Veteran Stories:
Norman Weber

Army

  • Christmas card from 1944. Saved as a momento of the Italian Campaign.

    Norman Weber
  • Portrait of Lance Corporal Norman Weber, The Perth Regiment, 1945.

    Norman Weber
  • Norman Weber's Army Discharge Certificate.

    Norman Weber
  • "Herbie" Christmas card sent from Italy, 1944.

    Norman Weber
  • Norman Weber's activies and dateline with The Perth Regiment 1939-1945.

    Norman Weber
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"Nearly everybody opened fire and killed the Germans, the patrol. But one fellow got away."

Transcript

Posted to The Perth Regiment; of course, you go to the CO [commanding officer] and give all the papers that they had given you to give to him. And then they assign you to the "Able" ["A"] Company of The Perth Regiment. So I found out where the "Able" Company was and they said, "okay, Private Weber, you’re going to be assigned with" - and then a fellow stepped up and said - "I’ll look after him, I’ll take him under my wing." I found out later, at least I found his name was Junior Foreman. And I found out later why he chose me, because he had a brother by the name of Norman. So he says, "you just follow me and stay close to me, and everything will be fine."

And gosh, he was like another father to me, though he was only a few years older than I was, but it was true, you stay by him, nothing seemed to phase him. You know, the shells would be coming all around and he’d be standing up, telling us to get going, don’t be laying down on the ground, get moving forward. And he was… he was, sorry. He was very much in my life in the army.

As the old saying goes, war is hell. But you make the best of it, whatever you can do and I find that I did what I could do. And the experience I have, I’ll give you about being wounded. We took our objective, what we thought was our objective, and then moved further up the road, or the field; we could see another house. And by saying seeing the other house, in the nighttime, we used to have what we called artificial moonlight, which was the big light way back, maybe five or ten miles behind would shine up in the air and hit the clouds and would ricochet back down and you’d see light ahead of you. So we could see the house ahead of us. We took that house and there was no objection to that house either. Our lieutenants and scouts to the left found nobody there; to the right, nobody was there. So when we phoned back in to the commanding officer, he told us that we must have overshot our objective, but stay put, no smoking, no wandering around outside, don’t cause any disturbance of any sort. So that was fine.

Around noon hour, a German patrol come along and we had to all be very quiet, very still. And then they started to come into the front of the house and they were coming towards the door; and, of course, nearly everybody opened fire and killed the Germans, the patrol. But one fellow got away. But at dinner hour, as it was getting dusk, we heard a rumbling coming down; and our lieutenant said - I happened to go right by him at the time - he says, "Weber, get upstairs and see where that tank is coming from or what that noise is." I saw the tank; and I said, "it’s a tank and it’s a German one." All of a sudden, a shell went through the house and knocked half the roof off; and another shell went through the house and that’s the last thing I remember. I woke up later. It was pitch black, and nobody around; and I tried to get myself up and I couldn’t get up. I had all debris around me. I put my right arm up and braced myself… then I could get up and I couldn’t move my right arm.

So I struggled for a while and made a lot of noise, I know, with the debris and that. I guess everybody wondered what the heck all that was going on out there because none of the people, none of the regiment or my company of men were nowhere near me. Nobody was down there. So I finally got out and got out of the house; and I ran back towards the lines where we had just left and I found out that the house had been, practically three quarters of it, had been blown away, and I was very lucky. I only got a wound, but we had a couple boys got killed and there was another wounded fellow too.

And then I was out of action for about a month and back up to the front lines in December [1944]. I was glad to get back up with the boys again and get back on with Junior and, of course, I give him proper heck for not standing by me and pulling me out of the debris.

I didn’t go all the way through with him, but he did go through. I got wounded, and then went back in the regiment and was still with him, but when we went to Holland and I got nicked again, I had to go to the hospital; and by the time I got out of the hospital, the war was over. He was sent home with the regiment. I didn’t go home with the regiment. I believe it changed me quite a bit. First of all, it didn’t allow me to do my trade that I wanted to go into and I had to change my thoughts on that, and get into something else. It also left me with knowing that God was with me all the way through the war.

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