Fred Cederberg was originally from Iona, Cape Breton, the son of Alex Hugh and Catherine Sarah (nee MacNeil) Cederberg. He left Cape Breton with his family when he was a toddler, and grew up in Toronto, Ontario. Fred completed Grade 11 and worked as a stock keeper/clerk in a wholesale drug company before the war. He lived at home with his parents and siblings.
Fred enlisted in the Cape Breton Highlanders in June, 1941, while the battalion was training at Connaught Ranges in Ontario. His uncle, Major Gordon MacNeil, who was the second in command of the Cape Breton Highlanders at the time, personally picked Fred up at home and took him to enlist. Fred was given the rank of private and assigned to the intelligence section. He was later transferred to the carrier platoon of Support Company.
Fred trained with the Cape Breton Highlanders in Canada and sailed to the U.K. with them in November, 1941. Training continued in the U.K. for almost two years before the battalion shipped out for Italy in October/November, 1943. Fred was with the Cape Breton Highlanders when they saw action for the first time in Italy, in January of 1944. At the end of May, 1944, after the heavy fighting to breach the Hitler Line, Fred was hospitalized for several weeks with malaria and jaundice. Once out of the hospital, he was sent to a holding unit and then, much to his disappointment, was transferred to the 1st Canadian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment. This unit was soon reclassified as an infantry unit and was renamed the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment. Fred was posted to the carrier platoon of his new regiment. He rejoined the fighting in Italy with his new unit in late August, 1944, and saw heavy action for the remainder of the Italian campaign.
In February, 1945, Fred’s unit, the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment, along with the rest of the Canadian army units in Italy, were relocated to southern France. They then joined the Canadian troops that had fought their way from the beaches in Normandy and were now in southern Holland. The following month, Fred transferred back to his old outfit, the Cape Breton Highlanders. He was with them throughout the liberation of Holland in April and May, 1945.
Fred survived the war and returned home in December, 1945. He was discharged from the army on January 26, 1946. He held the rank of sergeant.
After the war, Fred finished high school and attended Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. He pursued a career in journalism and worked for a major newspaper in Toronto for many years. He met and married Mary Elizabeth Kirkland and they had five children together. Fred later worked for the provincial government of Ontario.
In 1966, Fred wrote a firsthand personal account of his experiences in both the Cape Breton Highlanders and the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Regiment. The account covered his time spent in Canada and in Italy. In 1984 Fred’s manuscript was released as a book by Canadian Publishing. “The Long Road Home” was a hit and has had several printings.
Fred Cederberg retired to the family cottage in northern Ontario at the age of 60. He passed away in 1999.
I would like to thank Mike Cederberg, Fred Cederberg's son, for contacting me from Mississauga, Ontario, and generously forwarding me electronic copies of his father's war time photos, along with newspaper clippings and a video interview of his father, all relating to the release of his book "The Long Road Home" in the mid 1980's. I've also added an additional newspaper clipping written by Fred Cederberg and provided to me by Bernardine MacNeil-Campbell of Ontario, whose uncle CSM Danny Fraser was killed in Italy while serving with the Cape Breton Highlanders. Finally, I've also added a section showing the front and back cover of Fred Cederberg's book "The Long Road Home".