Fighting for Canada
Before There was a Canada

  Fighting for Canada Before  There was a Canada


 Interview Sheet for my veteran

You are about to interview a veteran and you need to be ready with some questions.  Make sure you include the following at the beginning of the interview:

Date of interview:

The location of the interview:

Name of the person interviewed:

Date of Birth:

The conflict they were involved in:

Their branch of service (i.e. Army, Navy, Air Force, Merchant Navy):

Their rank: 

Where they served:

For example: “Today is June 6, 2009 and I am interviewing my Grandfather, Mr. Bill Thompson. Mr. Thompson is 85 years old and was born in November 11, 1924. My name is Jane Thompson and I will be the interviewer. Grandpa, please tell us what conflict you served in and your branch of service (pause for response). Please tell us your rank and where you served (pause for response).”

Here are some sample questions you may wish to ask:

1.  How did you feel the first day you enlisted?

2.  Who was your commanding officer?

3.  What was your job?

4.  What were the meals like?

5.  What were the areas of conflict you served in?

6.   What type of equipment did you use?

7.  What was your most frustrating experience?

8.   What injuries did you receive?

9.  How long were you on the job?  How many days did you have on leave?

10.  What medals did you receive?

Questions: Record the questions you wish to ask on this worksheet

1.  How did you…




2.  When did you…




3.  Why did you….




4.  Could you describe the photos and other memorabilia you have brought today?



































Other suggestions for a successful interview:

• Record throughout the entire interview, unless the veteran asks you to turn off the recorder.

• Never record secretly.

• Questions should be short and simple.

• Avoid questions that can be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

• Try to ask questions that begin with ‘how’, ‘when’ and ‘why’.

• Avoid leading questions that suggest a certain answer.

• Remember not to speak throughout the veteran’s interview. Nod your head in order to support the speaker.

• Don’t start the interview with questions about potentially disturbing memories.  Allow the veteran to provide context for his/her experience before asking specific questions.

• Allow the veteran time to reflect on your questions.

• Feel free to encourage the veteran to describe photos and other memorabilia during the interview. This can often prompt new memory or provide more detail to a particular story.

• Follow up questions can often expand a particular story. Consider asking: ‘When did that happen?’, ‘Did that happen to you?’, ‘What did you think about that?’ or ‘How did you do that?’.











You are ready to start your entry into the. Here is an example of a story to help you understand what you need to do.


Sample story:




            Jan de Vries arrived in Canada at age six in 1930.  Originally from Friesland in Holland, he attended East York Collegiate shortly after the Depression ended.  At the age of 19, Jan was enrolled into the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion.  He received his training in Brantford, Ontario and further received his para training in Camp Shilo, Manitoba.  His battalion was shipped overseas in July 1943 and became part of the 3rd Brigade of the 6th British Airborne Division.

                The honorable  Pte. Jan de Vries was an extremely talented, dedicated and respected paratrooper of World War 2. Despite being wounded in August 1944 by a sniper bullet, Jan returned to his unit in September of the same year.

                Jan participated in the Normandy battle of June 6th 1944, also known as D-Day.  His jump here was not his best experience as his landing was some miles off the DZ, but he managed to find his way back to the coast where he dug a trench just in time to take cover when they were shelled for the first time.  Jan fought multiple times in 1944 and in March 1945, where he survived a miraculous escape.  He was one of the sixteen thousand soldiers that jumped over the Rhine River into German home territory, where he landed, caught in the branches of a tree.  He couldn’t find his knife to cut himself free and his helmet was covering his eyes.  He hung in the trees, in a cold sweat, where he could hear the Germans sweeping the area with a machine gun.  After surviving the German shooting, two paratroopers from the British battalion came alone and helped him untangle himself and his ‘chute.  

                Today Jan de Vries is the key supporter in the Juno Beach Centre project.  It is a centre where you can find information, models, diagrams, short films and multiple displays all dedicated to the role of Canadians on Juno Beach plus Hong Kong, Italy and Holland.  This bilingual centre is a great way for the world to commemorate those who have given you life on this earth and who have fought for you.  There is no centre like it in the world and without Jan de Vries, this project may not have been possible.

I have had the honour of meeting Mr. de Vries and it was certainly a moment I will never forget.  He is not only an inspiration but a role model as well.  At the young age of 19, he was defending the country that I now have the luxury of living in.  Thanks to Jan, I have had the privilege of learning about the Second World War by a man who experienced it first hand and his stories are not as you would learn them in school.

                I would like to thank Pte. Jan de Vries for his service in WW2 as well as protecting the country we live in.  It has been an honour to write about an extraordinary man.  Thank you Jan de Vries.



Name of Veteran:

Miscellaneous information



 Type up your story and don’t forget to add the pictures or videos your have created!

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