They had set the target up out in the shallow lake beyond the end of the dock. It was time for the end of the weekend shooting practice/competition. It was girls against boys, and so far on average the girls were winning the weekly friendly event. The boys were getting a bit antsy about their record; after all, they were soldiers and had a reputation to uphold. It was 1940, and these boys would be heading off to Europe to fight for King and country. During the week they were training hard, shooting, drilling, and camping out. On weekends, families in the local community billeted them.

The “girls” were my mother and her sister Enid. The soldiers were predominantly from the Lake Superior Regiment. Mom gets a mischievous twinkle in her eye when she recounts this tale of winning against the soldiers. I’m not so sure the soldiers would have been telling their fellows back at the base with quite the same cheer, if at all. In the heat of battle did they remember those carefree weekends, when their targets were painted boards overlooking a serene lake? Or, did the mud, smoke, and blood of their reality wipe it out?

The girls came by their shooting prowess honestly as my mother and her sister used to shoot at a target in their father’s garage for fun. It was a frequent occurrence; the sisters taking turns firing their dad’s rifle until one day a bullet ricocheted and went between their dad’s legs. They didn’t cause any damage, but target practice moved outdoors after that.

The story of the soldiers came up recently when I was cleaning out and organizing the 800 plus books in our house, some Mom’s, mostly mine.

Amongst her books was a small green autograph book, obviously old. I flipped through it; there were some poems about the war and a number of signatures. I took it to Mom and asked her to have a look at it.


A little while later she came and told me about billeting soldiers during the war. The word was spread through the community that the army needed locals to help with billeting soldiers on weekends while the barracks were being built. My mom’s family had a summer camp on Lake Superior they called Ishkibble, and they set up a big tent that could shelter four soldiers while the family stayed in their small cabin.

Mom isn’t one to give full disclosure when asked about her past and experiences. But she does come up with amazing stories such as this when something unexpected triggers a specific memory. I am learning to have a notebook handy to jot down a basic outline of the memory.  When someone has lived 100 years, they have a few stories to tell.

She said she often wonders what happened to them. Did they survive the war? Are any of them still alive? The title of this post is the motto of the Lake Superior Regiment in which many of the men named below served.

I am going to list all but one of those names here in case someone reads this and knows them. I hope I have transcribed the names and initials correctly, as they are handwritten and I do not understand some of the initials. With some help from my local Legion, I was able to learn that the numbers following the names are their service numbers. I have added a short note under a name where Mom remembers more.

The name I have not included in the list, but have added a photo of his signature, was Pte. Ernest William Goddard, H195284, whom my mother married on 31 March 1942. Ernest signed the book on 24 October 1943, and shortly thereafter he was shipped out to join the Allied forces in Europe. He was one of the Canadian soldiers at the Battle of Normandy on 6 June 1944. Of the 14,000 Canadians who stormed Juno Beach, 340 died and another 574 were wounded, one of whom was Ernest Goddard. After the war ended he returned to Canada in the fall of 1945. As a result of the head wound he received on D-Day, he died of a brain tumor on 30 November 1947.


At the end of the list of names I have included one of the hand-written poems found in the autograph book which I feel best fits this post.


Pte. G. C. Banks H41393

Lake Superior Regiment

A Company


Airforce Air Craftsman 1st Class. R. E. Browning RS1630

Royal Canadian Air Force

M2 I.T.S  (I don’t know what these initials mean)

Regina, Saskatchewan


Pte. L. E. Gibbon No. H456T4

Company Head Quarters

Lake Superior Regiment

No 5 Platoon

Camp Borden, Ontario


Pte. J. P. Heath- A. 46078 (Joe)

Lake Superior Regiment

Canadian Active Service Forces

Port Arthur

Camp Borden, Ontario


Pte J. C. Ives H45615

Company Head Quarters

Lake Superior Regiment

No 1 Platoon

Camp Borden, Ontario


Sgt. William Alexander Jack

OOCH of C, (I don’t know what these initials mean)

Canadian Active Service Forces

Base Post Office Canada

(Was a childhood friend of my Mom from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Mom remembers that he was part of the Scottish Regiment and wore a kilt.)


Leading Air Craftsman- T. C. Johnston

No. 19 Elementary Flying School

Verdin, Manitoba


Pte. G. W. Pearce H46350

Lake Superior Regiment

Canadian Active Service Forces

A Company

Port Arthur, Ontario

28/9/40 (date signed book)


Pte. F. A. Richardson H46079 (Frank)

Company Head Quarters

Lake Superior Regiment

No 6 Platoon

Port Arthur

Camp Borden, Ontario

28 Sept 1040 AD  (date signed book)

(Frank became a good friend of Ernest Goddard and stood up for him at Mom and Ernest’s wedding in 1942)


E. Sergeant- Teletype V9550

Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Service

Winnipeg, Manitoba


Pte. W. A. Shaw H94740

A Company

5 A Platoon


Val Cartier, Quebec


Pte. J. Walsh

Battalion Head Quarters

Lake Superior Regiment

Canadian Active Service Forces

Camp Borden, Ontario


Pte. G. A. Wilson H46152

1st Battalion

Lake Superior Regiment

Port Arthur, Ontario


The Things That Make a Soldier Great

by Edgar A. Guest


The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die,

To face the flaming cannon’s mouth nor ever question why,

Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red,

The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,

The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall:

‘Tis these that make a soldier great. He’s fighting for them all.


‘Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave;

‘Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave;

For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam

As when behind the cause they see the little place called home.

Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run,

You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun.


What is it through the battle smoke the valiant soldier sees?

The little garden far away, the budding apple trees,

The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play,

Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray.

The golden thread of courage isn’t linked to castle dome

But to the spot, where’er it be–the humble spot called home.


And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there

And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air;

The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green,

And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been.

He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call,

And only death can stop him now–he’s fightin’ for them all.



1 thought on “Inter Pericula Intrepidi (Fearless in the Face of Danger)”

  1. Patricia c. Kidd

    Oh Kelly—-how really wonderful! I’m so glad your mum can share stories like that with you. In her mind, all these people live again. The poem at the end is so true of what I know from Piet’s reminiscences, too. Thanks so much!

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