Canadian Armed Forces
William (Bubba) Bacon describes his time with the Canadian military during World War II as a million dollar experience. “I wouldn’t have missed it for a million dollars, but I wouldn’t want to do it again for a million dollars.”
Bubba was born in Toronto on December 27, 1919, the younger of two children. His father a painter / decorator and his mother an office cleaner, separated when he was quite young. While he would split his time between living with each of them, he says he was raised 99 per cent of the time by his mother.
In 1940, when he was 20 years old and looking for adventure, he decided to enlist in the Canadian Militia. Promises of posting to Iceland drew him in. When it became obvious that that wasn’t going to happen, he and a few others moved over to the Canadian Scottish Regiment (16 CScotR) with hopes of being posted to Vancouver Island. However, after a brief initial training at Camp Borden north of Toronto, his unit shipped out to Debert, Nova Scotia to continue training before being sent overseas.
The Regiment arrived in Great Britain in August 1941 as part of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. The next three years were spent in garrison duties, protecting the southern coast of England and training in preparation for the assault landings on Juno Beach in Normandy. On June 6, 1944. members of Bubba’s Unit were among those in the first wave ashore on that fateful day, sustaining heavy casualties. The rest of the battalion, including Bubba, followed in the second wave advancing further inland than any other landing force that day.
Bubba’s time in France came to a sudden halt in Putot-en-Bessin when a grenade he was disarming went off. As he looked down at his right hand as it dangled from his arm, his first thought was: “This is going to break my mother’s heart.”
Back home in Toronto, Bubba studied bookkeeping at a Toronto Business School. He eventually landed a job as Information Clerk at the Toronto City Hall where he worked for the next 30 years. Bubba met and married his wife Margaret, the sister of his best friend, upon his return from active duty. They had two daughters and 2 grandsons.
Bubba became an active member of the Canadian Scottish Association and remained in contact with a number of comrades he met during service. He has traveled back to France to Putot-en-Bessin where his grenade mishap took place for reunions on a number of occasions
His message to young people today about his time in the military: “I was very happy to do it, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience. When you sign those enlistment papers, you are handing over control of your life and from then on, you do what you are told. But if it means serving your country, you do it.”