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The Jamieson Brothers of Canso

  Sergeant James Edward Jamieson
  Regiment Number: R/65791
  Born: August 17, 1913
  Enlisted: Early 1940
  Served with the Royal Canadian Air Force
  Killed in Action: July 1, 1941
  Cemetery: Malta Memorial, Malta
  Commemorated on page 33 of the Second
  World War Book of Remembrance.

  Sergeant/Staff Sergeant Joseph Thomas Jamieson
  Regiment Number: F/13255
  Born: September 8, 1916
  Enlisted: September 10, 1939

  Served with the 86th Antigonish Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery;
  1st Canadian Paratroop Battalion; 1st Canadian Special Service
  Battalion; West Nova Scotia Regiment.

James Edward and Joseph Thomas were the sons of Helen R. (Reid: 1882 - 1956) of Lossiemouth, Scotland and Roy Edward Jamieson (1884 - 1965) of Canso. James and his sister were born in Canso, while Joe was born in Rustico, PEI. Their father worked for the Maritimes National Fish Company and spent several months in PEI buying mackerel. On one of these occasions, Joe was born. The family returned to Canso and lived there until 1919 when their father was transferred to Port Hawkesbury. While Roy Jamieson built a new home, Helen and the three children went to the Reid family home in Lossiemouth, Scotland. They returned to Port Hawkesbury in 1924. In 1930, the family returned to Canso where Roy began his own fish business.
For two years before the Second World War began, Joe was working underground in the Lacey Gold Mines at Chester Basin. He was taking an apprenticeship in mining, working eight hours a day, six days a week and receiving “the big salary of fifty cents a day with board”. When WWII broke out, Joe “jumped at the chance of more than doubling [his] salary”. 
Two days after his 23rd birthday, Joe enlisted with the Antigonish 86th Battery in Canso. Early in 1940, his brother James enlisted with the Canadian Air Force and served overseas as a navigator on an RAF bomber.
On July 1, 1941, Sergeant James Jamieson was flying out of Malta toward Egypt on a bombing mission when his plane went down. His body was never recovered.
Joe stayed with the 86th Battery until 1942 when he was accepted by the First Canadian Paratroop Battalion. He was stationed at Landsdown Park, Ottawa. 
Joseph Jamieson, February 2002: “I was on my way home on leave when I was asked to assist in recruiting for the Special Service Force (FSSF) as I had already been through the routine. After reviewing hundreds of applicants, I was informed that I would be returning to Fort Harrison, Helena, Montana with them. It was there that the force [The Devil’s Brigade] was brought into being.
“Our first major battle was in Italy, Mount La Difensa, a German strong hold covering all the openings to the Lira Valley. We completed this mission with many killed and wounded.” The movie, Devil’s Brigade, was made about this battle. 
On Christmas Eve 1943, Joe recalls being on the left flank of the West Novies during the Battle of Ortana. Throughout Italy, Joe enjoyed providing relief to the people, particularly the children and the elderly. Until he reached Rome, he found the villagers and towns people poor and confused about the current events.
“From there on, we fought along the mountains to Monte Cassino and then we were sent to Anzio where we stayed for three months. After the break out on May 23, 1944, we led the armies in the attack on Rome and on June 4, 1944, we were the first troops to enter Rome.

“After a short rest we were than sent to an embarking area South of Naples for the preparation for the Invasion of Southern France. We lead the invasion by paddling ashore in rubber boats at midnight and taking out the coastal guns on the outer islands covering the landing area. After landing, we proceeded in following the Germans who were retreating and finally reached the Italian border. After completing the mission, the force was disbanded in Menton in December 1944. The Canadians going back to the Canadian Units and the Americans to their units.” 

Citation for Bronze Star: Joseph T. Jamieson F13255 Sergeant, Canadian Army, Sixth Company, Third Regiment, First Special Service Force for heroic achievement in combat on 7 September 1944, in the vicinity of St. Agnes, France. In preparation for a dawn assault on a strongly fortified enemy pill box, it was necessary for Sgt. Jamieson’s company to make a pre-dawn advance through a heavily mined area. With his section in the lead, Sergeant Jamieson moved out in front with full knowledge of the ever present danger of setting off a mine and successfully lead the entire company through the minefield without a casualty. Due to Sergeant Jamieson’s cool proficiency and disregard for personal safety, the company was placed in position for its dawn attack.
“At this time, I was in a hospital in Cannes having been wounded in October and released in December 27, 1944. After going through several rehabs, I returned to England and then to Belgium and Holland where I joined the West Nova Scotia Regiment. I came home with them [and was discharged] in October 1945.”
Joe’s rank in the Canadian Army, of which he was always a member, was Sergeant, and while in the Special Services, was Staff Sergeant. Being the oldest in his company, he was called ‘Old Sarge’. Joe was awarded several medals, including Paratroop wings (Both Canadian and American), US Bronze Star, 1939-45 Star, France-Germany Star, Italy Star, CVSM and Clasp, Cententennial Medal and US Special Service Tag. 
During the war, Joe served in Kiska, North Pacific, North Africa, Cassablanca to Oran, Naples to Rome, Southern France from Degrasse to Menton, Italian Border, England, Belgium and Holland.
“After the war, I spent long periods in Camp Hill Hospital, and went to college taking a degree in Commerce. My first job was Collector of Customs at Canso. After five years I was not willing to transfer, so I joined the Commercial Cable Company, a trans-Atlantic Cable company, for eight years. Again, I was asked to transfer to New York and I said no.”
Joe married Sadie Feltmate of Hazel Hill in 1950 and together they had three boys. In 1964, Joe moved to Guysborough, accepting a position at the Department of Fisheries. Now, retired, he keeps busy with his many hobbies and interests.
         In November 1999, Joe had the privilege of being selected to partake in a pilgrimage to Sicily and Italy to visit the Canadian war graves. He
         represented the FSSF and laid the wreath for 169 Canadian war dead at Anzio. A few years earlier, George Hees, the Minister of Veterans
         Affairs, arranged with the Governor of Malta for Joe to lay a wreath at the Malta Memorial Veletta, Malta where the names of all the RCAF who
         were killed in action, including his brother Edward’s, are engraved.

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Copyright@2005 Diana Lynn Tibert