Preston, Harry

Harry Preston served in the Canadian army during World War Two.  He grew up in western Canada, in and around Winnipeg, where Harry and his family experienced the realities of the Depression.  Harry kept himself busy though, and with friends, he got involved in the militia and the Sea Cadets, where he was able to do training that would help him in the war to come.  Harry joined the Winnipeg Rifles with the coming of the war, but when the opportunity to specialize in artillery came, Harry took it.  He was trained as an anti-aircraft gunner, a process that intensified upon arrival in England.  Harry was often stationed in vulnerable areas as England was repeatedly bombed in the 1942-44 period; he defended radar stations, airfields, and coastal zones.  While in England, Harry  – like so many young Canadian soldiers – met an Englishwoman and fell in love, later marrying this Land Army worker and bringing her to Canada.  First, Harry endured the European campaign.  He was sent to France after D-Day, and now a member of a self-propelled gun crew, he and his team provided support to the advancing Canadian infantry as they moved through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and into Germany itself.  With VE Day, Harry returned to England and once his wife was cleared for passage to Canada, they made the trip together, settling and building a life for themselves in the postwar period.

We met Harry at the Sunnybrook Veterans’ Wing in June 2018, where he was interviewed by Mr. Masters and a delegation of CPC students.