Genealogy History The Second World War

Leonard Quinn, World War II Veteran

My father, Leonard S. Quinn, (I always called him “Daddy”), was born in May 1907 and my mom Flora (MacNamara) Quinn, was born in July 1906. They were born and brought up in the Lyn area where they met and married in October 1932 and moved into the Village of Lyn.

They had three daughters, Beverly in 1933, Barbara in 1935 and Joan in 1937.

Daddy was a farmhand for several farmers in the area and worked for Simpson’s Sand and Gravel Shipping, hauling such from Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River to the mainland at Johnstown near Prescott, Ontario where the large grey structure still stands. He acquired a government job with the Dept. of Highways and was working on the rock cut at Rockport, Ontario, west of Brockville, Ontario for Highway #2, when the War broke out in September 1939. The construction of Hwy #2 ceased during the war years to allow money for war supplies etc.

When the Second World War was declared in the Fall of 1939, I was four and a half years old. My Dad was helping to build Highway #2 in the Brockville and Mallorytown area at the time, but his job ended immediately when the War broke out. Since work was hard to find and men were needed for service, Dad joined the Army with the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders. He trained in Kingston, Ontario and Truro, Nova Scotia before going overseas in April 1940. We didn’t see Daddy again for five years, “Snail Mail” was our only means of communication.

My Mother and two sisters spent the next 5 years coping with no Dad and many difficult times. Mom nursed us through all the Communicable Diseases and several surgeries, one which nearly claimed my life. At seven years old, I was stricken with Acute Appendicitis and required surgery immediately. I developed double pneumonia, went into a coma and was not expected to make it. They cabled overseas to tell my Dad, only to find he was in hospital with pneumonia, having just had a Mastoid operation. They never did tell him how ill I was, until he was well.

I remember the doctor coming to the house to witness the Ration Books being burned in the kitchen stove, after my sister and I had Scarlet Fever. Only then could we get new books issued. Of course we were quarantined for all those diseases then.

We lived for the days we’d receive a note or letter from “Overseas” with “Dear Wife and Kiddie” in it! We wrote many, many letters over the next five years and always begging him to come home. Same reply, “I’ll be home as soon as I can get there!”


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My two sisters and I learned how to make “War Cake” early on. I still make it today and when you go by our door and smell cinnamon and cloves, I’m more than likely making War Cake*. We kept Daddy supplied with this cake because it keeps well and when he emptied his Kit Bag when he arrived home, there in the bottom was a small piece wrapped tightly in waxed paper along with a bent picture of his “Dear Wife and Kiddies”.

Read more are: http://www.lynmuseum.ca/2017/10/02/leonard-quinn-world-war-ii-veteran/

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