Picot, Ryerson

Ryerson Picot was born June 27, 1925 in Terra Cotta, Ontario.  He grew up in northern Ontario against the backdrop of the Great Depression, and the family followed the father as he moved from  job-to-job on the Canadian National Railroad.  Ryerson longed to join the army when the war came along, and he managed to enlist while still underage.  He was assigned to the armoured corps, and training began at Camp Borden and Meaford, and from there he was sent overseas, arriving in Liverpool via the Mauretania troopship.  As he was underage, he was held in Britain for about a year, and then his turn to go to the continent came.  They landed at Calais not too long after D-day, ready to act as replacement troops;  Ryerson had been trained as a gunner from the Elgin and Ontario Regiments.   Once overseas he fought with the Canadian Army in its drive to liberate western Europe from the grip of the Nazis.  Here Ryerson Picot shares stories from his life, including from the end of the war, when perspective allowed him to shape his thoughts on the war, both tragic and comical.  Ryerson remembers the women, the lone German in Harlingen, and serves as a “veteran philosopher”, exploring the long term/lifetime impacts that war veterans must endure.  We had the honour of interviewing Ryerson Picot via zoom during the pandemic winter of March 2021.  He was also interviewed by Eric Brunt on his cross-Canada journey interviewing WW2 veterans; we thank Eric and Ryerson for sharing their part of this interview with the Crestwood Oral History Project, and for introducing Ryerson and his son Ron to us.