Tom Instance was born July 28, 1924, in Toronto’s east end. His father was a driver for the TTC, but with four siblings to feed amidst the effects of the Great Depression, Tom left school when he was 14. He delivered papers and groceries and found work where he could, including at a shipyard where he did war work as a rivet catcher. When the war came Tom chose the navy – the natural choice given his father’s orientation. Training began in Toronto; then Tom went down to Halifax, where his father was stationed as naval police. After training was completed, Tom was assigned to the HMCS Uganda, a light cruiser that had originally belonged to the Royal Navy. During Tom’s time of service, the Uganda was serving in the Pacific theatre of the war; as such there were limited battles, and most of their duties were centred on the west coast shipyards of the US and Canada. Tom did get to visit many ports-of-call, both during and after the war. His service complete, Tom returned to Canada – and to his wife and young child. Tom Instance was interviewed by Scott Masters at the Sunnybrook Veterans’ Wing in July 2023.
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