VE Day, 70 Years later

May 4, 2015 § 9 Comments

This week the world is remembering VE Day, the end of the Second World War in Europe (May 7th and 8th, 1945). My father was in that war serving with the Second Canadian Echelon. In the first photo shown here he appears as the third man from the right, half crouching down in the second row.  The Arc de Triomphe is in the background.

Second Canadian Echelon 3

My father met his wife to be, my mother, in Belgium near the end of the war on Christmas Eve 1944. I recently came across some documents that he kept from that time.  Although specific to my family, I present these as evidence of the everyday lives of the people who fought in that war.

Soldiers Paybook WWII

This above image and the next two are of my father’s pay book that he had to keep on him at all times.

Soldier's paybook 1

Note in the next image that the maximum credit given was $36.23.  That our soldiers would risk their lives for so little pay is a testament to their belief in freedom.

Soldiers paybook 2

The next image is my father’s “Permission To Marry” slip, something many soldiers needed as there were many “war brides” that came out of the second world war.

Permission To Marry

Having received this slip my father also needed the necessary travel documentation that he received three months later.

Compassionate Leave 2

I’ll wrap this up with a photo of my mother and father on their wedding day.

Marriage photo

 

 

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§ 9 Responses to VE Day, 70 Years later

  • gpcox says:

    This is a wonderful tribute for your father and his fellow soldiers. We shall not forget.

    • Al Williams says:

      Speaking of tributes, back in 1969 after a long 9 hour plane trip from Vancouver I sat in the back of a car as my father, a WWII vet, drove through Amsterdam.

      My father had stopped in a right turn lane when we needed to go straight ahead, so when the light changed he naively went straight.

      A police officer immediately pulled us over and approached us in anger. In the Netherlands, it seems, a right turn lane means turn right.

      My father started to apologize but no sooner had he said that we were from Canada than the officer’s expression and demeanor completely changed. It was as if it was he who made the mistake. He very apologetically helped us with directions and sent us on our way.

      It was only sometime later that I heard of how our Canadian soldiers saved so many Dutch from starvation. In gratitude, the Dutch instill a great respect in their children for we Canadians. I did not know that then but I do know that the Dutch have not forgotten what the Canadians did, as evidenced by how much respect this police officer gave my father, a WWII vet from a distant land.

      • gpcox says:

        They are extremely respectful of what was done for them. The cemeteries in Holland and Belgium are meticulusly cared for and celebrations are carried out every year. I would imagine they know our history in the ETO better than our children do. (They take it all for granted).
        Thank you for sharing your story with me.

      • gpcox says:

        meticulously. [wow – haven’t woken up yet]

      • Al Williams says:

        I’ve been awake for a while but it still took me time to figure out that you were correcting your spelling here!

      • gpcox says:

        Sorry – I should have been more specific about my comment. I thought they went in so close together, there wouldn’t be a problem.

      • Al Williams says:

        No need to be sorry as I was really commenting upon my slow mental processes, not criticizing you.

  • Jill Barth says:

    Incredible. Thanks for sharing.

    • Al Williams says:

      You are most welcome.

      A soldiers pay book, a permission to marry slip. Not the kind of things you think of when you think of war. But even war cannot stop the everyday from happening.

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