Colleran, John

John Colleran was born March 21, 1924 in Saintfield, Ontario.  He grew up in the Ontario countryside near Port Perry, attending a one room schoolhouse on nearby Scugog Island.  The family was hard hit by the Great Depression and John left high school in Grade 9 because the books were too expensive.  By then the war was on its way, and John was at first deferred from the military as he was working on a farm.  But when the time came he chose the Royal Canadian Navy.  He was sent to Fort Ramsay, on the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec, a British-run base that was important in the Battle of the Atlantic and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  On one occasion he was almost dispatched on the HMCS Magog, a ship that was later sunk by a U-boat.  After a year at Fort Ramsay John was transferred to HMCS Cornwallis, for gunnery training.  Then he went to Halifax – to take part in the convoys of the Battle of the Atlantic.  He was assigned to a corvette by then, the HMCS Kincardine.  He took part in several North Atlantic runs, and remembers well the weather, the ice, and the tough conditions on the ships.  At war’s end John witnessed the Halifax riots, but not long after VE Day he was demobilized and ready to take on civilian life in Canada.  He took a job at DeHavilland and fell into the postwar rhythms along with the other members of his generation.  John Colleran was interviewed by Crestwood students  at the Sunnybrook Veterans Wing in August 2022.