Skip to content

Remembering Dad and the War on Remembrance Day

Remembering Dad on this day - and all days.
Giggs Veteran
Leslie John Giggs

As a child I remember to the best of my ability.

Dad was Leslie John Giggs and he was a gunner during part of the war- and then he was designated to a squadron on the front lines. He hated the food and told the cook so. His officer in command inquired how they could change it as supplies came in sparse.

Dad said he noted where dogs game and went through the enemy lines. The officer said Dad could be involved with the procuring and cooking. So he took 3 or 4 men with him and did this. The meals improved. He and his buds crossed the lines and got chicken, eggs, and whatever they could find.

Later the officers approached Dad and friends with new orders. They were to go into enemy territory and find all the stashed ammunition dumps, hidden in barns, store houses, anything. And blow all of it up. However they were to split up. They did as they were ordered.

As I understand all were eventually caught or killed. Dad was not sure about one man but didn’t know what happened to him. Dad attempted to return to his squadron by then they were gone. He later found out they were killed.

He made an attempt to find is way to Holland to connect with the underground.

En route he obviously was met with many close calls. He would never talk about this. He hid in an underground culvert under a road, where boxes of olives were stashed. He stuffed his pockets and socks so he hidden something to eat, and stayed hidden.

When he returned home – he would not eat olives.

He made it to Holland and was hidden in the basement of a Dutch family. He was there for considerable time. The enemy knew he was somewhere. It was very dangerous so he would not move. The family were very good to him and he became fond of all of them. Somehow they managed to get him out.

Mom and I met him at the Edmonton train station.

He brought back with him one black a carved onyx ring, a small cup embossed with of a town in France, a crystal necklace with round beads connected by a handmade link chain, a pair of Dutch wooden shoes for a 5 year old me. There was also a pair of black ones showing the white wood underneath, in a leaf pattern. Also a German dagger and Luger pistol. I don’t know what happened to them.

When we lived in Cloverdale, one evening we went to a movies. The ticket man was apparently the spitting image of a German officer Dad had encountered. Dad froze.

Dad then worked for Grandad Giggs’ Farm and we live in a small house on the farm. Then Dad and Mom decided we would move to Edmonton where Dad worked for Calgary Power. Then we moved again to Vancouver for a short time. They then decided to put a new highway throughout our property.

Again we moved to Cloverdale and after time veterans’ affairs were approached. Dad was able to purchase a hobby farm in Cloverdale BC. This was a special program for veterans. While Dad was away at the war, Mom worked as a mechanics in Dahl’s garage in Chauvin.

Mom and I lived in a hotel because it was too far to work in town and live on the farm. Greta Dahl looked after me when mom worked. They had a daughter named Gwen and we were inseparable. She had a big white dog and the three of us were always together.

Mom always sent pictures to Dad overseas that he carried with him.