Reid, Joe

Frederick Joseph Reid – Joe – was born April 19, 1920, in Sillsville, Ontario.  He spent his early years there on the family farm, alongside his seven siblings.  The family later moved to Trenton, and that is where Joe spent his formative years.  He went to high school there, but he left early to take work after his father was injured at work.  Joe had several uncles who were veterans of the Great War, so he grew up hearing a few stories and seeing how the war had impacted those men.  Those early years were also set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, and while Joe does recall the tough times, he also remembers the good times playing hockey and going to the movies.  When the war came, he and friends first tried the RCAF when they heard about the need for tailgunners, but Joe did not pass the eye exam.  Then they went to try to join the Hastings Prince Edward Regiment in Picton – but the officer was out that day.  So they made their way to Kingston and joined the navy instead!  Joe was trained as a stoker, and he was assigned to the HMCS Columbia in the early part of the war, doing convoy duty on the east coast as well as trans-Atlantic duty.  As such he faced the difficult conditions of the war:  the danger of U-boats, the storms and weather, seasickness and fatigue, and so on.  Joe served on several ships in those convoys, making some good friends and seeing loss and victory.  At the end of the war Joe did see brief service on a few other ships, and he ended the war in Newfoundland.  He made his way back to Trenton and was soon demobilized.  He found work in the railyard and bought a home with money from the Veterans’ Land Act; he also met and married Phyllis, going on to raise a family and make a life with her.  Joe Reid was interviewed by Scott Masters at his home in Consecon, Ontario in February 2024.