Veteran Stories:
Art Lang

Army

  • While stationed overseas, Art Lang helped build this bridge in Holland with 6th Field Company of the Royal Canadian Engineers.

    Arthur Lang
  • CN Station Midrie, where Mr. Lang's friend, Marie Olson received word that her brother had been killed during service overseas with the RCAF. 1944

    Art Lang
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"I was in reinforcement from the beginning until the day Paris fell, when I got a platoon in C Company, 2nd Battalion at Carpiquet…"

Transcript

Eleventh of May, 1942, Bill Bowman and I, graduates in civil engineering, Manitoba, left by CPR for Gordon Head [British Columbia]. Took twelve weeks basic army training as ‘guppy’ Mk 13s [new officers of the 13th training group] in Gordon Head, which is Victoria, followed by twelve more weeks engineering training at A6 CETC [Canadian Engineer Training Centre] Chilliwack. Was married on the 15th of November, 1942; went overseas on the 15th of July, 1943 and more engineer training. I guess I was just lucky to be singled out from 6th Field as a supernumerary to make the briefing models for Juno Beach landing for 3rd Div [3rd Canadian Infantry Division].

I was in reinforcements from the beginning until the day Paris fell, when I got a platoon in ‘C’ Company, Second Battalion, at Carpiquet, and was with that platoon until the end of the war. I was bridge building, minefield road repair. Mine clearing is the most dangerous. We used the metal detector. Once you got the pattern well, it was rather simple. But you had to be careful. Then you get the pattern of the mines that were laid by the Germans and you unearthed the mines. But bridge building was more exciting.

After the war, it was a few months before we left Holland and back to Aldershot [England] and another couple months before we came home. I arrived home Hallowe’en night when my son was almost two years old.

[Added October 18, 2010:]

I’m chagrined that I have to report, I had a too easy and too, well, whatever, a war. But I’m chagrined that my granddaughter [Michelle Lang] was killed in Kandahar [Afghanistan] on the 30th of December last year. She was a reporter with the Calgary Herald. We started a scholarship in her memory. I leave you with the thought of Wilfred Owen’s poem, Futility:

Move him into the sun –

Gently its touch awoke him once,

At home, whispering of fields unsown.

Always it woke him, even in France,

Until this morning and this snow.

If anything might rouse him now

the kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds, -

Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.

Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,

Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?

Was it for this the clay grew tall?

O, what made fatuous sunbeams toil

To break earth's sleep at all?

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