George Herbert Beardshaw was born September 14, 1923 in Thorne, Yorkshire, England. He grew up in Garden Boys City, one of the Barnardo orphanages. He remembers that one day a man came into class, asking who wanted to go to Canada: George raised his hand, and in 1938 was off on the grand journey. He ended up in Ontario, near the township of Ops, where George boarded with a farm family. He worked hard in his teen years, but one day he’d had enough of it, and he decided to leave. He stayed with his older brother for a time, also a Barnardo Boy, and he worked various jobs before he decided to enlist in the army, heading for basic training in Bradford and Camp Borden. George went overseas in mid-1944, shortly after D-day: he was quickly dispatched across the Channel, and into battle in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Now with the Queen’s Own Rifles, he saw some vicious combat, and lost many friends during that next year. George himself was taken prisoner in a battle in Deventer, in the Netherlands. He spent the final month of the war in a POW compound, where he was liberated by fellow Canadians as VE Day took place. With the war over, George convalesced in England for a while, before returning to Canada, where along with the other men of his generation he fell into the rhythms of postwar Canadian life. George Beardshaw was interviewed by Scott Masters in August 2023 at Parkwoods Veteran Centre in London, Ontario.
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