TC (Tommy) Douglas

Evidence of his participation in the SSR is found in Chapter 14 of The March of the Prairie Men:

Due to the ill health of Premier Douglas, the Honorable J. H. Sturdy, Minister of Reconstruction, spoke on behalf of the Premier. He paid tribute to the S.Sask.R. in saying that it represented the finest body of men that Saskatchewan had ever sent overseas, and that it typefied the very best in Canada's citizen army. This, he said, was personified in the person of Colonel Merritt, while the citizenship was personified in the person of Tommy Douglas, who had been a member of the 2nd Battalion, S.Sask.R. Not only had the S.Sask.R. set an example to the Canadian Army, but it set an example that had never been set before when the regiment fought at Dieppe. It had helped to drive the wedge which had shattered the Nazi forces for all time to come. In closing, Mr. Sturdy said "You have been great in War, we know you will be great in Peace."

It is also found in The Life and Political Times of Tommy Douglas by Walter Stewart.

On page 143, for example:

"Tommy joined the 2nd Battalion of the South Saskatchewan Regiment, and went back to Weyburn to train. (It was not hard to combine the duties of MP and soldiery at a time when the House of Commons sat more briefly than it does today.) He rose quickly from corporal to lieutenant and then to captain, and became an instructor, but he never adapted well to the army’s disciplinary methods. One of the permanent force lecturers, who laid down the laws of strategy and tactics to recruits under Tommy's command, insisted on moving the group from place to place, for what appeared to be no reason. When Tommy asked for a reason for all this shuffling about, he replied that it was 'to confuse the enemy'. 'If you want to confuse the enemy,' Tommy suggested, 'why not give them one of your lectures?'

Tommy learned that the Winnipeg Grenadiers were to be sent to Hong Kong as part of the expeditionary force to that doomed place, and volunteered to go with them, but his gimpy knee kept him from being accepted."

Page 170: "In 1945, Tommy took a trip overseas to visit Saskatchewan personnel stationed in Europe, and especially those in hospital. During a visit to the South Saskatchewan Regiment in Germany, the jeep he was travelling in was hit by a truck. He and the driver were both thrown out of the vehicle, and Tommy injured his knee. The osteomyelitis that had bothered him so much as a boy flared up again, and would bother him for the rest of his life."

A letter from Tommy Douglas to DG Brown, 18 Apr 1982, which discusses their time in the military:

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According to Wikipedia:

After the outbreak of World War II, Douglas enlisted in the wartime Canadian Army. He had volunteered for overseas service and was on a draft of men headed for the Winnipeg Grenadiers when a medical examination turned up leg problems. Douglas stayed in Canada and the Grenadiers headed for Hong Kong. But for that ailment, he would have been with the regiment when its members were killed or captured at Hong Kong in December 1941.


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GCS/gs - 20May2008/05Mar2013