“War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow” Martin Luther King Jr. said.
“Well I served with both, the Cape Breton Highlanders, I served with them a year, then I transferred to North Nova Scotia Highlanders and I finished the rest of the war out with them.
They felt pretty good about it, they wanted it, wanted to get into action that’s why I transferred from the Cape Breton Highlanders to North Novies because we figured we’re never going to get into action. Little did we know (chuckles) what we were, you know, going to face.
We left from Halifax and landed in Liverpool. We didn’t spend any time there, we just transferred from the ship and we were first stationed in Aldershot, England. That’s always been the garrison town anyway. We weren’t too fussy about it there, people weren’t too friendly and, you know, we were there in England I figured well this is a hell of a thing. So, we made our first move, we moved to a little town of Camberley from then on I enjoyed England. I liked every bit of it.
Well, the training we had here was mostly for discipline what we had the two years in Canada but the real hard training and what really, well, prepared us for somewhat (chuckles) for the landing on the beach of Normandy.
Well I had all the ammunition and all the food for the troops and when they couldn’t get up with food to our troops, I used to have to take from the carrier, you know, our supplies and that’s where they had got all their supplies in action, from my carrier. Except the nighttime see, the carrier makes such a racket and they wanted to be quiet up there and they’d start sending mortars in and they’d curse hell at me for being up there (chuckles), but somebody, you know, had to come up with supplies.”
Juno Beach and Beyond
“Well, the thing that bothered me the most was seeing some of my friends being killed. You know, they were infantry and then lots of places there I had a hell of a time not to run over the top of them. That bothered me the most. Well sometimes when you know I’d have to follow a road, they’d be laying in the road and I’d have to try and run around, avoid them, didn’t want to run over the top of them. Even though they were dead.
Hell’s Corner. Now we were there for about three weeks we spent there, we were regrouping again. This is after we attacked the two villages of Buissons and Authie. That’s where the Germans pounded hell out of us. Then surrounded us. Some of us were lucky enough to get back to where the Colonel was, he was in Hell’s Corner. That’s where we stayed until we regrouped to make our second attack. Where I was coming back there was a tank battle going on between our tanks and the Germans and I come through on the carrier. They weren’t bothering with me. I was, you know, wasn’t any threat to them.”
Respect the Enemy
“Well the ordinary German soldiers, same as Canadians outside the SS. They were real, I can’t say (chuckles) what I think what they were. They were just thugs, very cruel people but the German soldier himself, we admired them you know. Best fighting soldier in the world. Well, he was better trained then we were, far superior weapons that we had. Like on our tanks, going into action they had a 6” gun, the Germans had the SS the um German 88. 88 millimeter, oh it was a terrible weapon. It was first designed for aircraft and later on they found, geez this is a terrific weapon against troops. Troops, tanks, whatever. One of the best weapons ever made up by the German people.”
May 8th. The war ends…
“Huh I know somebody, well somebody come back and told me you know, the war is all over. I can’t think of the name of the, name of the town right now but all I wanted to do was get some sleep, so I found a place where there was a bed in there and I could put a chair underneath the door. I put a pistol underneath my pillow and jammed the chair under and went to sleep. First you know, you, that, that’s something the soldier is always looking for, to get a place to lay his dead down and get some sleep.”
…and heading home
“Oh a couple of months I guess you know, from the time that we knew it was over until we got all assembled back into an assembly area where they could figure out, you know, who had the longest service and the ones that were married, they’re the ones they were sending back home first.”
“Well, we served in England and then we fought through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. From D-Day right on until we ended up in the Zeiger (sp) Sea I was left out of one battle that’s all. LOB they call it, army slang, Left Out of one Battle. Seen all the rest of them.”
-Submitted by Al Cameron
Founder of Veterans Voices of Canada