Vet­er­ans share sto­ries of the Sec­ond World War

John Ban­nan, Murray Whetung served as army sig­nal­men

The Peterborough Examiner - - News - MARLYS KERKMAN kerk­[email protected]

John Ban­nan left his farm­ing com­mu­nity in Omemee at the age of 17 to en­list in the First Mid­land Reg­i­ment. That was Aug. 6, 1940. Dur­ing his time in the mil­i­tary he served in var­i­ous places. He was sta­tioned in Ot­tawa in 1941 to train with Fin­lan­ders in ski train­ing and jump­ing to fight the Ger­mans.

The 8th Bri­gade of which he was a part went on to Ni­a­gara Falls to guard the power canal, a main source of en­ergy, and to St. John, N.B. to guard the har­bour.

Next stop was the Aleu­tian Is­lands. The Ja­panese had taken over the Aleu­tian Is­lands; but when they got there the Ja­panese had left.

At Christ­mas John vol­un­teered for a post­ing to Eng­land go­ing to Kingston for train­ing. In Eng­land he was re­in­force­ment for the 3rd Di­vi­sion Stor­mont, Dun­das, Glen­garry (SDGs).

Next, John was re­cruited into the Royal Cana­dian Core of Sig­nals as a sig­nal­man. There were hours of train­ing and lis­ten­ing to in­ter­pret Morse Code. From 1944-1945 he was sent to serve in Hol­land as sig­nal­man.

Murray Whetung is our next long-liv­ing Sec­ond World War vet with a lengthy Curve Lake his­tory. His grand­fa­ther had a gro­cery store, post of­fice and taxi. His fa­ther was chief from 1913 to 1943. Murray was build­ing mo­tors at GE in Pe­ter­bor­ough when the Sec­ond World War com­menced.

Whetung tells that many friends on the re­serve had gone into ser­vice and no one was left his age. The army took him in Au­gust and in No­vem­ber he was train­ing as a sig­nal­men at Vimy, near Kingston. This is where he re­ceived a tele­gram to re­port to the Air Force in Toronto. He went to his colonel but the colonel said, “Sig­nal­man Whetung, you are not avail­able for the air force. You’re in the army now!”

Whetung was sta­tioned in Eng­land and France as part of a work crew lay­ing un­der­ground com­mu­ni­ca­tion cable from the beach where they landed all the way to Brus­sels miles away. In Bel­gium, Hol­land and Ger­many they fixed ex­ist­ing ca­bles.

He went into ser­vice in Au­gust, l942 and was out in No­vem­ber, l945. The day he got home he ran into friends at the cor­ner of Buck­horn and Curve Lake Road. They were all on their way deer hunt­ing. Whetung said “Save me a boat at the shore and I’ll meet up with you af­ter I drop off my pack at the house.” There were six out hunt­ing for a week. Whetung shot three deer the first day. They gave the meat away to the poor and the el­derly.

Wild Rice Seed­ing

There were over 200 peo­ple in the room on both sides of the is­sue of wild rice seed­ing at a meet­ing at the En­nis­more Com­mu­nity Cen­tre Nov. 3. Mod­er­a­tor Brenda Jeff of Save Pi­geon Lake, Larry Wood of Save The TriLakes Ini­tia­tive, Alan Eas­ton of the east shore and Homie Ne­whook, pres­i­dent of Lake­view Es­tates, pre­sented the con­cerns of many res­i­dents of the Pi­geon Lake area.

Politi­cians present – MP Maryam Mon­sef, Curve Lake Coun. Lorenzo Whetung, Andy Mitchell, Sel­wyn mayor-elect, along with Jewel Cun­ning­ham, di­rec­tor of On­tario Wa­ter­ways stressed the im­por­tance of com­pro­mise, of hon­our­ing this dis­cus­sion, of talk­ing as neigh­bours and not as peo­ple of dif­fer­ent eth­nic­i­ties.

Wood pre­sented the con­cerns of the area re­lated to wild rice seed­ing. The neg­a­tive of ef­fect on tourism, un­safe channels, en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, de­crease in shore­line prop­erty value, and man­ag­ing the de­bris were some of the con­cerns brought up.

On the other side First Na­tions peo­ple talked of the rights pro­vided by the Wil­liams treaty, the dis­ap­pear­ance of their na­tive food, sug­ges­tions to fix the pol­lu­tion of farm­ing that af­fects wa­ter qual­ity and im­por­tance of large wet­lands.

Dur­ing the ques­tion pe­riod an ac­tion plan was de­vel­oped on the po­lit­i­cal side of the ta­ble. MP Mon­sef pro­posed a two-track dis­cus­sion. One track would in­volve dis­cus­sions be­tween the Crown (fed­eral govern­ment) and the First Na­tions peo­ple. An­other track would in­volve dis­cus­sions with mem­bers of the com­mu­nity to work on a so­lu­tion. There would be an ap­point­ment process for mem­bers of this com­mit­tee.

This ac­tion plan will have three months to come up with a so­lu­tion.

The meet­ing ended with serv­ings of manoomin (wild rice).

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