Veteran Stories:
David Green

Army

  • David Green photographed at an event for The Memory Project in Toronto, Ontario, May 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"we were ambushed by the Germans and all hell broke loose. I remember my driver wanted to surrender and being Jewish, I thought, you’re crazy."

Transcript

Well, the largest battle on the western front that I participated in was called the Falaise Gap. My understanding was it was the largest battle on the western front. We must have captured 50 or 60,000 German troops, I believe it was in that area. When I say we, I was a participant in the capture. And that was the Falaise Gap. And after that, we were on the offensive. We [the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise’s)] crossed the Seine River on rafts. I had a truck; I was a quartermaster [responsible for distributing provisions and supplies] then. We had trucks. We got over and our men were waving at us, were saying hello to us, at least we thought they were. But what they were trying to do was to warn us to stop because they knew the Germans were still in the vicinity. When we got there, we didn’t expect it, we were ambushed by the Germans and all hell broke loose. I remember my driver wanted to surrender and being Jewish, I thought, you’re crazy. Anyway, lo and behold, just beside the truck, there was a white t-shirt which I lifted up and threw in the air and we gave up because we really were what you’d call unarmed, we would have gone into the ambush. So we were captured, but the whole headquarter companies, I was in the headquarters of a platoon and other people were at headquarters, the whole headquarters of the regiment was captured that day because when we were marched out, Don Seldon, who’s now deceased, he was an officer, he said, okay, let’s make a break for it. I said, are you crazy? We were surrounded by armed men, marching us captured, they were as happy as a lark. Anyway, we were taken and they broke us up, officers and sergeants and privates to different camps, of course. That was the story, and then I was a prisoner of war for a number of months. I lost about 80 pounds. They had no food, we had no food. We were drinking a, we had soup once a day or a [kind of] soup, mainly water with a touch of beef in it, to give us the flavour. I was in an Italian prisoner of war camp and [American General George S.] Patton was with us, but he went on, he wanted to get to Paris before anybody else. So they left a hole and I was recaptured, probably for a couple of days. Then we were relieved again, surprisingly, by our mother regiment. And I went to Belgium… I was escorted to Belgium and from there, we flew to England. I think we flew to England. And then I was again at Aldershot [Canadian army headquarters in England] before I visited the king [George VI] and queen [Queen Elizabeth] at Buckingham Palace. And in the garden there were the two princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret. They were a few years younger than I. I guess the war was over for me.
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