"They were using the flame throwers, the shoots of flame about that high off the ground, 100 yards, on the big pill boxes."
One thing about when you see people all joining up, you know, you try to follow them in a way because in them years, you never got much money. A dollar a day was better than the 25 cents an hour you were working for. All my buddies went to school together. We all joined the Saint John Fusiliers [Machine Gun Unit]. And then we found out they wasn’t going overseas, so the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa [Machine Gun Unit] needed 200 men to fill their unit up. So we all transferred to go to their regiment.
Well, they’re both machine gun units. Vickers machine gun, 250 rounds a minute, .303 [inch] ammunition.
We went down to France on D-Day. All my school chums were all there, even one was captured and shot, Donald Burnett. We wasn’t in the first wave of it, but we landed. Our platoon landed with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders. That’s the unit we were covering that day with machine gun fire and [M2] 4.2 [rifled] mortar. Went in about five kilometers from the beach the first day.
I spent Christmas Day on the border of Holland and Germany in 1944. That’s where we were in action on Christmas Day, right on the border, Holland and Germany.
When my officer told me that I had to go over in the Buffalos [amphibious carriers] when we crossed the Rhine River to go with the North [Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment], with the New Brunswick Regiment at North Shore and find out where we going to be with protection for their, for the big do they had that day. Our colonel, Rolly, left our unit, [the] Cameron Highlanders, to be head of the North Shore that day when we crossed the Rhine. And he was killed that day. We were covering the North Shore that day and they were using the flame throwers, the shoots of flame about that high off the ground, 100 yards, on the big pill boxes. And them Germans come out, blacker than that table, and die. The heat, you know, they can’t survive.
I was not too far away when that Bren Gun carrier [light tracked vehicle] was going in. I watched it all. Yeah, it was pretty grim. I mean, you hate to see your buddies getting shot that way, you know.