top of page

What my Experience in the Armed Forces Taught me About Leadership

My Grandpa was, and will always be, my best friend.

He was a British paratrooper in World War II. He was also a Prisoner of War during this time. He sacrificed so much for his country, some of which I will probably never know. Trauma wasn’t openly talked about.

My parents are baby boomers, and my father immigrated to Canada when he was about 4 years old. In his teenage years, it was a pretty popular conversation to ask each other what their parents did during the war. My dad knew that his dad fought in the war, but didn’t know any details. Whenever he asked my Grandpa what his role was, he would always tell his kids that he was a cook. My dad didn’t find out the truth, that his father was a paratrooper until he was in his 20’s.

The reason my Grandpa had never told his kids his real role was because he wanted them to grow up realizing that it didn't matter what anybody did in the war. Everybody contributed equally. This has been a valuable lesson I’ve carried with me my entire life. It doesn’t matter what your role was, you were a part of something. Like a piece in a puzzle.

Frances Pool pictured in North Africa during WWII

Right after graduating high school, I joined the Canadian Armed Forces as an infantry soldier. I admired my Grandpa, so I think that I joined to understand him better and show him how grateful I was for his service. I thought he would be happy for me, or proud of how I followed in his footsteps. To my surprise, he wasn’t supportive. He didn’t want me, his granddaughter, to be putting myself in the line of fire.

When you’re seventeen, you feel like you’re an adult and you already know everything there is to know about life. In the eyes of the adults, you’re still a child. Though neither of my parents or