My name is George Roland Barrass. My family and friends call me Roland. I was born 4 April 1919 in Marysville, New Brunswick. I am the oldest and I have two younger sisters Dorothy, who has passed away, and Shirley. My Dad was a minister who came to Canada from Northern England. When I was about two years old, we moved to Bear River, Nova Scotia and in 1929 we moved to Truro. My Dad was a minister is First Baptist Church on Prince Street. My mother passed away of TB when I was twelve. In 1937 I completed grade 11 and in 1938 I completed one year at Success Business College. My diploma was in bookkeeping and typing. I worked a year at A.E. Hunt & Co. as a clerk and bookkeeper and then I spent six months at Nelson Motors.
On 17 July 1940 I enlisted in the Army at No. 6 District Depot in Halifax. I was attached to the Pay Corp from 1940 to 1943 as the District Audit Officer. As an auditor I worked at outlying Batteries around Halifax auditing books and seeing if they were doing what they were supposed to be doing. I would accompany a Captain and together we would check the books.
In all my time I only knew of one court martial from missing funds; most of the time the books just needed doctoring up because the people looking after them didn’t know how to do them properly. From 1943 to 1945 I worked at Windsor Transit Camp looking after four sets of books, the canteen and the Messes’ books. I also did the accounting at Debert. By this time I was a Quarter Master Sergeant. I never went overseas. I wanted to go but apparently they wanted me here.
I did the accounting for the different Camp books because the camps had to order kitchen and canteen supplies, and my job was to make sure they were done right. These camps were training men to send overseas and men were coming from all over to Debert. I lived out part of the time in Windsor but I also lived in the barracks for a year or so before I got married. I was discharged from the Army on 19 December 1945 from Camp Debert, reason “end of demobilization”.
On 31 May 1941 I married Eleanor “Avis” Murray and we had three children, one girl and two boys. Avis never wanted me to go overseas so she was quite happy the way things turned out.
I’m always afraid people will ask me what the war years were like.
Upon my military release, my family and I were living in an apartment in Truro. In 1946 I worked at Lewis Ltd. doing the payroll and hosiery costing. I had to keep records of heat used and different dyes that were included and cottons for the stockings they were manufacturing. From 1947 to 1950 I continued to work at Lewis Ltd doing super-hosiery costing and shipping records. I was a supervisor over thirty men and women. In March 1950 I went on the road as a traveler. I was out on the road trying to sell Lewis socks, hats and caps to different stores and in my spare time I joined the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Reserve Army.
We only had meetings about once a week sometimes parading on the odd weekend down at the Armories. I can’t recall anything spectacular that we did. I served with them for a couple of years in the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.
On 19 November 1953 I left Lewis Ltd. and on 23 November I went to work for Webster & Sons Ltd. There we used to buy and sell materials to hardware stores, like Home Hardware and Walkers & Sons and places like that and we would bring materials into Truro in carload lots and then we had a warehouse up eastern Prince Street where the old Irving oil tanks used to be. And then from the warehouse we would ship the supplies out by truck to different places.
In November of 1956 I was made Acting Manager and on 1 March 1957 I was made Manager. I had a staff of 6 or 7 personnel. I worked for Webster & Sons Ltd. for 31 years retiring 30 April 1984. Avis passed away in 1988. On 16 February 1990, I married Barbara Merle Durkee nee Gray. Barbara and her husband, and Avis and I had been friends since 1956.
I have 6 grandchildren (we lost one) and 3 great grandchildren. Barbara has 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. So, all together we have quite a few.
My hobbies include philatelic(postage stamp collecting) which I’ve done pretty much all my life, off and on. When my boys were young, I was an avid model railroader(small trains on tracks). A great part of my life has centered on First Baptist Church. I have served at various times as deacon, Sunday school superintendent, treasurer, chairman of the Board of Management, Cub leader and in many other capacities. I still serve occasionally as an usher.