Scoggins, Pte. C.J.
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"Sirs, My father joined the US Marine Corps in late 1939, but was injured
during training, shortly after graduation. He and two friends hitched to
Detroit from Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, crossed the border to Canada and joined
the Canadian Army. Initially, he took his training with the Essex Scottish,
and later was reassigned to the Perth Regiment. He shipped to England with
them and mainly pulled shore watch duty. Upon change of guard, the soldier
being relieved would hand off his helmet, gear and rifle to his
replacement...not enough gear to go around. Following Pearl Harbour, and
prior to D Day, he transferred to the 101st Airborne, then in England.
Anyway, I am trying to assemble all of his old uniforms from as many
original pieces as possible. I've all but completed the American outfits,
since he managed to hang on to much of them. However, his Canadian things
were stolen in the States after the war. As you might imagine it is
difficult to find anyone with much knowledge (let alone the equipment
itself) in Oklahoma.
My purpose in contacting you is to see if you could put me in touch with
someone that would be able to help me obtain appropriate headgear, battle
dress and information regarding tartan, shoulder flashes, etc. I've got old
pictures but they are, of course, black and white. I've also tried to find
certain things in "Canuk", but without success. Dad is still living, but
details get fuzzy after 60 years and three services.
Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very
Edmond, Oklahoma 73013
"Dad left home and joined the Corps in mid 1939 and was discharged in early
1940 due to an eye injury. He rturned to Pauls Valley, OK, where he and a
friend named Jack Bills decided to go down to the University of Oklahoma and
try out for the wrestling team. They didn't make it, but Jack got a
scholarship to Stanford, I believe. Anyway, Dad said he was going to
Canada to enlist and Jack said that he was going with him. They were joined
by another friend named J. C. Neighbors from Pauls Valley, and decided to
hitch hike to Quebec to join the Foreign Legion, of all things. After some
thought and debate (I'm sure it was very intelectual and deep among three
teenagers..two 17 and one 18) they decided to go to Canada and fly
Spitfires. Dad pawned his watch and bought them a bus ticket which got them
halfway to Detroit where they crossed the border and went to the recruiting
office in Windsor.
There they met the Recruiter from the Essex Scottish....and recruiters are
recruiters in any army from any time. They told the three that flight
school was no problem, but the acceptance process would take a couple of
months. In the meantime, they could go through Infantry Training, get paid
and wear these great uniforms. When there papers came through they would
be sent to flight school. Dad (A239020) and Jack (A23901) said OK, but J.
C. said no thanks, and went back south to stay with his brother in Chicago
until the mysterious papers came through. They went to basic and advanced
infantry training outside London, and attempted to drain the county of all
its stock of LaBatts and Canadian Cream.
Then one day that RSM showed up and informed them that the Perth Regiment
needed a draft of replacements for overseas duty. A list of names were
read, and they were now in Company C, The Perth Regiment. As you can
imagin, there were cries of "What about Flight School", and "They can't do
this to us", heard through the night. Kilts, etc. were taken from them, and
they shipped out soon after. J.C. Neighbors got his flight school papers
and flew Spitfires. He was killed over England in 1943 trying to land his
badly shot up Spitfire.
Dad made a point to mention a young Canadian named Johnny Aufrett..a good
friend killed in Italy. Also, an instructor in Infantry Training who had
only one eye. He lost track of him, but said he was a good man. I'm going
to pull out old scrapbooks and try to find some Perth pictures, but dad said
he didn't know anyone who owned a camera, so he's not sure if he has
any...I'll keep looking for more U.S. personnel info. I know there are more
Canadian pictures if I can find them.
Shortly after Pearl harbor U.S. citizens serving in the Canadian Army were
given the option of transfering to the U.S. Army. Sanchez stayed, and Dad
and Jack Bills transferred. The two were assigned to an M.P. outfit in
London. Acouple of months later, on a Saturday night London street patrol,
Dad saw a guy jump out of a three story hotel window holding a handkerchief
over his head like a parachute. It turned out to be a 101 trooper. Anyway
Dad knew a nurse who said she could get him into see Col. Sink, Regimental
C.O. of the 506th. He reported to him and Sink asked him why in the hell
would you give up what you are doing to be a paratrooper. Dad told him that
he couldn't go back to Pauls Valley and tell his father that he had done
nothing but raid whorehouses and break up fights during the war (he said
there were times later when fist fight and whorehouse duty looked pretty
good in retrospect). Jack Bills stayed in the M.P.s.
Anyway, he went to jump school in England, and landed somewhere around St.
Come du Mont. Wounded outside Carentan, he was evaced to England
(picture). He returned to his unit in time for Market Garden, landed
outside of Son, was hit in late October in Opheusden and evaced to Petit
Mormolon, France...Then to England. Back to the unit in November '44, and
got trucked to Bastogne in late December...hit in Noville and evaced to
France...then back to England (picture).
Rejoined the unit and finished the war in Bertchesgarten(picture).
Like I said probobly more than you wanted to know, but there it is. Thanks
for the info on the book and the reunion. I'll sure tell Dad, and I mailed
the pictures this morning.