“I didn’t see any action in the war, but I saw the results of action,” says Dan Sherry, a Knowlton resident and at 97, one of the very few veterans of the Second World War in the area. He landed in Holland with the Canadian Army in May of 1945, the month the war in Europe ended. “We landed at Ostend, and the docks and submarine pens were totally destroyed, smashed concrete everywhere. We drove through Rotterdam, and all that was left were chimneys.”
Dan Sherry was from Asbestos, Quebec, but was at school in Ontario when he left to join the Army. He trained as a dispatch rider in Canada and went overseas in October 1944, waiting in England until his unit was deployed. Sherry remembers the starving people of Holland, many of whom had been cut off from the Allied advance in the winter of 1944-45.
“The Dutch people were starving. Women would go out on bicycles foraging for food. I remember some women wearing bandanas on their heads to cover their shaved heads. They were collaborators, and young boys would come and rip their bandanas off if they spoke to Canadian soldiers.”
Dan Sherry left occupied Europe in September of 1945, and sailed home soon afterward on the Ile de France ocean liner. “We were told we could get back to Canada faster if we volunteered for service in the Pacific. I preferred to wait.”
He went to McGill University and earned an engineering degree. For many years Sherry worked at the Domtar Mill in Windsor, Quebec. He went to many annual reunions of his old army unit but stopped going several years ago. There were few men left, and he is probably the last survivor