Veteran Stories:
George Burrows

Air Force

  • George Burrows in Uniform, 1941

    George Burrows
  • George Burrows at Sir Winston Churchill School

    George Burrows
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"Brampton was a very small place, there was only two schools in Brampton when I was growing up -- and there was over 50 of them didn’t come back. They paid the supreme sacrifice."


I decided that I should join up. And so I went from there. So I went down into Manning Depot. We had a very good Member of Parliament and, and his name was Gordon Graydon and everyone in Brampton knew Gordon Graydon. And he went to as many parents that was possible.

When I joined up, he went and had an interview with my mother and dad and he went to everyone in Brampton that joined up that he could possibly go to, to their parents and thanked them. They really told me about it and I just thought it was just wonderful that he would take time to come and thank the parents for the boys joining up. He was not just a great politician, he was a great gentleman.

We had rationings before I joined up. You couldn’t just go downtown and buy a pound of butter or a pound of sugar. Your mother couldn’t make cookies because they couldn’t get the ingredients. And gas was rationed and one night I come home for the weekend and my dad filled the car up with gas and so he took me back to Toronto.

And in those days, they didn’t have a gauge in their car to tell you how much gas you had. So we drove to Toronto and he ran out of gas. Now, with gas being rationed, we went to a policeman and he couldn’t help him. And as it happened, there was one bus going from Toronto to Brampton, so my mother and dad got on the bus and came home. Then the next day, my dad had to buy a gallon of gas and one of his friends took him to Toronto to get their car again. But that was quite an ordeal when someone siphoned the gas out of the car. We pretty near know who the guys were but you can’t prove it of course.

But that was one of the things that people were doing back then, because you had to have a coupon to get gas. You had to have a coupon to get butter. You had to have a coupon to get sugar and ingredients like that and without these coupons, well, you, you couldn’t have it. The government issued coupons to the stores, something from the government to say that you’re allowed one pound of butter a month or something and, and a pound of sugar and things like that. But other than that, well you couldn’t get it.

He was one of the lucky ones and he came back and it was fine. But there was over 50 of my friends -- Brampton was a very small place, there was only two schools in Brampton when I was growing up -- and there was over 50 of them didn’t come back. They paid the supreme sacrifice. And they’re all close friends of mine. We played hockey together and lacrosse together and went to school together. As I say, there was only two schools, so we got to know everybody pretty well and they didn’t come back. And some of them I went to Sunday school with and..

Anyway, when it comes to November the 11th every year and one of my best friends, his birthday would have been November the 10th. His name was Ray Johnson and I’ve never forgotten him. And he paid the supreme sacrifice in the battle of Dieppe. The battle of Dieppe was just a battle that, they just give the soldiers something to do. But there was a lot, a lot to pay the supreme sacrifice and there’s a lot of the English, British army were in that and it was just a terrible thing because they were hanging around parading and marching and so they decided to put them into that battle at Dieppe. That’s where my friend …

And we were kids together from 10 years old, until we were 18, I guess, and all he could talk about was the army when he was growing up. And he joined up as soon as he could and then he paid the supreme sacrifice in Dieppe.

I want them to know about the war, about so many of my friends that didn’t come back home again, when Brampton was only 2,000 or so and there was over 50 people, right from Brampton alone that, that didn’t come back. I knew every one of them. I’ve got their names and I knew every one of them.

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