldest daughter Pam when she “whacked her Daddy on the bum”. The whack drove a piece of lead that had been there since he was wounded; it was driven into to his hip joint causing immediate pain. The explanation John reported was that “The hadn’t X-rayed him during the war during the war so no one knew it was there. The 1952 W-ray also found a piece of shrapnel in his right lung. Because of the position of this fragment of war the doctors said it was safer to leave it alone.
He was discharged “To return to civil life.” At Toronto, ON. 5/02/1946 at the age of 27 yrs. 10 mths. (Record of Service)
After the war Art returned to his hometown of Chatham, ON. He had so much shrapnel remaining in his body he could set off metal detectors at airports. Up until the day of his death pieces of metal would work their way through his skin a painful reminder of his war.
He took up barbering when he returned home and was still barbering four days a week in 1994 at the age of 76 years.
Arthur passed away 21/10/2002.
Afa: J. Maxwell (P) C-K Museum}, CDN 10/11/07 – the Granfather of Bert Alexander, CFF-FD44, IODE(N), CCI-RH, LM-LP, MD-RH, CDN 10/11/07, 11/11/10. 2KRMR
“The Rifleman – Journal of the QOR 2002-03, Macleans magazine 6/06/94., J. Maxwell (P) C-K Museum}, CDN (10/11/07 - the Granfather of Bert Alexander, 10/11/07, 11/11/10), CFF-FD44, IODE(N), CCI-RH, LM-LP, MD-RH, 2KRMR