Wilbur Bryans was born April 3, 1922 in Sullivan Township, Ontario. He grew up on a farm, attending the local two-room school house before moving on to business school in Owen Sound. While there Wilbur picked up critical skills that would impact his time in the military. Wilbur was called up in 1941, reporting to the Horse Palace in Toronto and then doing basic training in Camp Borden. Soon after they were on their way to Halifax, where they boarded the Ile de France for the trans-Atlantic journey. On arrival Wilbur was transferred to Aldershot, where typical military training continued. But the military identified some of Wilbur’s skills, notably the shorthand and typing he’d learned at business school, and it was at this time that he ended up being assigned to the Medical Corps. At this time Wilbur went to Basingstoke Hospital, where he worked in the Xray department under Dr. Eaglesham. Wilbur saw many horrific injuries during his time there, especially the burned airmen that they endeavoured to treat. Casualties increased considerably after D-day, and Wilbut recalled being called upon to treat men he had known from earlier training, including many with battle fatigue and other psychiatric disorders. Later in the war – and afterwards – Wilbur used his clerking skills to run an office that brought over entertainment for the troops, and he also helped to organize the mountains of paperwork in the repatriation depots. He came back to Canada in February 1946, beginning the difficult process of readjusting to civilian life. Work and family helped to get him there though, and soon the rhythms of postwar life fell in place. Wilbur Bryans was interviewed by Scott Masters in June 2022 at his home in Belleville, Ontario.
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