Veteran Stories:
Roy Schiiler

Army

  • Sappers of the Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE), 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, sweeping for mines along the border between Belgium and the Netherlands, 16 October 1944. Mr. Roy Schiiler would have done work much like what is pictured here as a sapper with 33rd Field Company, RCE. Credit: Lieut. H. Gordon Aikman / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-116738

    Credit: Lieut. H. Gordon Aikman / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-116738
  • Personnel of the 7th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE), sweeping for mines, Doetinchem, Netherlands, 1 April 1945. (L-R at centre): Sappers Oliver Fleet and Bob Hunter. Mr. Roy Schiiler would have done work much like what is pictured here as a sapper with 33rd Field Company, RCE.
    Credit: Lieut. Michael M. Dean / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-131714

    Credit: Lieut. Michael M. Dean / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-131714
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"Even the ones you find, you have to be very careful because they could be booby trapped. You don’t know that until you investigate it. And there’s a few different ways to do it without getting blown up."

Transcript

No, we [33rd Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers] actually never carried a gun really. We had a gun, but we never carried it. We always had a minesweeper or something like that to carry. You get that on your shoulder and you’re sweeping things, you haven’t got; where are you going to put the gun? Even the ones [mines] you find, you have to be very careful because they could be booby trapped. You don’t know that until you investigate it. And there’s a few different ways to do it without getting blown up. I remember when we moved out of Holland. We stayed in a house in 1944 in Holland; and we took up residence there and just, that was static warfare. When they lined up, they’re going to make the big move. They had 1,000 guns along the perimeter of that city. And they fired 1,000 rounds each into the valley. There wasn’t a spot there that you could see the shell hadn’t hit it. Them people were so happy to get out of there, them Germans, holy Christ. They were just gloriously happy; they gave up like nothing. Yeah. And then we had to make sure the road was clear, so I went out one night with the truck. The driver was a guy by the name of Egme. And I’ll never forget him. He was from Halifax [Nova Scotia] and crazy bugger. So he drove us out there and, of course, no lights. And that again was booby trapped. We could be damn sure of that, was a whole bunch of brush, a bunch of stuff. So we probed around and probed around; and we said, no way, we’re not going to try and find that one. So we had a long rope, I don’t know how long it was, but it was quickly tightened on the brush pile and took the truck and a way back down the road, and blew it up. Holy Jesus, was that a blast. We never got gutted over that. I figured we were going to get shelled like crazy there, but I don’t know, I guess the Germans were too far gone. If they see any movement, then they know somebody’s there for sure. That’s the only time we had to, the only time we really had to watch ourselves. We were right along the water; we moved across and we could see the Germans hustling around and… I don’t know how we got word that the war was over [on May 8, 1945]. It just sort of come floating along, I don’t know. But we could see them moving around. So we knew that they had given up.
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