Veteran Stories:
Aloysius “Wish” Traverse

Army

  • Mr. Aloysius Traverse, August 10, 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"Montgomery said if he had a regiment of Newfoundlanders, he’d face the world."

Transcript

I enlisted in 1942. We did all our training in Shamrock Field [Barracks in St. John’s] before we went overseas. We were with a convoy. We had to have a convoy to protect us fellows. The troops were in the middle and the convoy ships around us, when we were going across the Atlantic, going to England then. The 59th [(Newfoundland) Heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery] was called the heavy field regiment, using heavy guns and 25-pounders [field guns], and heavy guns too. Two hundred pound shells and then 155s. Three different kinds of shells. All Newfoundlanders, yeah. [Field Marshal Bernard] Montgomery said if he had a regiment of Newfoundlanders, he’d face the world. [laughs] Hard tickets, Newfoundlanders are hard tickets [are stubborn]. Didn’t give a damn about nothing. Running about there… I don’t think they even thought about getting killed. Just win the war, I think. Yeah, Montgomery said if he had a regiment of Newfoundlanders, he’d face the world. We had heavy machine guns firing over the troops ahead, clearing the way for them. With 7.2s [howitzer: short-barreled heavy artillery piece] and 155s, 200 pound shell and 155 pound shells. They were firing over the infantry’s head, clearing the way for the infantry to move on. 25-pounders could knock out tanks; and they’d knock out their tanks. We knocked their runners off and the propellers, the runners that takes them around. They knocked the tracks off of their tanks. So that’s what I was using the 25- pounder for. I did a lot of shooting on that with a 25-pound gun, that 25-pounder; and I killed a lot of people, it’s shocking to say, but I suppose that’s the way it was, kill or be killed, that’s the way that was. You get it playing in your mind afterwards, shooting people like that. But that’s the way it had to be. They were firing back at us, yes. Yes, but they never got a chance to fire back too much because we were there, driving them away from us; and we were putting more pressure on them than they were on us. So that’s why we won the war, I suppose. [laughs] When we were in Germany, we left for leave and it felt, the thing was all over, because we were all right to win the war then. And when we were in Germany, we were relaxed. We worked it out.
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