Veteran Stories:
Albert Haywood

Army

  • WWII field artillery.

  • Sgt Haywood. Nanaimo, BC. July/Aug 1941

  • Albert Haywood pictured on May 26, 1941

  • Albert kissing his future wife Edith good-bye in 1940. Notice that the sign behind them says “Good-Bye.”

  • Telegram of best wishes from Albert's father

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"In the coast of England when the buzz bombs started, that's when things started getting a little bit snarly."

Transcript

Albert Edward Austin Haywood is the name. And I served 1939 through to 1945. I was in England two years and the continent one year. Five and a half years total service. In the coast of England when the buzz bombs started, that's when things started getting a little bit snarly. They were onto us before we realized it. Aircraft, you could always detect them sooner. But the buzz bombs you couldn't detect them soon enough and quite often they were right onto to you before you knew it. During the opening of the campaign, we were sitting in the Channel for about two days in the ship waiting to land at France. And once we did, the road was clear and we started to move forward. And I was very fortunate, I didn't get a scratch, really. More nerves than anything else. You had to be alert all the time. You never knew when you might encounter some action. As the enemy aircraft reduced, we then converted the guns to ground warfare and we used them in infantry roles. There was times our guns we used as markers at night, for the infantry to move up. We'd be using incendiary shelling. The first experience of a war being on was in France at Caen. And that's when we were bombed by our own aircraft. We lost 39 men right off the bat. And that is mentioned in the citation that I have. I tried to save some of the men and get them out and administer first-aid until help came. It was just one of those things that happen when everything is moving so fast and so tight that they caught us a little off guard. And, of course, they let their bombs go before they hit the target and caught C Troop and we lost 39 men in that non-conflict with the enemy. I came home early compared to some of the others. With the long service I had, I'd accumulated enough points to arrive home. I retired in '45, although I had an opportunity to go on, but my wife, at that time, felt that I'd had enough. So... see I was separated from my wife for three years during the war. I was married first and then had a little girl and I was an instructor in Canada for two and a half years and then went overseas. I was much more fortunate than some, except it affected my nerves more than anything else. But one thing about it, I appreciate the fact that I was a bit more fortunate than some of the others.
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