Canada 108/150: Bill Mallett

By Bill Mallett

My name is William (Bill) Gordon Mallett. I was born Nov.2nd 1944 on the island of Guernsey. I have one sister, Geraldene Sybil Adamson nee Mallett who was born Feb.13th 1943. Our father was William John Mallett who was born Dec.31st 1919 in Hamilton. Our mother was Sybil Ruth Mallett nee LeHuray who was born Mar.1st 1919 on the island of Guernsey.

Our paternal grandfather, William Arthur Mallett was born Aug.19th 1878 on the island of Guernsey. In 1913 he and his wife Marion Mallett nee Guy immigrated to Hamilton with their three daughters, Bertha, Anne, and Edna. While residing in Hamilton they had three more children, Gordon, Edith, and my father William (Bill).

In 1933 my grandfather decided to move back to Guernsey, taking my father and his older sister Edith with them. In 1939 the war began and when the Germans occupied the Channel Islands, my parents were trapped there. In December of 1941 they got married. After we were liberated we continued to live in the island. My father was a fisherman and I grew up around the harbour and fishing.

In 1954 my father moved the family to Hamilton, the place of his birth. The culture shock was hard, but at least we spoke the same language. Going to school and being laughed at because of my accent was rough at times. Constantly trying to fit in and be accepted as just one of the group. Wishing I was still at home in Guernsey where I did fit in.

As the years passed, things did get a lot easier. In 1962, at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I joined the Canadian Navy and served for three years. It was a great experience and I learned a lot. It also instilled in me a sense of national pride. On my release from the Navy, I entered the Hamilton Fire Department and was there for forty years. I got married to Aznive Saroyan born Jan.2nd 1948 on Oct.5th 1968. We are still together. On July 25th 1969 our first son William Melkon was born. Our second son Timothy Stephan was born Sept.22nd 1971. Both are now married with children of their own.

I went back to Guernsey for a two week holiday in 1979. It cured any nostalgic wishing to return for ever. Guernsey is a beautiful island and a nice quiet place to live but it is no longer home. Canada is my home. The people and things I look back on from that time are gone. Time has moved on and with it has gone the place of my early youth. Now it is different and strange and Hamilton is where I fit in.

I am proud to be a Canadian and feel most blessed to live in this paradise. A land of opportunity and stability and peace. Nowhere else in the world can you find the combination we enjoy here. Anyone can be anything they want, all they have to do is reach out and grab it. With hard work, determination and drive you can accomplish anything you want. A lot of people seem to spend their time complaining about everything that is wrong instead of looking at everything that is right. The glass is half full, not half empty! If there is an injustice then do something positive to change it.

 

Coexistence EN