My name is James Frederick May, but my friends call me Jim. I was born on 9 August 1924 in Chatham, New Brunswick. My father Richard was a cook by trade and my mother Eva Sarah Latullippe was a homemaker. The oldest sibling was a girl, then came six boys of which I was the youngest and then another girl. Out of eight children I am the only one surviving.
In June 1941 I left school at the age of 16 and joined The North Shore New Brunswick Regiment. I completed Basic Training in Fredericton, New Brunswick and after Basic I was sent to Aldershot, Nova Scotia. I was a Clerk by trade. Three months later I boarded a ship in Halifax to go overseas. It was pretty rough going over but it really didn’t bother me. It’s been said a good New Brunswicker never gets seasick!
Throughout World War II, I was in England, Scotland, Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium, Netherlands, back to England and thank God, home again! A funny thing that happened, which always stuck with me, was when I was in Italy. We were landing on water and the guy in front of me wouldn’t or couldn’t move due to the fact that he couldn’t swim. I had to give him a little push and in just three feet of water he went under. I ended up going in after him.
For a short while during the war I was a stretcher bearer. Just after we went into The Gully we walked into a trip - it was a killing ground. We lost 39 soldiers there and the hardest part was that I had to carry out a lot of my friends. Trust me, I went back to Clerking some quick!
Unfortunately I was injured during the war. One night while out on patrol in Italy, I twisted my ankle and the bank of land gave way and down I went injuring my foot. I have no regrets though and would do it all over again if I had to.
On 15 November 1945 I was released from the military, “End of Demobilization”. Shortly thereafter I moved to Truro where I met my future wife. On 28 December 1946 I married Florence Frizzell and we raised one son. We now have one grandson and one granddaughter.
After the war when I returned home I worked part-time for the Federal Department of Agriculture at the port in St. John, N.B. When I moved to Truro I was employed in the stockroom at Nelson Motors and then I went to work for the Canadian National Railway, Bridge and Building. I remained there for 35 years until I medically retired in 1983.
I am a member of The Knights of Columbus, The West N.S. Regiment, Truro Memory Club, Executive West N.S. Regiment Association, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. I am a 55 year member of The Royal Canadian Legion, Colchester N.S. Branch No. 26.
The Evening Times-Globe Saint John, N.B. Tuesday, April 18, 1944
A Family War Record To Be Proud Of
The six sons of Mr. and Mrs. Richard May, 636 Main Street, are all serving King and country and further all are serving in some overseas theatre of war. An outstanding war record for any one family.
Pte Matthew May, who enlisted in September, 1939, and went overseas in July, 1941, served in the Sicilian campaign and is now with the West Nova Scotia Regiment in Italy.
Pte George May, shown with his little son Richard, enlisted in October, 1941, with the Dental Corps and is now serving in Newfoundland.
Ernest May was rejected by the Army in 1939 when he applied and then joined the Merchant Navy. He has been serving in the Mediterranean theater for the past 15 months.
Gnr. Bernard May enlisted in the R.C.A. in February, 1941, and went overseas in April, 1942. He is at present stationed in England.
Pte Joseph May, R.C.A., enlisted in April, 1940, going overseas in October, 1941. He is now with an Ack Ack battery in England.
The sixth and youngest son, Pte James May, West Nova Scotia Regiment, was recently wounded in action in Italy. He also saw service in the Sicilian campaign. He enlisted in July, 1941, at the age of 16 and went overseas three months later.
It is of interest to note that Ptes Joseph and James went overseas in the same convoy but in different ships and did not know of the fact until some weeks later. Mr. and Mrs. May also have a son-in-law Thomas Comeau, in the army. He has been in England since 1941.