Wilson, Bill

Bill Wilson was born in Winnipeg on November 5, 1924 to Scottish parents Thomas and Marion Wilson. Bill was 14 when the Second World War began and he planned to follow in his father‘s footsteps as he had served in the First World War. When Bill couldn’t get  a place with the Highlanders cadet corps in September 1939, he decided on an impulse to join the sea cadets. Bill readily took to training and moved quickly through the ranks. In 1942, at the age of 18, he joined the Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve and prepared for duty at sea. It took him a time to get there though:  Bill was so good at the many navy drills he had learned in his cadet days that he was kept on as an instructor.  He finally had to ask the camp CO for permission to join a draft headed for the open seas.  He served for three years and, as a seaman gunner on the HMCS Ottawa 2, he took part in the latter stages of the Battle of the Atlantic, including the Normandy landings, where his ship played a key support role, sinking several U-boats in the English Channel. After victory in Europe was declared, Bill volunteered to serve in the Pacific, but the war with Japan ended before he could redeploy. Bill Wilson was discharged in the fall of 1945 and earned the Atlantic Star for his wartime service.  He went on to a long career in Ontario and Alberta, raising a family and maintaining his connections to the RCN.  Bill Wilson was interviewed via zoom by Scott Masters during the pandemic summer of 2020.