Second World War Veteran John Hall was recognized as a 60-year member of the Anavets organization at a special ceremony on Friday. Herald photo by Eric Bell.
Prince Albert Second World War veteran John Hall has a lot of memories from his time overseas, but there is one memory in particular that stands out in his mind.
“Getting out of there,” Hall says with a smile. “It’s hard to say, really. So many things happened to me.”
Originally from the town of Whitewood, Sask., Hall enlisted in the army at age 18 along with his two brothers.
“I lied about my age, I was supposed to be 19,” Hall said. “According to my discharge, card, I’m a year older than I actually am.”
All three Hall brothers would fight on D-Day, and all three would return home after the war, a luxury afforded to few families with multiple loved ones at war.
At 92 years old, Hall is one of the few Second World War veterans left in Canada who fought on D-Day, and the only one left in Prince Albert.
On Friday evening Hall marked a special milestone, marking his 60th year as a member of the Anavets. Greeted to a standing ovation, Hall received a pin to add to his jacket, already heavy with medals recognizing his achievements as a soldier and veteran over the years.
Darlene Michel, a 25-year veteran of the Anavets herself, called Hall a valued member of their organization.
“He’s so full of history, and he likes to talk about it,” Michel said. “He’s been everywhere, done everything. He’s a great man. He comes here and visits, and is one of the few Second World War veteran who were in the midst of everything that are left. Its important for us to recognize the guys from that era.”
Hall says that after the war, organizations like the Anavets were, and still are, important for soldiers who were returning home.
“When you’re in the army a long time, and especially if you’ve been in a war, you’re totally lost, because you have nobody to talk to,” Hall said. It’s a different world. Nobody can understand. So we would go to the legion and have a beer and talk about what happened.”
“And sometimes we had too much beer,” Hall joked. “It’s just a place for us to come together and tell our stories.”