My name is John Donald Sutherland but I go by Donald or Don. I was born 21 August 1922 in Spiddle Hill, Nova Scotia. My father, John Dunrobin Sutherland was a farmer and my mother Bertha nee Smith was a housewife. Our family consisted of eight children, three boys and five girls. I was orphaned at a young age and left school in the eighth grade. Prior to joining the military I worked as a farm hand and I also worked in forestry and construction at the building of Camp Debert.
On 23 June 1941 I hitched a ride on a cream truck to the Truro Armouries where I joined the military at #6 District Depot. I was sent to Aldershot, Nova Scotia for a brief period then to Camp Debert to join reinforcements (3rd Division) which was preparing to depart for overseas. I was the youngest member of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corp (RCASC) and my trade was Driver Mechanic.
On 1 August 1941 I set sail on THE NORTHUMBERLAND for England. It was a small boat with a large convoy and we were three weeks on the water landing in Liverpool. Thankfully I was never seasick. Upon arrival I was sent to Farnborough, England where I received my Basic Training with Petrol Company. As far as I know we were the only unit (3 Div. Petrol Coy) that had a church parade to Westminster Abbey. All prominent people have a floor block with their name engraved at the Abbey. I was seated beside the marker of Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1937 to 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his Munich Pack treaty of peace with Adolph Hitler in 1938 and much criticized for placing his trust in this appeasement policy.
After Basic Training I was posted to 23rd Field Ambulance as a transport and ambulance driver. I then went with the 9th Brigade and trained in England nearly three years preparing for D-Day landing. Our vehicles were waterproofed for amphibious landing which we did on D-Day + one.
A humorous event that I can remember was in Caen when our guys found a winery and filled all our water jerry cans. All was well until our Commanding Officer wanted water for shaving. And you can just imagine the rest of the story.
I came home on a very large ship MAURITANIA and was released on 8 February 1946 “to return to civilian life end of demobilization.” I have no regrets and suffered no injuries. In fact I think I was very privileged to have the great experience.
On 29 June 1946 I married Lillian Fraser (teacher) and we had four sons (one is deceased), and they gave us six grandchildren. After the War I was employed at the Nova Scotia Power Hydro Plant and in 1954 I decided to rejoin the military. I enrolled on 18 Mar 1954 in Halifax as a Military Policeman. Basic Training was conducted in Truro and Shilo, Manitoba and I served in Gagetown, N.B. and Halifax, N.S. I was Honorably Discharged on 21 March 1957 in Halifax, N.S. with the rank of Corporal. I also served in the Canadian Army Militia in Truro, N.S. from 10 December 1962 until Honorably Discharged on 26 June 1964.
For 13 years I worked for the Department of Highways as a Bridge Supervisor and retired in 1977. I am an avid knitter, a craft I learned from my mother and I love to read and watch sports on TV, especially baseball. I am a Masonic and Legion member. I was awarded the 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence Medal; and Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Clasp.