This is the second in a series of interviews done by William G. McKenzie with veterans of the 1st.Battalion in the 1970’s. Tapes of the interviews are in the London Room, London Public Library, London, Ontario.
Frank Dickinson #6206 was born on 22 May, 1890 in Lancaster, England, and died on 12 March, 1976 in London, Ontario. The interview with Frank Dickinson was in 1975.
“The officers were all militia officers and what they didn’t know abut war would fill a book and what they did know would fill about a line.”
“I never counted myself a soldier. I was only a civilian in uniform doing a job that had to be done.”
“When we dropped anchor we started getting sight seeing boats coming around. I don’t know what they expected, “EEE - Look they talk English!” We should have been saying “Ugh” or something.”
“Into the trenches with the Leicesters. They were a nice set of chaps. Each one of us was “buddied” with a Leicester. The guy I was buddied with was standing down. The dry out roof was very low- you couldn’t stand up in it. We hadn’t been down very long when all at once there was “rapid fire” on our right and I sat bolt upright and nearly knocked myself out. He (my buddy) reached out and said, ‘It's alright chum, it’s only the Lancasters cleaning their rifles.’ I felt sure there was an attack.”
“It’s a sad tale and a glorious tale. Up till then we were going to be backup for the English- building trenches for them. That’s what we found out through the grapevine when we went into Ypres. French (Sir John) is reported to have expressed the opinion that the Canadians were ‘nothing but a damned armed mob‘. Well the armed mob showed him it could fight!”
Photo: Library and Archives Canada.