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The Participation of Ukrainians in the Canadian Armed Forces during WWII

Over 35,000 Canadians of Ukrainian descent served in the Canadian military during WWII. These servicemen and women constituted the second-largest group of non-British, non-French serving in the Canadian armed forces. The servicemen and women were not only an integral part of the Canadian military during wartime, but also made a significant contribution to the development of Canadian postwar policy on displaced persons and refugees.


In its archives, the UCRDC has a collection of oral history testimonies of these servicemen, which were conducted in 1989-1991 and have recently been digitized. The format of the interviews follows a standard questionnaire and the interviews were conducted by UCRDC volunteers.


There are five key themes that come out of most of the interviews:


  1. Reasons for joining the armed forces;

  2. The efforts to maintain ‘Ukrainianess’ while overseas by the servicemen and women as exhibited through their participation in the Ukrainian Canadian Servicemens’ Club;

  3. Discrimination [absence of] against Ukrainians in the armed forces;

  4. The veterans’ relationship with the Central Ukrainian Relief Bureau, Ukrainian displaced persons, repatriation and attitudes towards the Soviet Union;

  5. And, finally, their views on the consequences for or impacts on Canadian society of Ukrainian participation in the Canadian armed forces.


On our website, we are making available excerpts of five such interviews:


Joseph Romanow, Peter Smylski, William Kereliuk, Michael Lucyk and Ann Chraplywa-Smith

Ukrainians in the Canadian 
Armed Forces

The UCRDC depends on voluntary donations – both individual and institutional - for its financing.

It provides receipts for tax purposes.

NAME

LIVED IN

DATE OF BIRTH

SERVED IN

Andrunyk Stephan

Barrie, ON

1923

Army

Bodnar Nicholas

Edmonton, AL

1914

Air Force

Chmiliar William

Edmonton, AL

1921

Army

Chorny Walter

Edmonton, AL

1915

Air Force

Crepleve-Smith Ann

Winnipeg, MA

1920

Army/WAC

Gregorash Michael

Winnipeg, MA

1921

Army

Halychuk Nestor

Edmonton, AL

1913

Army

Iwacki Fred

Winnipeg, MA

1921

Army

Kashtan Stephen

Edmonton, AL

1919

Army

Kit Paul

Edmonton, AL

1917

Army

Kupchenko Wally

Edmonton, AL

1919

Army

Lachman Walter

Edmonton, AL

1922

Air Force

Lucyk Michael

Toronto, ON

1916

Army/Dental

Malanchuk Nicholas

Winnipeg, MA

1916

Air Force

Malanchuk William

Edmonton, AL

1917

Air Force

Melnyk Dimitri

Edmonton, AL

1917

Army/Medical

Michalchyshyn Bohdan

Edmonton, AL

1919

Army/Medical

Ochota Nicholas

Edmonton, AL

1926

Army

Plawiuk Eugene

Edmonton, AL

Army

Poohkay Peter

Edmonton, AL

1913

Air Force

Romanow Joseph

Ottawa, ON

1923

Air Force

Slonetsky Evhen

Toronto, ON

1924

Army

Smylski Peter

Toronto, ON

1915

Army/Dental

Wach Peter

Winnipeg, MA

1920

Army

Wachniak John

Winnipeg, MA

1923

Army

Yaremchuk Stephen

Edmonton, AL

1913

Air Force

Yuzyk John

Winnipeg, MA

1913

Air Force

Kereliuk William

Toronto, ON

1917

Air Force

The UCRDC Oral History Archives have video interviews with the following Ukrainian Canadians who served in the Canadian Armed Forces during World War II.


The interviews are can be accessed at the UCRDC. Please contact us at: info@ucrdc.org

General Joseph Romanow

Born in 1921, Saskatoon, Sask.

Served in the Royal Canadian Air Force

Died in 2011

Date of Interview: 1989

Interviewer: Oksana Zakydalsky

Length of Interview: 74 min.

Dr. Michael Lucyk

Born in 1916, Calgary, Alta.

Served in the Dental Corps

Died in ....

Date of Interview: 1989

Interviewer: Oksana Zakydalsky

Length of Interview: 31 min.

William Kereliuk

Born in 1917, Insinger, Sask.

Served in Royal Canadian Air Force

Died in 2008

Date of Interview: 1989

Interviewer: Jurij Darewych

Length of Interview: 61 min.

Dr. Peter Smylski

Born in 1915, Dauphin, Man.

Served in the Dental Corps

Died in 2002

Date of Interview: 1989

Interviewer: Oksana Zakydalsky &
Jurij Darewych

Length of Interview: 101 min.

Anne Chraplywa-Smith

Born in 1920, Lodewood, Man.

Served in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps

Died in 2005

Date of Interview: 1990

Interviewer: Kwitoslawa Kushnir

Length of Interview: 50 min.

Excerpts from the interviews