Harold Lewis told his own fib to sign up for the war at 16. He took his stepfather's surname to fool the recruiters in Vancouver, so while he goes by Lewis, he is known in military records as Pri-vate Harold Martin, who joined the 8th Field Engineers attached to the British Infantry. Before his 17th birthday, he had landed in on front lines in Belgium and France. He fought at Ypres and Passchen-daele, where 16,000 Canadians perished reclaiming the ridge from the Germans. He was wounded there with shrapnel in the leg; in hospital, his true age was discovered and he was sent home.
He was a character, according to his war memories. While working as escort for a team of U.S. military observers, he remembers substi-tuting their rum rations with water and sharing it with his buddies in the unit. During a short-lived truce at Christmas in 1916, he once shared dinner and a whisky flask with a group of German soldiers. "They actually shared food in the trenches and the next day, they were shooting each other again," said his daughter, Gloria Elber. "They were just young kids like him, fighting for their country."
Back from the war and working as a mechanic in Vancouver, he tells the tale of stealing a kiss from a beautiful girl he spotted on the other side of the street. The object of his surprise gesture slapped him, but, eventually, married him. He and his wife were together for 75 years, settling in Monterey, Calif., and raising six children. Now 102, he still owns the 1939 Oldsmobile he bought new at the World's Fair in San Francisco. This Remembrance Day, he attended a ceremony in the suburbs where his great-grandson was in the ho-nour guard.