Doll, Tony

Regiment: First Ammunition Corps, 85th Bridge Corps
Regimental Number: M67418

Tony Doll, son of Frank and Katie Doll, was born on November 17, 1918. He was raised on a farm in an area near Fairview known as Waterhole, AB. As schools were non-existent near Waterhole, the family, which consisted of six sons and two daughters, moved to the Red Star School District in order that the children could attend classes. However, Tony being the oldest in the family, soon found himself in the fields working alongside his father; therefore, he did not complete his elementary education. Tony was very musical and played the violin. He, along with his uncle Johnny who played the guitar, provided the music for many country school dances.

In 1940, Tony was called-up for military training in Grande Prairie for two months followed by another two months of training in 1941. Tony decided to enlist shortly thereafter and was sent to Red Deer for two months of advanced training. On March 5, 1942, he boarded the train for Halifax and then sailed for England. A week later, Tony arrived in Scotland where he boarded a train for Farnburough, England. On June 20th, Tony with the First Ammunition Corps, began to haul ammunition to different units. He was “on stand” for 72 hours during the Dieppe Raid following which he successfully completed a Driver Mechanic’s Course. Soon thereafter, he was deployed as a driver mechanic for the 85th Bridge Corps. Tony’s unit continued to train until the second front opened in June 1943. On July 5th, the unit saw action on enemy soil for the first time. By July 13th, they arrived at Pierrepont, France and then moved on to Saint-Contest. By August 18th, the unit had reached Falaise. Day after day, the unit moved to new locations fighting across unfamiliar territory. On May 18, 1945, the platoon received word that the war was over and everyone celebrated with a cup of tea.

Tony embarked for Canada and arrived in Halifax on October 5th. He finally arrived home on October 14 and a month later, Tony was sent to Calgary for his official discharge. Soon thereafter, Tony applied for a loan through the Veteran’s Land Act to purchase a ¼ section of land. Part of the loan agreement stipulated that all the farm boys had to undertake a 30-day course on farming methods that was held at Red Deer.

On October 28, 1947, Tony married Frances Heck at the St. Boniface Church at Friendstal. The following winter, Tony worked at a sawmill where part of his wages were in the form of lumber that he subsequently utilized to build their first home. By 1959, Tony bought the S ½ 3-72-5-W6 in the Twilight area; land that had belonged to Bruce Rome. A new home was built in 1961 to provide more room for their growing family which included nine children; James, Charles, Mary and Marilyn (twins), Bernice, Bill, Ben, Elaine, and David. Not only did Tony farm, he also worked off the farm setting up farm machinery, for Wapiti Sand and Gravel, Cockshutt Equipment and the Plywood Plant in Grande Prairie. Tony and Frances’ children all attended the Vocational High School that was later renamed the Composite High School.

Tony passed away in September 1998 at age 79; Frances died in October 2015. Both were buried at the Glen Leslie Cemetery. He was a member of the West Smoky Legion Branch No. 244 for many years.

Contributed by Wanda Zenner

Source: Smoky River to Grande Prairie pp. 538 – 541
SPRA Family and Personal Life Reference Files – Obituary of Frances Doll
AGS Website – Obituary Index
Interview with Bernice LaValley
Interview with Elaine Cissell