Veteran Stories:
C. Norman Spencer

Army

  • Norman Spencer standing on a bridge in Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1944

    Norman Spencer
  • Norman Spencer, June 25, 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"We had some Jeeps, ordinary Willys Jeeps with two structures on the top. And we spent a lot of time in between the lines and anything that we figured was going to live, we’d pick it up."

Transcript

I drove ambulance and truck and ambulance and anything. Whatever they needed, they used to point at it and that was it; 23rd Field Ambulance [No. 23 Field Ambulance, RCAMC]. We had some Jeeps, ordinary Willys Jeeps with two structures on the top. And we spent a lot of time in between the lines and anything that we figured was going to live, we’d pick it up. When we were picking up wounded, well, you were in between the lines and they were shooting both ways. When you found one and felt that it was cold, well, he’s dead. You’d pick up the rifle and turn it upside down, stick it in the ground. And then when the guys come to pick up, set up, well, they’d see the rifle upside down, they don’t bother stopping there, they go and look for one that’s still alive, more or less. I know there was one guy that, well, I didn’t know him, but I knew of him, he was driving an ordinary Jeep and he ran over an [anti-] tank mine and that blew up right underneath where he was sitting. And years later, we found out about that. Every bone in his body was broken but they made him live. He was in the hospital for a long, long time. But he did live. I remember another fellow, he was a real big fellow, about 300 pounds, and it took four of us on the stretcher to carry him from the field hospital, that’s right behind the lines. And then when we got him to the first hospital, the sergeant said, "what in the heck did you bring that in here for? Well, he’s dead, isn’t he?" And they said, "look between his eyes;" there was a little tiny black dot, pellet had gone in there. And he was stone dead.
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