Veteran Stories:
John William Fraser

Army

  • John Fraser at the Museum of Industry in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, on September 26th, 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"And I said, sir, there’s men literally dying here to be corporal. He didn’t like that. He said, that’s an order."

Transcript

You were close to the coast, most of the time. That was where all the firepower was along the coast. Once you got inland, you were away from that. You went from France to Holland and Belgium first. And we used to use these barges in Belgium to make a seaport landing in Holland. The canals were always nearby; and you were in and out of the water so much that they were known as the ‘water rats’ [nickname of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division because of the poor terrain conditions they fought in]. We had two seaport landings, the one in Normandy and the one in Holland. The rest of us the way up through Germany, it was just, yeah, from one battle to another. There was one time, C Company in the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, I was in D Company, and C Company got pretty shorthanded. So I was told to go to C Company. I can’t remember know which platoon it was or anything. Anyway, the lieutenant in charge of this platoon I was to go with, and so the officer said, you’re a corporal in charge of this section. And I said, sir, there’s men literally dying here to be corporal. He didn’t like that. He said, that’s an order. Well, at that time, I knew, you see, every six months, you get time off. I was due to go on a leave to Blighty [England], they call it a Blighty, an eight day vacation. Well, I’d better go along with this guy or I won’t get my eight day vacation. So I went… I was only in C Company about two weeks, but when I come back from vacation, I didn’t report for duty at C Company, I went to D Company and to this day, nobody asked any questions. I just went where I thought I’d like to go.
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