William Lambert Stanfield was born in an East York home on May 5, 1924 to William Leonard Stanfield and Jane Moorehouse who along with his sister Peggy Joyce resided in the Broadview and Danforth area of Toronto.
His fondest memories are of his time spent at Earl Kitchen School, but due to job shortages, the family was forced to move around, a lot. So aged 13 at the end of grade eight, he entered the work force where he worked in the cooler of a dairy (six days a week) and at other odd jobs until the war broke out.
Already in the militia prior to the war, he enlisted with the Queens Own Rifles in 1940, even though he was only 15, so he could serve oversees. He was posted in Newfoundland to protect vital infrastructure with their WWI guns and “wooden cannons”. His Mother’s report of his underage status eventually forced his return to Canada where he did guard duty and lots of training, including time on Vancouver Island.
The day after his 18th birthday he took his new rank of corporal with him and enlisted with the Lorne Scots TFD R.R. of the Canada (Royal Regiment) and was soon posted to southern England where he trained as a carrier driver until the Normandy invasion.
He landed with the second regiment as part of the second wave. He fought with them and through luck and fate he managed to: survive a nervous sentry’s friendly fire; a cancelled recon to no-man’s land (the sergeant was killed an hour before he was to go); an 88 shell that took out 8 of his comrades; and dysentery during an attack! Finally, on August 8th, the day after the famous Monty’s moonlight breakout that precipitated the closing of the Falaise Gap, he received a machine gun bullet to the thigh. This ended his time in Normandy but this lucky shot left him with no residual damage.
While convalescing in England he learned of his father’s passing, brought on by the receiving of the telegram about his injury. After some much deserved and longer than permitted R&R with his cousins and “friends”, he was shipped back to Canada and discharged in September 1945.
Once back in Toronto, he worked a series of odd jobs including as a glacier, a profession that he would continue part-time throughout the rest of his working life. A colleague (Ken Wardle his future brother-in-law) introduced him to Shirley Wardle and soon after landed his dream job with the North York Fire Department. In 1951 with a permanent job now, he and Shirley moved to the community of Wexford on Burnley Avenue to live out their lives.
Bill spent 32 years, most of those as a Captain at 5 Hall, generating many more stories including: the infamous cattle train wreck (1950’s) that required him to use his shooting skills to euthanize trapped and injured animals. He worked at Toronto’s first propane explosion at the Rutherford train yard (circa 1960s) and the tanker explosion on the Don Valley Parkway (1970s), among many other “stories”.
He died May 13, 2020.