Hid shrapnel in pillow, lost it when bed changed
Pte. Garfield Junkin, 11 Huron St., Lindsay, has returned home, after having suffered severe shrapnel wounds while fighting with a combination of US-Canadian paratroops in Italy.
We were advancing towards the city of Rome when we were hit hard by shrapnel, coming from a tank some 200 yards away, which was so camouflaged that it was hard to discover. Of course this Jerry was annihilated, along with his tank. But one huge shell fell about 50 yards away and got me as well as some of the other boys, I felt a stunning blow on my neck and head seemed to go numb: I thought I was called for and done for until I heard my pals talking, said Pte. Junkin.
A piece of shrapnel about two and a half inches long and an inch thick was lodged in my neck. I wanted that bit of slug for a souvenir, and I did hide it in my pillow, but one day the nurses removed all the bedding, shrapnel and all.
Pte. Junkin, who is a son of Mr. and Mrs. W.D. Junkin, was born at Bobcaygeon and attended public school there. He afterwards attended the collegiate institute in Lindsay and before the war was engaged with the T. Eaton Co., in Toronto. He enlisted at Toronto, received his basic training at Listowel and his advanced training at Ipperwash, Ont. He went overseas in October, 1943, with a detachment of infantry reinforcements and joining a US-Canadian paratroop unit he was engaged in fighting in Italy in March, 1944, and was knocked out of the fighting on May 25, while his unit was advancing towards Rome.
I did so want to see Rome. said the young soldier.
I was attached at the time to the 1st Special Service Force, the first unit to actually invade Rome. I was in a hospital at the beachhead and then removed to a hospital set up by the United States forces in the city of Naples. I was later moved to a Canadian hospital, and then to a hospital in England.
Pte. Junkin spent half a year in various hospitals. Some of the nerves in his forehead and back of the head are still dormant, but with further treatment he hopes to be ok again.
Another brother, Pte. James Junkin, is also serving with the Canadian forces.
Pte. Junkin will be remembered by many hockey fans in Lindsay and Toronto. He played with the Lindsay juniors, along with Randy Ellis and Leo Cook. He also played with the Birch Cliff teams in the Toronto hockey league. A brother, Jerry Junkin, some time ago discharged from the army, will be remembered as a member of the Boston Olympics, a team which travelled considerably throughout the United States last winter. Speaking of his experiences, Pte. Junkin reacalled the day when his unit captured a number of Germans.
They were glad to get caught and there were many old men as well as young men. They were well equipped and good fighters, but still – glad to be out of the war the easy way.
In England, Pte. Junkin met many Lindsay boys including the two Heels brothers, Harry and Gordon. The latter is now a casualty case in Christie Street hospital, Toronto. He also fought alongside an old school chum, Glen Crowe of Bobcaygeon.