return to Biographies
Capt. Robert Woodhouse Dudley
Born on Nov. 23, 1924 in Vernon, B.C. Grew up and was attended school in Vancouver, B.C. Joined the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada cadets in 1937 and was a boy soldier in 1939, He was a keen cadet: two or three nights per week on training; in 1939 was the youngest soldier on parade in the guard of honour for King George VI who spoke to him. Unable to go overseas (underage), he reverted to the cadets and in 1941, on the day when he wrote his last high school exam, he signed up as a reinforcement for the Seaforths. He passed quickly through the system and, when a sergeant, in the spring of 1942 he returned from overseas and was posted to Gordon Head for officer training. After passing the advanced course at Camp Borden he was promoted to lieutenant. In 1941 he and a friend were informed by the Regimental Sergeant-Major that, because of their ages, their prospects for promotion as non-commissioned officers were very limited and that they should apply as officer candidates! Only seventeen at his Officer Selection Board, but that was no problem, since he had earlier lied about his age. A When he returned as an officer to England he attended a beachmasters course at the Combined Operations School in Scotland. Seconded to the Lovat Scouts (4 Commando) for several months. Broke his back in a training accident and, after three months recuperation, he volunteered to join the Loyal Edmonton Regiment. At least satisfied that he had been with the Commandos on raids to Norway and France. To Italy: landed in Naples in 1944. Hitler Line in May.
In Holland on Apr. 24, 1945, led an attack on two farm buildings. Threw a grenade through an upstairs window, entered the front hall to find his grenade bouncing down the stairs toward him. Twenty-three wounds. To him, a slow-motion affair. After morphine and a shot of rum, was carried out by German prisoners. Battalion medical officer poured more rum, then by stretcher jeep to field hospital where he passed out. After V E Day, in a British hospital, in plaster, flat on his back, he volunteered to join the Pacific Force. Joined the postwar army: administrative jobs, School of Infantry. Airborne School in 1948. Joined 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Took a platoon of picked troops to the United States Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School in North Carolina. The best soldiers they had ever seen! In Korea Sept. 1951 as adjutant of the 1st Battalion, then commanded D Company. Much patrol activity. Compared to Europe fairly quiet, but interesting. "One was grateful to be able to take part in a war, however mundane". The unit spent 287 days in the line without a break (a record). Quite comfortable in Korea; American supplies, good food, good cooks. After the war he took a contingent of the 1st Battalion to the Coronation in 1953. Returned to Canada to regimental duties. Medical category lowered, offered promotion and a transfer to the Service Corps. Refused and asked to be retired after twenty years service.