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THEN AND NOW: ‘Be yourself’ says veteran as he ponders long life

Second World War veteran Guy Adams with daughter Margery Ellison. “He taught me integrity, respect for people, generosity, kindness; everything that he is,” she says. “He taught by example.” ANGELA MCMULLEN PHOTO
Second World War veteran Guy Adams with daughter Margery Ellison. “He taught me integrity, respect for people, generosity, kindness; everything that he is,” she says. “He taught by example.” ANGELA MCMULLEN PHOTO - Contributed

By Angela McMullen

FOR THE TRICOUNTY VANGUARD

SMITH’S COVE – Second World War Veteran Guy Adams can recite ‘In Flander’s Fields’ by heart. He also recalls the process of enlisting.

And there’s lots more he remembers.

“The Navy refused me and the Army took me the first time. The Air Force wouldn’t take me because I had bad teeth. I had my ears blown out,” he says.

“I was sent on a driver’s course. They wanted to turn you into a carrier driver. They were like a rocking chair (the carriers). I ended up being a mechanic and repairing them,” says the 99-year-old veteran. 



A memory of wartime was the food served in square boxes, which consisted of meat and vegetables; sometimes boiled beef.

According to Adams, it was commonly referred to as “muck and vomit.”

Another memory for him is receiving mail.

“Usually got a letter every day or two,” says Adams. “They made sure you got your mail.”

In fact, Adams has a collection of letters kept in a trunk. “I wrote your mother every day,” he told his daughter Margery Ellison.

“His mind is like a steel trap,” she says.

Ellison says that her father is also a good bridge player. “He is one of the best,” she says.

In fact, she says that her father is, despite his age, very active. “He cooks. He makes applesauce and jam. He feeds the birds every day.”

THE WAR

Involvement in the theatre of war is just a part of this veteran’s life.

“I was the seventh of 12 children,” he says. “You walked the line because there was always someone to squeal on you.”

Skating in winter and fishing off the wharf are fond memories of his childhood.

Adams has enjoyed a life filled with family, friends and hobbies; but marriage, he says, was a definite highlight.

“We were only married a few days when they (the Army) sent me on course.”

The veteran is also a self-taught square dancer and says he has danced across Canada.

“We went on a train across Canada and danced every place the train stopped,” he says. “We bought the record, bought the machine, and started in a friend’s basement,” says Adams.

Adams says that although he was a jack of all trades, woodworking was a favorite pastime. Out of necessity he began crafting wooden hoops used for rug hooking.

“My wife was a hooker,” he says.

GREAT TEACHER

Ellison says her father has been a great teacher.

“He taught me integrity, respect for people, generosity, kindness; everything that he is. He taught by example,” she says.

veteran has collected many honorariums throughout his life. Adams is a highly decorated veteran and says that his greatest achievement was receiving the Knight of the Legion of Honour Metal from the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in 2015.

After the war, Adams also received an award of distinguished service from King George V1. According to Adams, the recipient of such an award had demonstrated outstanding service.

“You were always there when they wanted you and did more than was required.”

A letter of acknowledgement was sent to Adams’ wife as well.

“You relive a lot of the stuff, memories of the war years,” says Adams, as he sums up the secret to happiness in just two words. “Be yourself.”

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