There are some memories you want to remember, but there are others that you want to forget.
For a Central Alberta Second World War veteran, the latter rings true – believing it is important to move on with life.
“You let it go. It’s another happening in your life,” said Joseph Young, who turned 100 in April. “I have moved on. You don’t think about it anymore.”
Young drove a truck when he was in France from 1941 to about December 1945. The military truck driver drove a corporal in the front and six soldiers in the back.
Young, who grew up in Carrot River, Sask., was a member of the 8th Reconnaissance Regiment, a light armour arm of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division headquartered in Swift Current, Sask.
Sometimes, on his drives, he came upon dead bodies laying in the middle of the street. But that never made him afraid or nervous.
“You get used to it,” he said in an interview recently.
On D-Day, which is symbolic, especially to Canadians, Young was on a ship from England to France.
“I drove an armoured vehicle out of a tank landing ship onto the beach,” he said, adding he arrived in France after D-Day.
Today, he advises Canadians to visit Vimy Ridge in France, something he did on the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014. He saw the names of many Canadians who were buried there, along with his best friend, who was laid to rest at Bretteville-sur-Laize.
The two, Lance-Cpl. Clifford Cushing of Regina, and Young, met in the Canadian Armed Forces.
“I wish he made it through the war like I did, but he didn’t,” said the Central Alberta veteran.
He remembers August 1944, when he was severely wounded from shrapnel in his left shoulder.
The truck driver and the crew had made a stop at night in France and were digging a trench to rest. That’s when the Germans started bombing, he recollected.
The crew stayed there until the bombing stopped, said Young from his Lacombe County home.
“A scout’s car came and got me and took me to a field dressing station, where they bandaged me up,” he said.
He was then taken to a Canadian field hospital, where the experts operated on him and took out the “bullet-like metal piece” from his shoulder and back.
“I was there about four or five days, and they flew me to England for about three or four months,” he said, adding he headed back to France once he recovered.
Young remembers the doctors waking him up every three hours to give him a penicillin shot while recovering in England, but doesn’t remember being in pain.
“I could get up and walk around. The shock of getting hit deadens the pain.”