From the farm to the front lines

Our Canada - - Commemorating Our Men And Women In Uniform - Day­lene Shaw, Rocky Moun­tain House, Alta.

My fa­ther, Bernard “Bernie” Mac­don­ald Holmes, was born in 1924 in Ben­ito, Man. He and his ten sib­lings were raised by their par­ents, Dan and Vera, on a farm in the Thun­der­hill district. Bernie joined the army at 19 and went over­seas in 1943, be­com­ing a mem­ber of the 1st Cana­dian Ar­moured Car­rier Reg­i­ment, also known as the Cana­dian Kan­ga­roos.

Bernie was a tank driver. The tanks he and his mates op­er­ated had their in­ter­nal guns re­moved in or­der to carry more men—ap­prox­i­mately 11 sol­diers could be trans­ported safely with­out those guns. He was sta­tioned in France and then Hol­land, where he ex­pe­ri­enced the cel­e­bra­tions on May 5, 1945—Lib­er­a­tion Day for the grate­ful peo­ple of the Nether­lands—and on May 8, VE-DAY,

which marked the end of the war in Europe. As there were many thou­sands of men and women serv­ing over­seas, Bernie had to wait his turn to come home. It took nine months be­fore he was shipped back to Canada, dur­ing which time he took a job in a li­brary in London.

He and my mother, Made­line Puf­fer, were mar­ried in May 1947, and they, along with my three sib­lings and me, lived on a small farm in Man­i­toba for many years. The fam­ily moved to cen­tral Al­berta in 1970, where I still re­side, as does my brother, Keven.

Sadly, Dad passed away on Fe­bru­ary 12, 2004.

Above: Day­lene’s fa­ther, Bernard Mac­don­ald Holmes, fondly known to many as “Bernie.“

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