MURDEN LES CANADIAN ARMY

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LES MURDEN: CANADIAN ARMY

Les was born in Toronto in 1923 in a family of 3 brothers

and 3 sisters. He was in the Queen's Own Militia Regiment

and enlisted in the Army in 1942 at the CNE after being 

turned down by the Navy and Air Force as they were not

recruiting at that time. His first posting was to Newmarket

where he learned marching, rifle drill and the basics of 

soldiering. He was then sent to Barriefield, near Kingston

for more advanced and combat and weapon training as a

Technical storeman.

He went to England on the Queen Elizabeth with 16,000 other

men, landing in Scotland and then on to Dorking and Winchester.

He landed in France from a LST shortly after D-Day and recalls

waiting outside ofCaen while the city was pulverized by a 1000

bomber raid. Les served in 3rd Infantry Troop Workshop where

vehicles, trucks and tanks etc. were repaired so that they could

return to action. They were under fire from the Germans and

slept in trenches they dug to protect themselvesand remembers

a night when a groundhog jumped into the trench where he was

sleeping. "I was out of there so fast that I didn't care if the whole

German Army was outside".

He went through Belgium, Holland and ended up at a German Air

Force base in Cleve, Germany on May 8'" - the end of the war.

 

While in Holland, one day heard his brother John broadcasting

Canadian sports news on the BBC, which came as a great

surprise as he was not even aware he was in England. When

he later married, John was his best man and his nephew

Bill were there to represent his family who he not seen for years.

 

At the time of the Battle of the Bulge, when the Germans were

sending, soldiers disguised as Allied troops behind Allied lines

Les was on guard duty and apprehended a suspicious looking

British Officer who was not amused at being questioned.

On April 27th he received leave to return to England to marry

Joan, an English girl he had met previously. The marriage

took place on Sunday the 29th; Joan had made all the

arrangements, and Les recalls that all he had to do was

show up.

After a short honey-moon he was back at Cleve by May 8th.

As a member of the 1st Canadian Division he was entitled

to return to Canada right away, but he extended his tour

of duty by six months to remain in England to be with his

wife. She had lived in London during the Blitz and had been

bombed out of her home and forced to live in temporary

housing. Les returned to Canada in February 1946, again

on the Queen Elizabeth and Joan followed on May 24th.

 

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After the war he worked at A.V. Roe in Malton helping to

correct any mechanical problems as they arose. After the

Avro Arrow was cancelled, he worked for Canada Customs

and Excise for 28 years until his retirement.