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- Hugh Geoffery Riley
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Hugh Geoffery Riley, regimental number G250, joined the 4 Canadian Motorcycle Regiment, 8th Princess Louise (NB) Hussars in the August of 1940. Hugh enlisted in Sussex, New Brunswick, the same day as his brother Jack,
regimental number G251. Other family members would also join the war effort, with brother Pat joining the artillery, sister Lilla to the RCAF, and brother Stan to the army. Prior to signing up, Riley worked in the woods, sailed wooden ships in the South Seas for a time, and also trained in Camp Sussex for two summers with the militia.
After his enlistment, Riley trained with the 8th Hussars in Camp Sussex, Camp Borden, and Camp Petawawa, before going on to continue his training with the regiment in Great Britain.
During the Second World War, Corporal Riley served as the 8th Hussars Regimental Signals Section.
Hugh's duties in Signals and Military Intelligence took him all over the Italian Peninsula, and much of his work involved traversing the mountainous Italian terrain in a scout-car to observe enemy action and gather information.
During his time in Italy, Hugh recalls two days spent hiding in a wine casket when German soldiers overran their position. Riley also recalls working with Col. Robinson to design the 8th Hussars shoulder flash and also worked with the Regimental Adjutant in writing large sections of the 8th Hussars War Diary.
During the Regiment's time in Great Britain, Riley recalls meeting with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and dancing with famed-singer Vera Lynn. This is the same time the Union Jack was supposedly obtained that Frank Gaunce spoke about being borrowed from 10 Downing St in London while they were driving Winston Churchill around in the Canadian Tanks.
Corporal Riley returned home in February 1946 and was discharged on 8 March 1946. Upon his return to Canada, Hugh was asked to stay on with the Army as he spoke five languages including Russian, but Hugh was keen to get on with family life and leave the army behind.
For his dedicated service, Hugh received the 1939-45 Star, Italy Star , the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal, and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with pin and clasp.
Hugh Riley currently lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick and just celebrated his 102nd birthday.
Hugh's lifetime of accomplishments truly illustrate his extraordinary character.
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Interview of Hugh Riley is found on our working hard drive and back up drive.