Transcript: People of Ontario: War Memories of the Hasty P's | Oct 31, 1990

(music plays)
[explosions]

Fast clips show old images of war.

War memorabilia appears on screen. An old map showing Holland also appears. An old edition of the Toronto Daily Star appears with the headline “Cost 25,000 men to take Sicily.”

A fast clip shows images of the musical score of “Bless’em all” and books about war.

The title “War Memories of the Hasty P’s. The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment” appears on screen against the cap badge of The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment.

A caption reads “Joining the Hasty P’s.”

(music plays)

The caption changes to “George Ponsford.”

George is in his late seventies, with short wavy white hair and a moustache. He wears gray trousers, a black suit jacket with a badge, a white shirt, a gray sweater vest and a blue and orange striped tie.

He says IN THOSE DAYS IT WAS
BEFORE I JOINED THE ARMY.
AND BEFORE I KNEW
TOO MUCH ABOUT CANADA,
I WAS HONEST.
AND THE RECRUITING SERGEANT
AT TRENTON AIRPORT,
HE SAID, HOW MUCH
EDUCATION DO YOU HAVE?
I SAID, NOT VERY MUCH.
HE SAID, I'M AFRAID
YOU'RE NO GOOD TO US.
HE SAID GO AND
JOIN THE ARMY.
[laughing]
SO, I WENT DOWN THE ROAD
AND GOT TO TRENTON
AND I SAW
GENERAL GRAHAM.
THERE HE IS ON THE
WALL OVER THERE.
HE WAS A MAJOR THEN.

A picture of General Graham appears on screen. He’s in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short wavy gray hair in a military uniform.

George says AND HE SAID, LOOK,
THEY'RE SIGNING FELLAS UP
IN PICTON TOMORROW,
GET DOWN THERE.
I SAID, WELL,
30 MILES.
WELL HOW DO I
GET DOWN THERE?
HE SAID WELL THERE'S A
TROOP TRAIN GOING TONIGHT,
NO ONE'S GOING TO COUNT SO,
I WAS ON THE TROOP TRAIN.
AND NEXT MORNING, THE
11TH OF OCTOBER 1939,
I JOINED THE HASTY P'S,
AND I NEVER REGRETTED IT.

A black and white picture of George with the Hasty P’s appears with the caption “CSM George Ponsford.”

George says WELL, TO ME THEY
WERE JUST A FINE,
TOP CLASS BUNCH
OF JOKERS.
AND WE WERE ALL FARM BOYS
OR MINERS OR WHATEVER
YOU'D LIKE TO CALL US.
YOU KNOW, WE JUST CLICKED
IN AND I STAYED WITH
HASTY P'S LIKE THROUGH
SIX YEARS OF WAR.
WOUNDED FOUR TIMES.
WENT FROM PRIVATE UP
TO SERGEANT MAJOR.
YOU CAN'T SAY YOU ENJOYED
WAR, BUT IF YOU HAVE TO GO,
WELL YOU COULDN'T
GET A BETTER BUNCH
THAN THE HASTY P'S.
THAT'S WHY I'M SO PLEASED
AND I'M PROUD TO BE BACK HERE.
AFTER 50 YEARS, THERE'S
NOT MANY REGIMENTS
GOING TO DO THIS
TO BE ABLE TO SAY,
WELL WE STARTED
50 YEARS AGO.
AND I'M LOOKING
FORWARD ON SUNDAY
TO SEE HOW MANY OF
THEM THERE ARE.
WE CALLED OURSELVES THE
'39ers BECAUSE YOU KNOW,
THAT'S WHEN WE JOINED.
UNFORTUNATELY WE'VE
GOT A LOT OF MEN
IN THE WHITE
BATTALION UNFORTUNATELY.
THAT'S WHAT WE CALL THE
CHAPS WHO'VE PASSED ON.
SO, WE'RE LOOKING
FORWARD TO SEE.
THERE'S ONE OVER
HERE FROM VANCOUVER,
HE WAS MY LAST COMPANY
COMMANDER ACTUALLY.
IN THE 22 MONTHS WE WERE
FIGHTING I HAD 14 COMPANY
COMMANDERS AND HE
WAS THE LAST ONE, JIM.
AND BILL GRAYDON,
HE'S HERE,
HE WAS ONE OF
THEM TOO.
BUT, I DON'T KNOW,
YOU TAKE AWARDS.
YOU ONLY REMEMBER
THE GOOD.
YOU ONLY REMEMBER THE
GOOD, THAT'S ALL.
WELL YOU DON'T REMEMBER
DODGING THE BULLETS
AND LYING IN THE MUD
AND THAT SORT OF THING.
THE GOOD FOR ME, WAS BEFORE
WE STARTED TO FIGHT
AND AFTER WE
WERE FIGHTING.
I WAS A GREAT MAN FOR
DANCING AND I THINK
I'VE BEEN IN
MORE DANCE HALLS
THAN YOU'VE GOT
HAIR ON YOUR HEAD!
YOU KNOW, I ENJOYED
THAT AND YOU KNOW,
I WASN'T GOING TO POKE MY
NOSE WHERE IT WASN'T WANTED
AND I USED TO GO DOWN
AND TALK TO PEOPLE
AND I JUST ENJOYED IT.
BUT, WHEN WAR WAS OVER,
LITTLE GEORGE
WAS ON THE FIRST BLOKE
TO TRY AND GET OUT.
AND I GOT OUT.

(music plays)

The end credits roll.

Editors, Jim Crewe and Neill McWilliams.

Producer and director, Inge Johnson.

A production of TV Ontario.

Copyright. The Ontario Authority. 1990.

Watch: People of Ontario: War Memories of the Hasty P's