Brodie, Hugh

Hugh Brodie was born October 13, 1926 in Montreal, Quebec.  He grew up in the city against the backdrop of the Great Depression, attending school and playing football and hockey.  Hugh’s father was a doctor who passed away young, so Hugh was raised by his mother.  When the time came to choose his next step in life, Hugh opted to attend McGill University, where he too intended to study medicine.  But the war intervened, and 17 year old Hugh joined the merchant marine, ready to make his contribution to the war effort.  He was quickly assigned to a ship, and his wartime odyssey was underway within 48 hours.  Hugh was a mess boy on a merchant ship, SS Bellwoods Park, where he was one of the youngest on the crew.  He worked hard in the mess, serving the officers, and as a hobby he took up boxing while on his way overseas.  In 1944-45 Hugh was in ports of call all over Europe and north Africa; he remembers unloading war materiel for the Battle of Normandy, and emergency food supplies to Tunis and Algiers.  When VE Day took place, Hugh was in Casablanca, a city he remembers quite differently from the film of the same name.  He returned to Canada in the fall of 1945, and immediately returned to his studies at McGill, where he pursued the medical sciences.  He specialized in pediatrics and virology and went on to a long and successful career, eventually retiring to the beautiful landscape of Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains, where he lives with his second wife.  Hugh Brodie was interviewed via zoom during the Covid-19 pandemic, in December 2020.  We thank the Memory Project for their role in facilitating this.