Stohn, John

John Stohn originally came from the U.S., but he moved to Canada at a young age, when his father’s work led the family to Granby, Quebec.  The family did well there, and they were largely insulated from the devastating impacts of the Great Depression.  John remembers his youth with some fondness, and that it prepared him well for his studies at McGill University, which began against the backdrop of the war.  As was the case with so many young men, John enlisted in the officer training corps, beginning his military training on the grounds of McGill.  He chose to enlist in a Granby regiment, and artillery training soon took him to Petawawa.  John was sent overseas in short order, doing additional training in England before being convoyed down to the Mediterranean, where they landed in Sicily.  Most of the combat had concluded there, so John did some training with British officers before being sent on to Italy, where he rejoined his regiment and began combat operations.  Almost immediately John contracted malaria, and he spent time in hospital before being returned to the battlefield.  The 11th Field Artillery alternated between the east and west coats of Italy before they found themselves at Montecassino, quite an active spot as John remembers it.  They were in the lines there for some time, before being dispatched to other locations in Italy; from there they were shipped to France, and they were on their way to the Netherlands and Germany itself, bringing the war in Europe to a conclusion.  John made the decision to enlist to fight in the Pacific at that time, feeling that he had joined the war late, and in fairness he felt it his duty to see the war through.  He was sent back to Canada early in view of this, and while training for war in the Pacific, the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb, and VJ Day meant he was home for good.  In those last months John reconnected with Suzie, and their prewar friendship went in a new direction, and they married in 1946.

John and Suzie Stohn were interviewed in their home in January 2019 by Scott Masters and Eric Brunt.