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Wartime

Touted as being "the war to end all wars" World War I was soon followed by World War II. Wedon't have much information about how the town's people were affected by the first war but Mrs.Hannah LaBrash recounts one of her experiences during the second world war."At the beginning of the war, Cecil and a man named Taylor were hired by INCO to guard thedams against bombing. It would have been quite a coup for our enemies to stop INCO frommaking supplies that could be used in the war effort."

 

"At first, Cecil and Mr. Taylor stayed in a one-room bunk house that INCO had built especially forthat purpose near the dams. Even though we had a house rented in Nairn at the time, I stayedthat summer in a tent to be close to my husband. Jim was just a baby and it wasn't easy tocamp out with a young one that close to the river, especially worrying about the war.""That summer Cecil built us a three-room house and we moved into it in late August. I was surethankful to get a roof over my head by then, and to have my furniture and things around meagain."

 

"That year we first met the Insleys. They would come up the river by boat and visit us. WinInsley and another man were the relief for Cecil and Mr. Taylor.""It was always very scary during the war because you just didn't know what was going tohappen. The men carried a revolver when they were on patrol. One night when Cecil was onguard he had to go wake up Mr. Taylor because we could hear people over across the pointfrom where we were camped. It was at night and the only thing separating Jim and I in our tentwas about fifty feet of river. For the two men to sneak up on the people meant that they had tocircle around which seemed to take a long time. In the meantime, I was a few feet from them,just a short swim really."

 

"It turned out they were just folks who had a cottage on the river and they were loading up theirsupplies. Really, they weren't allowed because of the war. They weren't supposed to beanywhere near there, but Cecil and Mr. Taylor let them go anyway."Women of that era were not always the shy, timid creatures we imagine. Cecil LaBrashrecounted once about a time during the war when he was cleaning his guns. Hannah wastalking to him when a flock of ducks flew overhead and he said, "I'll bet you can't hit one ofthem". Well, she took the gun and with one shot brought down two ducks. Both shot through thehead! She claimed that it was a lucky shot but.....