Jamieson, Henry Walter

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Henry Walter Jamieson
25 October 1917 – 11 May 1999
Jamieson, Walter portrait detail.jpg
Nickname Wally
Place of birth Red Deer, Alberta
Place of death Calgary, Alberta
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Canadian Army
Years of service 1939-1960
Rank Lieutenant
Henry Walter Jamieson (Wally) was a Canadian soldier who served in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals during the Second World War.

Early Life

Henry Walter Jamieson was born in Red Deer, AB on October 25, 1917. He and his family lived in Sylvan Lake, AB and that is where he attended elementary, junior and senior high school. His interest in radio led him to enroll in three years of distance learning in radio and television technology through the National School of Los Angeles, California. He also traveled to LA to complete the practical part of the course. Upon completion, he went to Edmonton for a short time to work prior to enlisting.

Post Second World War

After the war ended he moved to Lethbridge, AB and in June 1946, he married Catharine (Kay) Craig Farries. They had three children; Henry Robert (Bob), Wendy Jean (Aitkens), Margaret (Margie) Ann. Walter was a part owner in Barrett Jamieson Home Appliance store. He served in the Reserves in Lethbridge until 1960 when the family moved to Calgary. He and his wife remained in Calgary until his death on May 11, 1999. His wife died on March 18, 2005 and, together, their ashes are spread in a small meadow beside the cabin they built on their younger daughter's ranch near Ta Ta Creek, BC.

A Trunk Full of Memories

By Wendy Aitkens.[1]

As with so many returning service men and women who came back to Canada following the Second World War, our father, Henry Walter Jamieson, didn’t talk much about his experiences. This didn’t mean his six years of active service left him unscathed. One recollection recalled by son Bob involved a new puppy in the family. Dad didn’t know about the puppy and when he arrived home for dinner Bob was holding the pup on his lap as he sat at the kitchen table. Dad couldn’t see the little animal and when the puppy whined, Dad dove under the table. The sounds of the puppy whine and the whine of an 88mm shell were so similar Dad’s survival reflexes kicked in and the table was the closest shelter available. This happened some 4 years after the war ended.[2]

Fifty years after the war, Dad decided to write down memories of his service and in doing so he left us with an extraordinary gift. He had worked on his book for many years but it wasn’t completed until the final months of his life. He and Bob collaborated to put the last pieces together. Bob put everything into his computer, scanned in photographs from old family albums and printed off several dozen copies. Dad passed away with cancer within a week of seeing his finished book printed and coil bound.

As the book and his life neared completion, Dad mentioned that his uniform was in a wartime trunk in the basement storage. He asked that his uniform be donated to what he called the Signals Museum (officially, the Military Communications and Electronics Museum) in Kingston. That canvas and wood bound trunk and his wooden military barracks box came into my care after his death. I briefly looked at the contents of both trunks but wasn’t ready to explore the contents or to give it up to the museum. Not yet.

Trunk Full of Memories
Several years later, I reopened the clothing trunk and found a great coat, full combat uniform, several hats, belts and a pair of putties. When I opened the foot locker and started to sort through its contents I was amazed at the collection of artifacts Dad had saved related to his service in the Second World War. With well over a hundred objects, documents, maps, letters, photos, and books I struggled to make sense of it all. I re-read Dad’s book and tried to picture his Signals service during the war years.

Born in 1917, Dad had been fascinated by radio since its inception. He remembered the excitement he felt while building a crystal radio set with his Uncle Dave when he was a young boy growing up in Sylvan Lake, Alberta. Between 1936 and 1938, he studied radio technology, repair and operation through correspondence from the National School located in California. Then from July to December 1938, he traveled south to take his practical and hands-on training in Los Angeles. He worked in his father’s hardware store to pay for the distance courses and he washed dishes and flipped burgers in a diner in L.A. to pay for his room and board while studying in California.

As tensions and aggression escalated in Europe, Wally sensed the approach of war. He went to the Mewata Armoury enlistment office in Calgary. There he indicated he wanted to join the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was told he should join the Army and then later transfer in the Air Force. But once the army had his valuable radio expertise in its ranks he was never given permission to change. Wally, as he was always called, enlisted as a Signalman in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals on September 6, 1939.[3]

Wally went through basic training in Mewata Barracks in Calgary, Alberta and then on October 25, his 22nd birthday, he and the First Army Active (1AA) Brigade Signal Section boarded a train to Vimy Barracks near Kingston, Ontario. There he was given the Permanent Force trade tests which included Morse Code, Signal Electronics, radio installation and repair. Passing all the trades tests with very high marks, he was made an Assistant Instructor for the home war establishment. He and other Permanent Force Instructors developed “wartime standards for these trades” and manuals for Electrician Signals and Instrument Mechanic Signals.[4] Then he began to teach others.

The military on both sides of the conflict understood the value of immediate and dependable communications through a variety of technologies. Telephone, telegraph and wireless radios were all vital to the transfer of information. Army headquarters, field stations and infantry units as well as tank operators and artillery units depended on radio communication of orders and for the timely exchange of knowledge about enemy activities in the middle of a battle. Training men to assemble, install, maintain and operate this equipment was the responsibility of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals.

Captain E. F. Clark decided Signalman Jamieson should be moved to 1st Canadian Corps Signals “as a wireless section head.” This required a Non Commissioned Officer’s (NCO) rank so Clark arranged for Wally to take a crash course in the evenings. He passed all the exams in the summer of 1940 receiving the rank of Acting Corporal. He also passed the Fitters or Mechanics trade test which he credited to the hours spent under the hood of family vehicles with his father.[5]

In September 1940, Wally was shipped to Mons Barracks in Aldershot, England where he was put to work installing radios in vehicles and teaching operators how to use them. “Dummy antennae” were used because of the necessity to maintain radio silence. He and three others went to Scotland on leave and stayed at the Overseas Club in Glasgow. In a local pub they met two salesmen for Old Angus Whiskey and they were invited to the distillery to sample some product. The General Manager turned out to be a Canadian veteran who had been Commanding Officer of the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry Regiment during the First World War. He had married and stayed in Scotland. His name was Colonel Jamieson. Sharing the same last name meant special treatment which included lunch and golf at the world renowned Saint Andrews Links.[6]

Later that year, Wally and his team worked with the British Armoured Divisional Signals to gather information that Canada would use to develop its own tank units. They were instructed to write down “all the details about organization, equipment and tactics.” He was sent to the Pye Radio Plant in Cambridge and worked with their Quality Control team to ensure that the #19 wireless sets would function despite the extraordinary shaking that a tank would generate. The information he gathered there was passed on to Northern Electric in Canada so it could build similar radio sets.[7]

Promoted to Acting Sergeant, he was sent back to Canada with his team on board the SS Leopoldville troop ship in late 1940. The passengers watched as turkeys were loaded on board and “looked forward to a proper Christmas Dinner after being on short rations in England.” To everyone’s dismay, the cook made a spiced turkey sausage and served this with “sloppy vegetables. What a disappointment.” The convoy under which they sailed was attacked by the “dreaded submarine wolf pack” and his ship went into evasive action and was separated from the convoy. Days later, sailing alone in the North Atlantic, a battleship located the Leopold and provided an escort safely to Halifax where it arrived on December 28. For security reasons, Wally was not allowed to let his family know he was back in Canada.

In January, 1941, Wally was given leave to go home for a few weeks. He traveled across the country by train intending to send a message to Sylvan Lake telling of his pending arrival at some stop along the way. But, each time he got off one train his next was ready to leave. Even the bus from Calgary to Red Deer and the next to Sylvan Lake were quick transfers so he arrived home unannounced. The family was sitting down to Sunday supper when his mother looked up and saw Wally through the screen door. Her poor heart took a terrible beating that day as she thought she was seeing his ghost. Dad had been traveling so much in England that mail in either direction had been delayed or had gotten lost and the family worried that he had been killed.[8]

Once back in Kingston, he joined the newly formed 1st Canadian Armoured Division (CAD) Signals. He and others led basic training drill classes. His colleagues taught military law, administration, weapons, tactics and land line use while Wally taught all the technical trades including vehicle mechanics. Some of the books in his trunk were teaching manuals he used as an instructor. He also spent three weeks at Danforth Technical School teaching their instructors about army equipment. At one point, Wally was sent to Ottawa to assist with the set up for a production line where high power transmitters would be built for the Armoured Command Vehicles.

Wally was also given an entry pass to the Montreal Locomotive Works yard where he and his team solved poor radio transmissions problems on the Ram tanks being built in that plant. They discovered the trouble was static electricity created by the tracks. Once the pads were reworked the radios worked as they should. He and another fellow were sent to the Canadian Pacific Railway Angus Works where the Valentine Infantry support tanks were being manufactured, again to solve a problem with the wireless radios. An electric motor in the base of the turret was sparking and “created radio interference on a grand scale.” Filters were found and installed which stopped the sparking and allowed the radios to work properly.[9] The security passes to access these two manufacturing sites were in Dad’s barracks box.

Jamieson spent most of 1941 in Barriefield Camp, Kingston, Ottawa or Montreal. On November 14th, he was again on board a ship sailing for the United Kingdom and Mons Barracks in Aldershot where he continued as a trades instructor.

In England, Wally worked with an international group of people. He learned about American tanks, taught two Russians how to operate the #19 radio, and flew with British pilots testing the communication between airplane and tank radios. Once again, he worked on quality control for the workhorse #19 radio sets in the Pye Radio Works near Cambridge.[10]

In June 1942 he was promoted to the Acting Rank of Warrant Officer Class II, and the Appointment as the Quarter Master Sergeant (Foreman of Signals) in ‘M’ Troop and this was confirmed in September. Shortly after this promotion, the current Warrant Officer Class I died suddenly while on church parade. Wally was promptly moved into that position much to his surprise because felt he “was more valuable and required in my technical role and with trades pay I got more money”.[11] At this time, he and his troop were sent to a canvas camp for “field training” at Brookwood.

Captain Frank Riddel and Wally designed and built an instrument mechanic's mobile workshop complete with compact work stations in a large semi-trailer. This set up meant radio repair could be instigated immediately upon stopping and even while moving in slow convoys “saving hours of set up and dismantling of work benches at every move”.[12] Vehicles like this became standard for the British and Canadian Armoured Signals.

Wally was sent to Addlestone, southwest of London, where he had a room and took most of his meals at the Weybridge Hotel. A nearby factory was modifying the Armoured Command Vehicles (ACV) for Signals, It was his responsibility to assess the needs of each vehicle coming in and ensure it was modified properly.

Jamieson somewhere in England.
By October that same year, Wally became Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM). He credited his consistent promotions to one man in particular - S. Findlay “Fin” Clark. Clark was a career officer who saw potential in Wally and often recommended him for challenging positions he knew Wally would handle well. Clark was Chief Signal Officer of the First Canadian Corps by the end of the war and went on to become Chief of General Staff after the war. After his retirement he became the Colonel Commandant of the Military Communications and Electronics Branch.[13].

As RSM, Wally used a Harley motorcycle for travel while he was overseeing all the dispatch riders and controlling the movement of convoys during exercises. When travelling across country he rode a lighter bike. Once proving he could handle both of the bikes his dispatch riders soon accepted him and would take care of his bike at the end of the day while he was fulfilling his other duties. They also shared their scrounged eggs and vegetables with him.

On rare leaves, Wally spent time with a fellow RSM in a Belsize Park suite. They befriended two English ladies who worked at a ticket service giving them access prime tickets for the four of them to attend shows at the Canadian Beaver Club. Both of these ladies died during V-1 or buzz bomb raids in 1944.

After a long series of exercises in Yorkshire and Norwich his group returned to Brookwood. There they worked until September 1943 doing research, experimenting and solving the major problems with waterproofing vehicles and equipment in preparation for the move to continental Europe. Following more exercises on the south coast, Wally was told to train two men to take over his duties as he was to go through a battery of tests prior to joining the officer’s training program.

OCTU 20th Course (Special)
From September 1943 to August 1944, Jamieson was in the Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU) at Camp Borden. As a part of his field training, Wally found himself and his men on a high cliff on the eastern coast of England on June 6, 1944. Their part in the exercise was to send prepared messages. Unknowingly, they sent transmission which misinformed the Germans concerning the invasion at Normandy - it was D-day. The successful landing of thousands of Allied troops established a beach head on continental Europe and, as history describes, quickly led to the liberation of France from German control.[14]

Wally graduated with top marks in both technical and combat training and received the Commandant’s cane and the rank of Lieutenant. He went to London and ordered a uniform, great coat and high top boots and took a well earned leave.

When he returned to Borden on September 29, 1944 he was ordered to pack for Europe by Chief Signal Officer S. F. Clark. Wally sailed the next day from Portsmouth to Dieppe (which the Allies had recently regained) and moved immediately to join the 4th Canadian Armoured Division (CAD) in Belgium. He expected to be posted as a trades instructor and was shocked to learn he would be the new Technical Maintenance Officer (TMO). His prior record of solving personnel and organizational concerns and the support of Lt. Col. Bill Sheriff, a man he had served with earlier in the war, determined he was the right man for the job. He discovered that the previous TMO had been an Electrical Engineer with no field experience and the men in M Troop “were on the point of mutiny”.[15]

He met with his 37 men and listened to their concerns while sharing a drink of Scotch. He then met with the COs and Regimental Sergeant Majors of the various armoured regiments. He learned they were having problems with their radios which they blamed on poor trade’s training. What Wally had discovered was that instead of his men doing the job they were trained to do, they were given guard and kitchen duties. The new TMO made it very clear that “my people will not do anything from now on but provide you with communications” and if they had any problems with that they were free to call Wally’s C.O. at advanced divisional headquarters.[16] Once his men were allowed to do their jobs, radio failures diminished immediately and his men quickly learned to respect the new TMO who stood up for them.

The work Wally and his men did at this time was to keep all electrical, radio and motor vehicle equipment in working order for the 4th CAD. The Signals technicians worked from the mobile repair vehicles moving them into position behind the front line and providing immediate repair and replacement of any and all types of radios. They supported the 4th CAD as they moved north and east through Western Europe.

Following the liberation of Bruges, Belgium Wally met up with a friend in a hotel pub just off the church square. They found the people of the city “stunned and confused” as they didn’t yet comprehend that they had been liberated from the Germans. Two school teachers who spoke some English came into the bar and the soldiers offered to share some watered beer, “canned s pam, dog biscuits and other goodies” with them. Instead of indulging there in the hotel, the ladies, the hotel owner (father to one of the women), Wally and his friend “went to the biggest house in town”.[17] Their host had been the mayor, or burgermeister, prior to the war. While setting out the food, the old man asked, through his daughter, that the two Canadians accompany him into the basement. Fearing a trap, they loosened their sidearms, turned on their flashlights and went into the cellar. The Belgian found a couple of heavy tools and led them through a maze of rooms to point at a dirt wall. He mimed that the soldiers should hit the wall with the axe and hammer. Wally’s hammer broke through a “wall of willow sticks and mud” into a hidden, well stocked wine cellar. Several bottles of brandy, wine and other liquor added to their private liberation party.

Wally described the routine of his unit as being “divided into two roles. When we were committed to action, everything moved at breakneck speed. Every detail was urgent and top priority. Then, when we returned to rest, or reserve, priorities changed. First we looked after personal life, a rest, bath, clean clothes and proper food. Next came routine maintenance on communication equipment and restoring supplies and personnel to the forward units. Then we went into the repair mode to restore our reserve supplies to operational condition. Then we would again start our keep fit program of morning exercise…”.[18]

Every once in a while, in the midst of the turmoil, Wally would meet up with a friend from home. One such encounter was with Moose Findlay, a teacher from Rocky Mountain House, who was moving semi-armoured command vehicles back from the front, each one in need of repair. As quickly as the repairs were completed he drove the vehicle back into the active area. During several trips back to back, he lost two friends and four days sleep. Wally realized Findlay was in bad shape and in need of some down time. A couple of full glasses of straight Scotch knocked Findlay out and he was sent to hospital. “Moose was a strong man but never was able to return to forward action. But he did survive to return to teaching”.[19]

During the fall and early winter of 1944, the 4th CAD pushed its way through Ghent and Antwerp in Belgium. Antwerp was recaptured from the Germans in early September 1944. This large port was about 80 miles (129 km) inland and the islands between the city and the sea were controlled by the Germans. The Allied forces were succeeding in pushing the Germans out of Western Europe much faster than they had expected. It was difficult to provide necessary supplies to the constantly moving front lines and full control of Antwerp would ease that critical situation. As a part of the struggle to ensure shipping access to the port in Antwerp, the 4th was sent to Bergen Op Zoom, in the Netherlands, where the Germans had blocked the main road with a six foot high steel re-enforced block of concrete.

Wally was sent to determine if “it was possible to use a remote controlled mini tank robot to push a Bangalore pipe bomb into position to blast a hole through the trees or the road block.” After seeing the barricade he felt a missile from a Typhoon aircraft would be more successful. He crept back to his jeep but came under fire from an anti-aircraft battery which forced him to abandon his jeep and dive into the ditch then scramble into a line of trees. When he stopped running he discovered the heel and the top of one boot were cut away by shrapnel and his pant leg was peppered with steel slivers. This was a very close call. The following day, the German gunners who shot at him were “very hungry and almost out of ammunition and they surrendered without a fight”.[20]

At every opportunity, Lieutenant Jamieson and his men scrounged and repaired abandoned German equipment such as an emergency airport lighting power plant which was used to provide power to headquarters. A three-phase plant was repaired with the help of Dutch technicians who made missing or damaged parts in exchange for desperately needed food.

Christmas Eve day saw the 4th CAD moving after only two hours notice north toward Breda. In Wally’s unit, Christmas dinner had been started prior to the call to move so the aluminum pots holding the hot food were transferred into insulated boxes and loaded onto their trucks. The day was cold, with freezing rain falling during most of the journey. Wally was leading the convoy, following a talc map and sitting in a high seat of the scout car, unprotected from the weather. When they finally stopped in a sheltered area, he was solidly encased in ice and could not get out of the vehicle. His driver “got a trenching tool and shattered the ice” to free him. After a miserable long day, the unit opened the insulated food boxes and was treated to “the best tasting Christmas turkey dinner we ever had”.[21]

Any source of fuel that created heat was a welcome to both the Allied and German soldiers. In S’Hertogenbosch, the troop heated water with welding gas and diesel fuel. Coal from a disabled barge along the shore of the Maas River was regularly gathered. “One very foggy day on the coal run, as we approached the barge we could hear German voices. They had been taking coal from the opposite side of the barge”.[22]

The Allied Forces tried several times to take a well defended island in the Maas River. One attempt to take the island was called Operation Horse. Snow fell the night before the attack. The infantry was using “#19 [radio] sets on wheels that we called baby carriages for that is what they looked like.” This radio gave the men, who were wearing white camouflage clothing, more communications range but the large black box and the tall antenna made easy targets for the German gunners. Before the next offensive, Jamieson and his men “built sleighs from angle iron.” The more powerful #22 radios with a trailing antenna were mounted on the sleighs and covered with white sheets. This provided dependable communication and the radios were invisible to the German gunners. For implementing this ingenious solution to a serious problem, Lieutenant Jamieson was awarded a “Commander in Chief’s Certificate for Good Service” personally handed to him by Field Marshal Montgomery.[23]

This was much appreciated recognition for work done away from the limelight of the well documented struggles of those fighting on the front lines. Author Alexander McKee acknowledged “The really exciting bits are only a small part of the whole, affect very few men, and most soldiers are merely workmen, technicians, and clerks”.[24] Thousands of non-combat soldiers worked to keep everyone fed and receiving their pay, they provided medical and dental care, kept machines working, supplies arriving, roads cleared and repaired, bridges constructed and communication lines open. The installation of directional signs on roads was critical so troops could be in the right place at the right time. Without all of this support front lines soldiers would not have been able to do the fighting.

Before the 4th CAD approached the Neder Rhine River near Arnhem, a series of meetings occurred between Wally and several Dutch Underground telephone technicians. The Dutch “located suitable telephone cable man holes on the north side of the river while we located man holes across from their locations on the south side.” Their joint task was to ensure underwater and underground communication lines were established as soon as possible after the 4th crossed the river at two locations; Arnhem and Wesel. Wally prepared two steel message cables wrapped with four heavy cables strong enough to survive the river currents. All of this was tarred to repel the water for a month or more. Loaded on 14’ handmade reels they were transported to the river’s edge on lowboy trailers. The first reel was sent to a power house near Arnhem. Wally arrived at the second site near Wesel before dawn. A short time later, “The tanks started firing, [which] created a rolling wave of vivid light and rolling thunder like I hope never to witness again. When the artillery began to fire, the waves of sound following the muzzle flashes tugged at ones clothing”.[25]

He and ‘M’ Troop crossed the temporary bridge built by the Engineer Corps later that day and were immediately transformed into an infantry unit and sent to the southern area of the Hochwald Forest. They moved all their vehicles and equipment through continuous rain and on land flooded when the Germans destroyed dikes holding back the sea. The 4th CAD’s job was to help clear the forested area of all German holdings with the help of Typhoon fighter planes.

During this time, they were ordered to live off the land and they were lucky to be in an area the Germans kept well stocked with chickens, cows, and pigs. Chickens were plucked from their evening roosts, cow’s milk provided the first fresh cream since entering Europe, and the pig supplied his men with plenty of pork to eat and to trade with other units.

Moving north and east, the 4th CAD fought its way through Apeldoorn and then onto Almelo, liberating the long suffering Dutch people as they went. On April 7, 1945 they crossed into Germany near Neuenhaus all the time gathering deserted German communications and military equipment. As they travelled towards northwestern Germany, they discovered the Germans were using their existing telephone system to pass on intelligence so Wally and others took great delight in disconnecting the lines. At one stop along the way, Wally and his driver gathered a surprising type of war booty when an artillery shell hit a Bank. German, English, Dutch, and French currency, “all invasion money printed by the Germans” littered the street.[26] Unfortunately the money had little value other than as souvenirs.

‘M’ Troop continued to improvise repairs to equipment, more often with German parts, and doing regular maintenance to prevent break downs at inopportune times. They were also laying miles of communications cables often without the proper vehicle and on badly rutted routes. “At one point [Wally’s] tent was too close to a stray shell and was burnt up. Not that it mattered much. “M” troop and I were working almost around the clock.” When he finally hit his cot at 10 pm on the night of May 7th somewhere near Oldenburg, he received a message which read, “EFFECTIVE 8 AM. MAY 8TH ALL HOSTILITY WILL CEASE IN N.W. GERMANY”.[27] Through a haze of exhaustion it took several minutes for him to realize the war was finally over.

He called his men together and demanded that they bring a mug. He poured a healthy serving of whatever alcohol was available and passed on the good news. The party adjourned to the mess and “went on all night.”

Soon after the end of the fighting, Wally was asked to stay on in the military. He volunteered for the European Occupational Force but soon found himself assigned to the 6th Division Signals for the Canadian Far East Force. But before this happened, the Medical Officer demanded he take two weeks leave and try to regain some of the 45 pounds weight he had dropped since serving in Europe. He spent his leave in Torquay, England, relaxing, hiking along the beach and playing tennis with two American Army nurses and a fellow officer. The fun continued as he sailed back to Canada on a ship with a group of nurses, playing shuffleboard, dancing and cuddling “under blankets on the sunny but chilly deck”.[28]

The two day train trip across Canada ended on a platform near Mewata Armoury in Calgary where Wally‘s parents, an Aunt, Uncle and cousin and Kay Farries (an old girl friend) were there to greet him. After a month’s leave he was posted to Wetaskiwin with five other officers all scheduled for the Far East. There was little military activity so they volunteered to help local farmers with their harvest. As a side line, they hunted geese and ducks to keep them from feeding on the crops. This provided fresh wild meat for the mess and kept the officers busy.

During one break from Wetaskiwin, he arranged to meet up with Kay while she worked at a Stagette Canteen in Calgary. That same day the war with Japan ended. Downtown Calgary turned instantly into a party. All bus and car traffic came to a complete stop while the whole city revelled in the end of a very long war. When it was time for Kay and Wally to meet up with a cousin, they had to walk (Kay in bare feet for part of the journey). Wally had one bottle of liberated champagne left which they uncorked and drank in celebration with family and friends. One year later Kay and Wally married, starting their life and family in Lethbridge, Alberta.

During the last year and a half of the war, Wally Jamieson and his troop were either just behind the line or on the front line and their life expectancy was often counted in minutes. He told Bob, “I have had a wonderful life. Hell, I have been living on borrowed time since 1944”.[29] He filled his life with work in home appliances sales and service and later in electronics and telephone manufacturing. He joined the Army Reserves after the war and was actively involved with Civil Defence in Lethbridge. He enjoyed curling, camping, photography and horseback riding. And he raised three children who understand the sacrifices he and millions of others made during the war.

Reading his war memories and exploring the incredible treasure trove of artifacts in his foot locker and clothing trunk allowed me to delve into a part of Dad’s life he rarely spoke about. It gave me a better understanding of how Dad looked at life and how he lived his life. At his memorial service, a colleague and friend said that if Wally shook your hand in agreement then “his word was gold.” This reflected something of his upbringing but also was a sign of his years in the military where he moved quickly through the ranks from enlisted Signalman to an officer with the rank of Lieutenant because he worked hard and did his job with ethics and professionalism.


  1. Wendy Aitkens is Wally Jamieson’s daughter. She is the Curator at the Galt Museum & Archives in Lethbridge, Alberta and has worked in museums for 25 years.
  2. B. Jamieson 2014.
  3. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 4.
  4. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 5.
  5. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 7.
  6. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 10.
  7. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 11.
  8. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 13.
  9. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 17.
  10. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 18.
  11. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 19.
  12. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 19.
  13. Costello 2001-2014.
  14. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 24.
  15. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 27.
  16. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 28.
  17. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 29.
  18. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 29.
  19. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 30.
  20. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 32.
  21. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 33.
  22. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 34.
  23. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 35.
  24. McKee 1971, 371.
  25. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 36.
  26. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 39.
  27. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 40.
  28. H. W. Jamieson 1999, 41.
  29. B. Jamieson 2014.


“Canadians in Belgium” in Canada at War. 2005-2012. Accessed August 7, 2014. http://www.canadaatwar.ca

Costello, Joe. Royal Canadian Signals Corps. 2001-2014. Accessed August 2, 2014. http://www.rcsigs.ca/index.php/Clark,_Samuel_Findlay

Costello, Joe. Royal Canadian Signals, 2001-2014. Accessed August 2, 2014. http://www.rcsigs.ca/files/2SWSectTypeB.pdf

Jamieson, Bob. "email." RE: please proof read & comment. August 5, 2014.

Jamieson, Henry Walter (Wally). Wally's War: A Signalman's Story - 1939to 1945 (As it is recalled over 50 years later). Calgary, Alberta: self, 1999.

Jamieson, H. W. Remembrances or Inspiration unpublished script for slide presentation in author’s possession, May 2, 1980.

McKee, Alexander. Race for the Rhine Bridges 1940, 1944, 1945. Souvenir Press, London, 1971.

Rollefson, M. D., Lieut. RCE. Green Route Up. Mouton & Cy Ltd., The Hague, Netherlands, 1945.

Trueman, Chris. “Antwerp and World War Two” in History Learnging Site, 2000-1014. Accessed August 7, 2014. http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/antwerp_and_world_war_two.htm

Weir, Norman. “Second World War Canadian Army Signal Intelligence Experience of Major R. S. Grant MBE, CD” in Communications and Electronics Newsletter, 1986.

“The Campaign in North-West Europe: The Battle of the Scheldt and the Winter on the Maas, September 1944-February 1945” in The Canadian Army 1939-1945: An Official Historical Summary. Department of National Defence. Accessed August 12, 2014. http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/Canada/CA/OpSumm/OpSumm-14.html

Special Thanks

Special thanks for Colonel P. Tappin (retired) and Colonel J. Holsworth (retired) for improving it with the appropriate military terminology and to my family for offering their comments and advice.

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