Saturday, May 7, 2016

Audio: George McLean - RCNVR, Combined Operations

George McLean - RCN, Combined Operations

George H.F. McLean enlisted in the Canadian Navy in 1941 and
was placed on Naval reserve. This photo was taken in May, 1942, when
he was called up for active duty. Photo credit - The Memory Project 

Introduction: One will find hundreds of audio files related to the experiences of men and women associated with many branches of Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian organizations (e.g., Red Cross, CWAC, etc.) at The Memory Project. Most audio files are accompanied by authentic WW2 photos and a written transcript.

Please link to the first of two audio files at The Memory Project, page 89 related to the activities of George McLean, a member of the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve and Combined Operations. His story touches on the invasion of Sicily and Salerno, Italy in 1943.

Troops training on Navy landing crafts in preparation for the D-Day
landings at the Isle of Wight. April 1944. At The Memory Project

A small portion of the first audio's transcript follows:

I served with the Navy – V34075. I joined the Navy in early 1941. I served on the male reserve until May of '42, and then I signed up with the Royal Navy to go on Combined Operations. We left Norfolk in February of 1943. Proceeded to our base in North Africa, and from there, we trained all the different regiments that were in Africa. About the 1st of July, our whole flotilla of invasion craft proceeded to Malta. We sat there until I guess about July 10th, when we picked up the 8th British Army and took them into Sicily. After the invasion of Sicily, we moved back to Africa, and numerous times we were heavily bombed.

Please link to the second of two audio files at The Memory Project.

A small portion of the second audio's transcript follows:

When I joined up, I was 16. I went to HMCS Discovery, which is in Stanley Park [in Vancouver]. After about three weeks of basic training, they shipped us over to Esquimalt [British Columbia]. It was HMCS Naden. And they were on a course there and it was a day like today, the sun was shining and we were in a classroom learning all about engines. It was rather dull. And this commander walked into our classroom and said that they needed five volunteers to go with the British Navy in the Mediterranean [Sea] to work on combined operations, which is sort of a commando unit. So I put my hand up and next thing I know, I’m in Toronto on a course.

Pictured here is the only Canadian L.C.I to land on Omaha Beach,
Normandy, France. George McLean and the ship's crew transported the U.S
field hospital from England to France, 1944. Photo Credit - G. McLean

Please link to Audio: W. K. Newell, Canadian Beach Commando Unit

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