B/66119 Rifleman Russell George McCallum was born in Toronto on 17 September 1921, the son of Fredrick Lee McCallum and Mildred Alma Pratt although by the time he enlisted his parents had separated and he was living with his mother at 57 St Anne’s Road, Toronto.
McCallum attended Brock Ave Public School, Toronto; Central Technical School, Toronto (for two years); and St Andrew’s College (Aurora) for one year. After this, he worked at the Hamilton Gear & Machine Company as a mechanic. After the war, he wanted to become a musician.
At 16, McCallum enlisted in the band of the Toronto Scottish Regiment, serving from February through September 1939 but was underage and discharged when the regiment went overseas. “Junior” McCallum then joined The Queen’s Own Rifles in November 1940 as a teenage drummer in the Band. He enlisted in the active army on 13 January 1941 and though still underage when the Regiment sailed for England, he was taken along.
Some notes from his military file:
- 13 Jan 1941 – Enlisted in the QOR active army
- 29 July 1941 – Landed at Gourock, Scotland
- 15 August 1941 – Given landing leave
- 11 November 1941 – Given first privileged leave
- 18 December 1941 – Confined to barracks for five days and forfeited six days pay for being Absent Without Leave for 7 hours and 30 minutes
- 12-31 October 1942 – Motorcycle course
- 22 January – 3 February 1943 – Privileged leave
- Pay increased to $1.50 per day
- 7 September 1943 – Absent without leave 1 day 8 hour – Confined to barracks 5 days and forfeited 12 days pay
- 6 June 1944 – Killed in action on Juno Beach
He was one of the youngest QOR riflemen and was killed on D-Day at Juno Beach, aged 20. He is buried in Beny-Sur-Mer Canadian Cemetery, grave reference I. B. 4.
He is buried in Beny-sur-Mer Cemetery: Grave I.B.4
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That’s my uncle I never met…. my father’s step brother
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