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The Deployment Story of Ben Tetefsky (Canadian Army, Second World War)

The Museum reviews and accepts donated personal or family memories and histories into its collection. As a learning institution, the accounts help us understand how individuals recollect, interpret, or construct meaning from lived experiences. The stories are not modified by Museum staff. The point of view expressed is that of the author and not that of the Museum.

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I was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. Joined the military at the age of eighteen and a half and was stationed in St. Jean, Quebec, Peterborough, and Camp Borden, Ontario. When I was finished my basic training I eventually became a medic for the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (R.C.A.M.C.). I had just turned 19 on November 15th, and one month later we were sent to Europe on the ‘Lady Nelson.’ I spent Christmas and New Year’s crossing the Atlantic Ocean un-escorted, which was unusual at the time. The ship was lit up with Red Cross banners on both sides of the ship. During the crossing I was made a M. P. (Military Police) as I was able to withstand sea-sickness. The weather wasn’t helpful at that time of the year, a lot of sick soldiers. We made it across safely.
I returned home on the ship Aquitania.
Extract from article in The Commissionaire:
As a freshly trained member of the R.C.A.M.C. Ben sailed from Halifax on 21 December 1944 aboard the Hospital Ship, Lady Nelson, spending Christmas and New Year on the high seas, after zig-zagging, unescorted, across the Atlantic. The Lady Nelson, to everyone’s relief, finally docked in Southampton at the beginning of January 1945.
Private Tetefsky’s contingent was posted to Bramshott Military Hospital, 22nd Canadian General from which later, prior to posting to Germany to serve with the Occupation Forces, 48-hour passes were issued.
Ben headed for Brighton and thence to the Regent Dance Hall, where he was challenged by a Military Policeman to show his pass to the Duty Officer, which he did. The Duty Officer told him that he was out of bounds and ordered him to report back to his unit. (To this day Ben has no idea why this place was out of bounds). Like all good soldiers before and since, Ben figured out that he was granted a 48-hour pass and he was going to use up every second of it, so he remained in Brighton and headed for the Regent Dance Hall on the following evening. The same Officer was there and once again challenged Ben.
For some reason which he has never been able to explain, even to himself, Ben ran - the MP blew his whistle and Ben found himself being chased along the shore by twenty Bobbies (British Policemen). They hemmed him in amongst the barbed wire and anti-tank traps and, because he had been caught by the civilian police, he was locked up in jail in Brighton City Hall. After a week, he was transferred to London, where he was locked up for another week after which he was returned to his unit where his further penalty was loss of a month’s pay and a month of peeling potatoes.