Bill Jones, as did many others, felt that the issues of World War I had never been satisfactorily settled. When more conflict came, and he had little doubt that it would, he would re-enlist immediately. This was something that he and Helen had agreed on.
During the 1930s, Hitler became chancellor of Germany. He began flexing his elbows determined to take over territories outside of Germany but where Germans were living. The world breathlessly sat back on its heels wondering what he'd do next. The final 'next' came on September 1, 1939, when his tanks charged into Poland. On September 3, 1939, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany.
Jones knew the time had come but his biggest problem to enlisting would be his age (44) and the fact that he lost an eye at Hill 70, in 1917. Remember, he was awarded a second Distinguished Conduct Medal after that event.
He felt his best course of action was to beard the dragon in Ottawa. With a farewell to Helen, on July 6, 1940 he left with $9.00 in his pocket (About $158.48 by today's standards.). He hitch-hiked and camped to save money and the following letters describe his adventures.
"Port Hope (Post Office), Ont.
9:30 a.m., July 7th/40
Just arrived from Newcastle. Making very good progress. Hope to reach Kingston tonight (maybe).
It was a joyous washing up by a babbling brook this morning. Just as I finished along came a flock of geese to see this strange creature splashing in the water. They seemed to hold a pow-wow and evidently decided it would be better to keep their distance.
I sat at the corner of Lakeside Point Drive and reminisced while eating a sandwich. It was a real treat--but how much better it would have been to have you with an old-time lunch and dwell on the shores until midnight. [Ahh, he was a romantic at heart!] Never mind, we are going to have some more of those times.
Please excuse this scrawl--the government doesn't believe in supplying hitch-hikers with smooth-top desks--it is plain, open and very, very rough and full of cracks.
The last Samaritan was a hearse from Oshawa. He turned into the Catholic cemetery just before he reached Port Hope. I made a clean get-away.
Well Sweetheart, I hope it won't be long before you have some real good news.
Heaps of love and all the thanks I am capable of giving for all the thoughtful things you packed.
Keep up your hopes and courage.
Copyright Karen Rempel Arthur 2018