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Voices of the Past
MILITARY SERVICE

Recorded stories relating to war and military service and training

Celebrating the military service of men and women in times of war and peace.

Provided by the Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS) - preserving family histories in Greater Victoria, BC, Canada


ALBERT HARWOOD - Speed Buggy versus Tiger Tank

TIMEFRAME ~ 1940s
LOCATION ~ Belgium, Holland
DURATION ~ 08:43 minutes

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to listen to the audio clip.

Prince Philip talks to Police Officer Albert Harwood about his war medals
during his visit to Victoria BC - 1982
(click on photo to enlarge in another window)

Albert Harwood, an original member of the WWII Assault Troop called the Commonwealth Force, recalls some war time experiences including his 'run in' with a German Tiger tank. Albert explains that, when the 8th New Brunswick tank outfit ran out of petrol and were cut off behind German lines, the job of delivering them the gas fell to Albert and his little reconnaissance tank. Nicknamed a "Speed Buggy", they stripped the armor off his reconnaissance tank and loaded it up with gasoline to deliver to the 8th.

 Albert had to deliver the gas by cover of night. Using only his compass to guide him, he headed off into the darkness, going through the German lines.  But somewhere in the night he ran into something which stopped him dead in his tracks: a German Tiger Tank. Listen to Albert explain how, when the Tiger's turrent turns towards him, he raced his "recce" tank off in the opposite direction, through a ditch and on to finish his delivery.

Albert also describes the dancing in the streets when the war was finally over and how, when looking for a new post in anything but tanks, he signed up with the Military Police, which ultimately led to his working for the Victoria Police Department after the war.

NOTE: Albert also fought in Italy during the war, and was awarded medals. 
The above photograph was taken in 1982 during a  visit by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to Victoria BC,
where Albert was on duty with the Victoria Police Force. The Prince had noticed Albert's WWII medals and stopped to talk to him
 about his service in Italy. He left by saying "I want to thank you for your service."

ROD SAMPLE - Volunteer Musician

TIMEFRAME ~ 1946
LOCATION ~ Aboard HMCS Ontario, San Francisco, USA
DURATION ~ 3:39 minutes

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to listen to the audio clip.

1946 Navy band aboard HMCS Ontario
Reserve Navy Bandsmen,
HMCS Ontario - 1946

After his discharge from the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) in 1945, Rod studied at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, and joined their concert band as a trombone player as well as the university's Naval Training Division. 

During the summers he took advantage of additional training opportunities in Naden, Victoria, including occasional onboard training cruises.  On one such cruise to San Francisco aboard the HMCS Ontario, some US Reserve Navy musicians traveling with them were tasked with playing a salute to an Admiral of the US Navy as they sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge.  They wanted to play "Anchors Away", but lacked a trombone player for a prominent part of the performance.

Listen to Rod Sample's account of how he became involved as the Volunteer Musician.


ROD SAMPLE - Masquerade

TIMEFRAME ~ 1944
LOCATION ~ Barry, Wales, UK
DURATION ~ 10:46 minutes

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to listen to the audio clip.

RAF men in Barry, Wales 1944
"One naval rating with a pile of Air Force officers" in Barry Pub, Wales - 1944

When Rod Sample found himself with a few days of shore leave when his ship the HMCS Orkney was in dry dock in Scotland in the Spring of 1944, he decided to journey to Barry, Wales to visit a Canadian friend training there at the St Athan RAF base.

This delightful story describes Rod's first experience with British train travel, gaining access to (and later exit from) the secure air base during black out, meeting up with his friend Bill and other airmen, masquerading as an RAF officer in uniform to avoid detection, and enjoying the hospitality of a local B&B and pubs.

Learn more about Mr. Sample's adventure in Wales by listening to his story that he calls Masquerade.


Links to Other Related Stories

Check out these additional stories from other theme pages, that also relate to military and/or wartime:

TRUDIE DUXBURY - Wartime Movie Making in Victoria

ALBERT HARWOOD - Working in a Radium Refinery (and joining the Army)