Fisher, Mervin

Mervin Fisher was born May 7, 1926 in Collingwood, Ontario.  He grew up against the backdrop of the Depression in Collingwood, Dixie and Toronto, moving around after his parents’ divorce and some family difficulties.  Mervin went into service at the midway point of the war, and trained for the Armoured Corps.  He was only 17 when he joined up, but the army did not catch the error at first.  Eventually they did though, and Mervin had to wait to be able to go overseas. Once deployed to Europe the army chose a different direction for him, and he was assigned to the infantry, joining the Essex Scottish regiment as a replacement troop.  He made his way through England and Belgium, and began to see his first action in the Netherlands, where he recalled the danger of patrols and German MG fire – and the incredible randomness on the battlefield.  Mervin remembers seeing men go down right next to him, but he was spared and went on to another day.  He also vividly recalls the day the Essex Scottish were overrun, and he and many of his fellow soldiers were taken as POWs.  They were eventually marched to the rear and put on boxcars and sent to Stalag 11B in eastern Germany.  Mervin would be  POW at Stalag 11B from February to May 1945.  Conditions at the camp were difficult, and Mervin became very ill with dysentery and hepatitis.  In three months he lost a lot of weight, and he credits his fellow POWs and the Red Cross parcels for keeping him alive.  Liberation came in May 1945, and Field Marshall Montgomery himself oversaw the process at Stalag 11B.  Mervin made it back to England, where he remained hospitalized and in recovery for a number of months before making his way back to Canada in the fall of 1945.  There he rejoined his family and slowly found his way back into the rhythms of civilian life.  Mervin Fisher was interviewed at his home in Cambridge by Rishi Sharma and Scott Masters, in May 2022.