[My father Thomas Joseph Carbone, POW 311]

Upon release on Nov. 20, 1940, Thomas (Tom) Joseph Carbone, P.Eng., returned home and was immediately reinstated to his position as Engineer at Buffalo Ankerite Gold Mines, Ltd., where he remained until August, 1948, when he joined Mascioli Construction Company in Timmins as Chief Engineer (owners Leo and Tony Mascioli had also been interned at Petawawa, and they might first have met there).

In 1953, Tom moved his family to Sudbury, where his wife Leah had been born and her parents (Leonardo and Giulia Fabbro) were prominent in the community; there he served as Township Engineer for the Township of McKim. In 1954 he was recruited by Johnson Bros. Co. Ltd. of Brantford, Ontario to become their Chief Engineer and Estimator, and he remained with that firm for 18 years until his retirement in December, 1972. During those years he was promoted to Works Manager, then General Manager and, finally, Vice President and a Director of the Company.

When Tom was detained by the RCMP, his wife, in-laws, parents, siblings and extended families (his in Toronto, hers in Sudbury) were shocked and traumatized, as he was. How could this have happened to someone born, raised, and schooled in Canada, someone who had earned a university degree despite the recession? And this trauma lasted for all of them, and changed family life and dynamics, for many years after. But immediately in June, 1940, knowing that the detainment was unjust and mistaken, many people (employer, family members, work associates, and friends) worked for Mr. Carbone's release, even though his whereabouts (Petawawa, where he was assigned to work in the canteen) were unknown for several months. The Buffalo Ankerite Manager, Mr. R. P. Kinkel, gave sworn and favorable testimony as to his character, and co-workers stayed in touch. His wife's young sister Naomi had to leave Sudbury and move to Timmins to help out and provide moral support and consolation. While in Timmins, Naomi continued her Grade 12 studies at Timmins High and Vocational School, before returning to Sudbury to finish Grade 13.

Finally, judicial reviews (by Justice J. D. Hyndman) emphatically revealed a miscarriage of justice. His wife, who had prayed at church every day of his incarceration, received a phone call, a simple "I'm coming home." A kindly guard gave him $2.00 for the trip. Once settled, he sent that guard a Thank-You note and a carton of cigarettes (the cigarettes were returned, probably because of government policy). But legal issues related to the internment did not end immediately: Two years later, in Nov. 1943, Tom finally prevailed and was not required to pay fees of $55.16 levied by the custodians assigned by government officials to manage some of his property.

The sudden arrest and internment, and the suffering and enduring memories of this most painful period of their life, they never shared with anyone, except in bits in later life, so their children knew, and still know, precious little of that time and enduring suffering. Tom and Leah moved on, and never held a grudge ("the government did what it felt it had to do in wartime," he later said). Only in Spring 1957, when his company had a contract to install sewer and water mains at Petawawa, did he break his silence, having to reveal the internment to his eldest son on a trip to Petawawa, since the camp commander they were about to meet with had been a guard there in 1940! But he emphasized that they had put 1940 behind them.

Throughout his life, and despite the trauma and horrors of this period (which he forgave, but would never forget), Tom remained a productive, respected and trusted member of the community and of Canadian society. Among his many contributions, Tom served for many years on the Catholic High School Board of Governors, was a life-time member of the Knights of Columbus, a member of the Society of Professional Engineers of Ontario, and over the years generously donated engineering and professional services and wisdom to several organizations with which he was affiliated. He was the loving father of six children, a devoted husband, and a good human being. Following a series of strokes, he passed away in March, 1983 at 74 years of age. His wife, Leah Naomi Fabbro Carbone (a member of the Brantford Registered Music Teachers Association), passed away at 69 in the following year. Theirs was indeed a life well-lived; May They Rest in Peace.

Written by: Martin Carbone



Comments:

  • I know you ALL must have been happy to have him home! Happy Remembrance Day.

    posted by:C.M.
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  • A round of applause for your post. Really looking forward to reading more. Fantastic.

    posted by:W.
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  • remember your parents fondly...he was Mary Carbones brother...my dad's (George) mother...never knew this happened...thanks for sharing

    posted by:Doug Spadafore
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My father Thomas Joseph Carbone, POW 311

"remember your parents fondly...he was Mary Carbones brother...my dad's (George) mother...never knew this happened...thanks for sharing..." - Doug Spadafore

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