Veteran Stories:
Enoch H. Kerr

Army

  • Lewis machine gun in 1940, WWI vintage, used for anti-aircraft protection.

  • Discharge certificate of Enoch H. Kerr, after six years of active service as a volunteer . Dated Nov. 29, 1945.

  • Enoch H. Kerr on his last leave before the voyage to England, Summer, 1940.

  • Enoch H. Kerr returns home, November 1945, after six years of active service in the Canadian Armed Forces

  • German soldier arm-band.

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"We got there and the whole country was in a flux because they expected invasion at any time"

Transcript

My name is Kerr, E.H. Regimental number 341269. My rank is sergeant. I joined the Militia in 1938 and then transferred to active duty in October, 1939. Then I transferred to the artillery as a reinforcement for a third medium regiment which was with 1st Division in England. We arrived in July, 1940, just after the withdrawal from Dunkirk. We got there and the whole country was in a flux because they expected invasion at any time. We were held in what they call a holding area and I was assigned to anti-aircraft duty. And the only gun we had was a Lewis gun from World War I. And I was with another chap by the name of Ellis from Toronto when we were on duty and we were bombed by Stuka dive bombers in daylight. And during the scrap, we fired on them, of course, and they came in very, very low and they dropped their bombs at the lowest end of their descent and then went back up again. And they were pretty good targets and every third shell that we fired was a tracer shell so we could see it wherever it went. We could direct it. And Ellis was on the gun and I was doing the loading and we were fortunate enough to hit one of the planes and the plane came down just outside the camp. Now that was exciting and we were very excited. Now we were really green, that was our first taste of war and I don't know whether anybody thought much about it because it happened so quickly. When we landed in France it was in July, 1944, I was with the 6th Field Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery and I was on the gun as a bombardier. We had a lot of casualties and I was promoted to a sergeant. Towards the end of the war I took an arm band from a German boy near Oldenburg, Germany. Towards the end of the war, they threw boys into the service and sometimes older people and people that had no uniform. So, they'd put this arm band on their arm, it was a yellow band, to identify them as soldiers so they would be treated when they were taken prisoner like any other military person would be treated. We travelled the length and breadth of France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany. And I was in Oldenburg, Germany when the war ended. We had fired thousands of rounds of ammunition and we were in over one hundred gun positions from the time we landed in France. I was never wounded. I lost a great number of men. And maybe one of the things that has left me with a part of my personality gone as I had been with so many men that were killed and they were friends of mine. So I never have been able to make friends like other people have. I'm a bit withdrawn from getting too close to people. But, I am thankful that I am back and do have a memory and am happy to share my experiences with anyone.
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