On Sunday January 17th at 9pm Eastlink TV premiered our latest documentary "The Citizen Soldiers". The program tells the story of the West Nova Scotia Regiment's service during the Second World War. We were very fortunate to be able to speak to some of the surviving veterans who served with the regiment. Presently they are all in their early to mid 90's.
One of those Nova Scotia veterans we were fortunate to interview is 95 year old Harry Eisenhauer. Harry is the last surviving war time officer of the regiment and he also has the distinction of being the regiments final war time commanding officer. It was amazing to listen to Harry speak about a short speech he gave along with then Premier Angus L MacDonald in Halifax after disembarking from the troop ship in 1945.
During the war, Harry lost a good friend who served with him in the regiment. That soldier and good friend was Harvey Jones. Harvey was a graduate of Dartmouth High and served with distinction during the Italian campaign. Harvey Jones received the Military Cross for bravery while fighting at "the gully" near Ortona. Sadly Harry's friend Harvey would be killed in action by mortar fire a year later on December 4th, 1944 in Northern Italy and he lies buried in Ravenna War Cemetery.
Harvey's death was a profound loss. He was a valuable leader and commander of B Company, a good friend to many and a cherished son and brother to his family in Dartmouth.
A testament to friendship, Harry never lost contact with Harvey's family. He contacted Harvey's mother and two sisters regularly over the years. In fact, Harry put us in contact with Harvey's only surviving immediate family member, his sister Audrey Hemming of Dartmouth who provided us with family photos which were used in the documentary.
When I look at these photos of Harvey Jones, I see the eyes of a bright young man who had the potential to do anything with his life but unfortunately he had that potential taken from him. Now all we can do is "wonder". In 1989 Harry Eisenhauer returned to Italy to visit his friends grave and after the visit he wrote a poem titled "A visit from an old friend" which you'll find below thanks to Harry's daughter Janice. I think the poem is Harry's way of putting that "wonder" to rest as the poem gives Harvey Jones some final words which are directed toward those who survived the conflict. - Dale Stevens