Don White was born in Oshawa, Ontario on August 9, 1924. He grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, attending school in Oshawa and then enlisting after Grade 12. He had joined the militia at the age of 16, and at 18 he joined the regular forces, and was quickly sent out to Dundurn, Saskatchewan for basic training. From there he headed east to Nova Scotia, where Don was put on the Ile de France, bound for Greenock. A short stay in England followed, and then Don was sent to Italy. In Italy he was assigned to the Royal Canadian Dragoons, a reconnaissance unit. In Italy Don made his way up the peninsula, and when the war in Italy began to reach its end, he was sent to Marseilles, France, and from there up to Belgium and the Netherlands. His unit continued their reconnaissance duties, scouting out the German positions and engaging them where they had to. Don’s recce team led the way in northern Holland, liberating one town after another, and receiving warm greetings from the liberated Dutch people, something that continues to this day.
Don has received many accolades for his wartime service, and the government of the Netherlands has extended many of these. The Dutch prime minister mentioned Don in Canada’s Parliament, and he was invited to the floor where he received a standing ovation. In the summer of 2019 he was invited to take part in the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Friesland, the northernmost province in the Netherlands – again he was the guest of the prime minister and Governor-General Julie Payette was in attendance too.
Scott Masters visited Don White in his home in Oshawa in August 2019, completing this interview with the assistance of the Memory Project.
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- 1. Early Life in Oshawa; The Great Depression
- 2. Enlisting and Training; Going Overseas
- 3. Arrival in Scotland; The Move to Italy
- 4. Rome; The D-Day Dodgers
- 5. Patrols and Episodes in Italy
- 6. From Italy to France
- 7. Present Day Recognition
- 8. First Time in the Netherlands
- 9. Return to the Netherlands; Haarlem
- 10. Germany and the End of the War
- 11. Return to Canada; Family and Remembrance