Who am I?
By E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC ‘03)
- I was born in Auckland, New Zealand on October 11, 1919. My parents, Harold and Janet, raised my sister and I in Sydney, Australia, and then Victoria, B.C.. My father was a Merchant Marine sea captain and my mother was a housewife. My father was a prisoner-of-war in Germany for 17 months during the First World War.
- At the outbreak of the Second World War, I was in my final year at Royal Military College (RMC) in Kingston.Classes were canceled and “all members of the senior class joined the forces.” I signed up in Halifax on October 2, 1939, with the Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE). “On graduation from RMC I had decided to become a professional engineer.”
- My sister, Helen, enlisted as a nursing sister. My vessel – carrying Australian and New Zealand Forces to Gallipoli – was captured by the Germans and then sunk off New Guinea.
- During the war, I served in Britain, Italy (after “Ortona to the end of the campaign,” Belgium and the Netherlands. In Italy, I served as second in command of the 4th Canadian Field Company, RCE and then commanding officer of the 2nd Canadian Field Park Company and the 3rd Canadian Field Company, respectively. I had minimal contact with the civilians but the little we did have as “friendly.” The country was “most of the time very dirty,”and the streams were “very subject to flash flooding after heavy rain.”
- I remember “several close calls” during the war but escaped getting wounded. My proudest memories include “working hard to overcome the obstacles, rivers and mines to keep the division advancing.”
- I didn’t return to Canada until 1946 since I was a member of the occupation force in Germany. By then I was a major. I remained in Canada’s Armed forces until 1972, retiring as a colonel. I then became an engineer with his positions including senior highway engineer for the Alaska Highway and regional engineer for the Government of Ontario. Retiring in 1984, my wife Anne and I live in Victoria, B.C., where I make time for golf and travel, as well as my children (by my first wife, Jean, who died in 1975), stepchildren and grandchildren.
a) 2380 Colonel (Ret’d) Desmond N Deane-Freeman (RMC 1934)
b) 2428 Colonel (Ret’d) James M. Houghton (RMC 1934)
c) 2541 Colonel (Ret’d) John S Orton (RMC 1936)
d) 2543 Colonel (Ret’d) Donald MC Saunders (RMC 1936)
e) 2483 Colonel (Ret’d) T Fred Slater (RMC 1935)
Answer: d) 2543 Colonel (Ret’d) Donald “Dutch” Saunders, CD (RMC 1936)