By: 2Lt Michelle Guertin
In this month of remembrance, we often take the time to reflect on the great sacrifices that have been made by others in the name of freedom and peace. This week, I had the privilege to meet with a great veteran from the valley; Mr. Myron Phillips. Mr. Phillips was born in 1916, in the small town of Wentworth, NS. He worked as a carpenter and had a wife and a 7-month old son when war broke out in 1939. Mr. Phillips joined on July 8th 1940. At first he was to be an anti-aircraft gunner, but before the end of the day, he was enrolled as an engineer.
After spending almost a year of training, Mr. Phillips was off to Europe on February 1st 1941. After spending two weeks in Halifax; the Duchess of York took them to England. At the Cove (the home unit for all sappers at the time), he was attached to the 13th Field Company from Calgary and deployed to Sicily in 1943 to help capture the Hitler Line. Upon arrival, each soldier had nothing but a rifle due to scarce resources. During the campaign, Mr. Phillips was shot by a German sniper through his cap badge, which he still keeps to this day in the breast pocket of his veterans’ jacket. When I asked him if he was sent to a hospital or consulted a medic he quickly replied: “No, I didn’t go, and even if I had to, I wouldn’t have”.
As Sgt Phillips and his section neared the Polish border, they were given orders to move on to the Netherlands to support the armoured divisions. Mr. Phillips had been part of the construction of the only lift bridge built in the Netherlands during this time. At the end of the war, Mr. Phillips and his section were unaware to the signing of the Armistice. While en route to another work site, they marched by a sign reading that the war was over. They could not believe it and so carried on until they received the news officially. He then stayed in the Netherlands to help with reconstruction until boarding the Duchess of Bedford, bound for home.
This war hero, although he would never allow himself to be called that, is a great example of altruism and service before self. When asked why he had joined the military during the war he answered: “Because I thought I should be there and help”. His story is one that cannot be found on Google or in books. Lest we forget those who have not yet had their incredible stories told.