Phelan Family

Name: Harold Richard Phelan

D.O.B: February 3, 1919

Location: Sinnott’s Road (now Green Meadows) P.E.I

Parents: Ambrose and Melvina (Stewart) Phelan.

Service Number F3891

Interview Conducted- March. 09, 2011 with Paulette Kelly (daughter)   

            Harold enlisted in the Army on August 1, 1941 at the age of 22. He served with the North Novas as a Private. His training camps were Beach Grove PEI, Petawawa (Ontario), Yarmouth (Nova Scotia) and Aldershot. He departed from the port of Halifax for overseas service in October, 1944. He served in France, Belgium, Holland & Germany. He was wounded with shrapnel in his right knee and was hospitalized twice for bronchial pneumonia. He had returned to the same port in January, 1946.

            When he started farming it meant following a horse all day, which he loved, but was unable to do because of his damaged knee. This is why he had to do carpentery work instead, which was still hard on his knee, but meant a shorter work day. Being in the War changed his life forever. He didn’t like to talk about those times. His only way of dealing with it was to block it out as much as he could. His daughter Paulette says; “I don’t imagine there was any debriefing for soldiers after the World Wars to help soldiers to deal with the horrors they seen.” It affected him physically and emotionally all his life. Her dad would never allow guns on their farm. She said she can remember when she was in high school and her class was going skeet shooting and she was wondering how she was ever going to get her father to sign the permission slip. Her Dad would never eat meat unless it was really well done and didn’t like chicken because he told of too many times when they didn’t have time to cook food before they had to break camp and leave and they’d have to eat the meat half raw or starve. According to her dad, the hardest part was having to kill young men that were no different than him besides speaking another language. She is very proud of her father for serving his Country in the Second World War and she is very proud of her mother, Marguerite (Kenny) Phelan, who served her country working in an ammunitions factory in Montreal during the war.

            Three of her uncles served in the Navy in the Second World War as well. They worked as carpenters in the shipyards in Halifax. Her Uncle Hazelton went as far as Newfoundland on a ship; which was considered overseas because it was not a Province of Canada at that time.

            Her father’s brother-in-law, John Sharkey, also served in the Second World War in the Army. He was a prisoner in a Japanese War Camp. He was reported as missing in action and while he was able to send word that he was a prisoner of war it was two months later before the message actually reached his wife, Aunt Evelyn (Phelan) Sharkey. He was born in Corraville, (Cardigan area), but bought a farm on the Settlement Road near Morell after returning from overseas. His nephew published an extensive article about his war experience in The Island Magazine. It was entitled; “A Soldier’s Story” By John Sharkey.

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