|Ottawa Journal, November 9, 1942|
As it is just a little over a week from Remembrance Day, discovering this story is timely. There are so many good things in this article, perhaps most of all is the school pride in the response when asked if their decision was made in response to Glebe and Tech high school students enlisting a short time earlier "Nuts, we'll be in Berlin long before these guys". Incredible.
The Journal mentions ten students, but left two names off the list. Fortunately the Citizen the same day ran a similar article, and listed all ten (I guess some of the details were difficult to piece together at the last minute, as their headline mentions "Nine", but later the article says "ten" and lists ten names):
|Ottawa Citizen, November 9, 1942|
Making the story all the more real (and hitting you in the face with just how young these kids were that were volunteering to go to war), the Journal published a photo of the NHS group that were joining the forces at Easter in 1943:
|Ottawa Journal, April 24, 1943|
What a commendable story this is, that a group of friends, all around 17-18 years of age banded together to go to the enlistment office. What incredible and inspirational patriotism, bravery and valour.
The ten NHS football players who enlisted that day were: Charles W. Steacy, Mel G. White, Stanley Dorrance, Norman Herridge, Gerald Bower Armstrong, Ken Schryer, Joseph Foster Morris, Bernard "Buster" Lucas, Ed Cordukes and Don McCooeye. R.S. MacLarty was on the football team and later enlisted separately, while future coverage also mentions that fellow Nepean students Henry "Harry" Rosewarne, Raymond Traversy, and William G. Humphreys who were not on the football team, also enlisted around this time as well, and were later photographed as part of the larger group (above).
Of course there were many other Nepean High School students who enlisted in the war at various times, but it is the uniqueness of this story that stands out.
Though they enlisted in the fall, all high school students were allowed to complete their final year of high school before beginning their training. The RCAF also made sure not to separate friends, and grouped them for training together, commencing in April of 1943.
So just to fill in more background on the boys, that Nepean boys senior football team lost out in the semi-finals of the Ottawa board playoffs in 1942, but they did have a significant victory late in the season, which I've crudely cropped the article for their big win, which occurred in front of 1,500 fans (!!!), which of course you would never see for a high school game nowadays.
|Ottawa Journal, October 17, 1942, recounting|
the Nepean High School upset victory over
|November 7, 1942|
|August 11, 1944|