M y dad, PRIVATE JOHN EDWARD PERRAULT, is my hero. He was a tail gunner in the Armed Forces in World War II.
D ad was born in Williamsburg, Ontario on Sept. 16, 1910. He moved to the United States of America when he married My Mom, Ethel, who was an American girl. Both Mom and I share the same first name, Ethel.
H e still loved and believed in his country, and his flag. When the war broke out, being as he was living in The United States, he became a US citizen, so he could fight for the freedom that both our Countries hold dear.
W hen he joined the Armed Forces at the age of 32, he had no children. However I was born a short while later in July of 1944 and was already a year old when he finally met me.
M om can't recall any more what rank Dad was. I believe he was a private because of one of the stories he used to tell me. He told me about going off base when he was in England, with some of his buddies. They ended up having too much to drink and being caught by one of their Sergeants. I remember Dad telling me that the Sargent ordered him to, "STAND UP CORPORAL PERRAULT", and then a while later telling him to, "SIT DOWN PRIVATE PERRAULT".
D ad also told me about the time he met General Eisenhower and how nice a person the General was to the men. General Eisenhower asked my dad, what kind of cigarettes he smoked. When my Dad told him he smoked Camels, the General gave him a pack.
S tories that dealt with death made Dad cry. He never got over some of that type of hurt, and didn't talk about it much. I remember once he told me about a young private who was just eighteen years old. The kid treated Dad like he was his own dad and they became very close. One night, just as he lit up a cigarette, the young private was killed right in front of Dad. Dad never forgot it.
W hen my father was wounded badly he was awarded the Purple Heart and retired from the Armed Forces with full benefits.
W hen Dad could, he finally took Mom and I and my two younger sisters back to Canada, with such pride for his birth country. We went to Morrisberg, Ontario, where he introduced us to all of his family: His mom, Elma Perrault; his dad, Edward Perrault; as well as his two sisters, Anna and Ruby.
D ad was and always will be the apple of my eye. On his Death bed, he said "Tootsie (his nickname for me) I'm not going to make it Hon, please take care of your mom for me". My husband was in the bed next to him, because of a domestic injury that took his eye. My sister went into labour and her daughter was born on the same day that Dad died July 30, 1970 at the age of 59 years. My youngest child was only 4 months old. It was the worst day of my life.
M y mom said that she never remarried because Dad was such a great guy. She turned 80 years old in May 1998. After he died, mom let me read the letters Dad wrote to her while he was in the war. These letters described the deep love and honour that these men shared for each other.
I am proud to be part Canadian. Dad was a very proud Canadian and a proud American. We had the best of both worlds. Thank you for listening, I just wanted someone to know about my Dad.
Ethel Daley, happily married for 32 years, I raised 5 children and I have 14 grandchildren.
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