"I smashed up nine motorcycles altogether, in Italy, just in actions and that: I had one, just laid her up against a tree and a shell hit it and blew it to pieces."
In Worthing, England I was ... in a holding unit in England there for quite a spell before that and then we went to our regiment and posted to The Three Rivers Tank Regiment. It was French [-speaking] when we went there first but there were about two hundred of us, English-speaking, went to build up the regiment, you know, to go get ready for action.
Well, we had to convoy tanks and trucks and stuff into action, delivering messages back and forth, from the front. You see, they had no radio or anything then. You had to deliver by motorcycle, all your messages. I liked the Norton [16H Motorcycle] the best, it was the stronger bike.
I smashed up nine motorcycles altogether, in Italy, just in actions and that: I had one, just laid her up against a tree and a shell hit it and blew it to pieces. Went down underground or I went to the headquarters, they had a little hole in the ground for headquarters and I’d just got to that when the bang hit my bicycle. You see, they’d fire them at our tanks, see, and we’d be on our tanks and no protection at all.
They called them the 88s [German anti-tank artillery guns] big enough to knock out a tank. Well, you’d be riding and as soon as you can hear them shells coming, whistling, and then just get down, you just throw her down.
One time, there was planes strafing us like that and so I got down behind - there was a truck there - I got down behind the back wheel of the truck and the plane dropped the bomb and we thought it was a bomb and we were down, waiting for it to explode and it was just a, what do you call it, a holder to put the bomb into [shell casing]. That’s all it was, just a tin that landed, just as close, close right alongside of us.
Worst one I remember who got killed, got burnt to death: Got into a tank and bombed, a shell had exploded inside and set him afire and he was screeching and crying, burning, burned to death. Another fellow, Billy Wright, he just got out of his tank and a shell hit him and blew him to pieces. I thought of that for a while afterward.