Emil Eckstadt was born in Estuary, Sask., according to his birth certificate. When he was a young lad, his family moved to a farm near Medicine Hat, Alta. and that became their homestead.
On March 27, 1941, Emil made a trip to Calgary to get some needed farm supplies. He saw a recruiting booth and stopped to make some inquiries. That was the day Emil enlisted as a soldier with the Canadian Armed Forces to serve his country.
At 24, Emil spent a portion of his army training in Vernon, B.C., before being dispatched to Brandon, Man.
Emil boarded a troopship on Dec. 13, 1941 and, 10 days later, arrived in Gourock in the United Kingdom. He was then placed with the Canadian Artillery Holding Unit where anti-tank training continued. Records obtained from Library and Archives Canada show Emil was stationed in Sicily, Italy and the United Kingdom during his military career overseas. He served with The Lorne Scots.
When in England, Emil met a charming nurse and requested permission to marry. This was granted although he had to return to Canada with his mates on demobilization, while his wife, Denise, travelled with hundreds of other war brides from Southampton, England to Halifax, Nova Scotia on the ship RMS Aquitania. They were looking for a new life and exciting adventures in Canada.
On Emil’s discharge certificate it is noted that Emil Eckstadt received several medals for his service. They were the 1939/43 Star, the Italy Star, the Defence Medal and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp. Emil’s family treasures these medals and will keep them safe in remembrance of the many sacrifices this man and so many others made so that we can live in a free country.
We will never forget their journeys and what they have done for us.
Submitted by Emil’s daughter, Roselyn (Eckstadt) Phare, Salmon Arm
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