Veteran Stories:
Albert Nelson

Army

  • Albert Nelson's Discharge Certificate.

    Albert Nelson
  • Certificate announcing Albert Nelson had received a Mention in Dispatches for distinguished service.

    Albert Nelson
  • Warrant Officer Albert Nelson in the Dress Blues of the First Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, 1957.

    Albert Nelson
  • Albert Nelson (indicated by arrow) instructing university cadets in the RCTC on a 3.7 inch anti-aircraft gun.

  • Queen's Coronation medal. Only two of these commemorative medals were issued to the Albert Nelson's unit of at least 2,000. One was issued to a major, and Albert Nelson received the other. June, 1953.

    Albert Nelson
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"But the worst thing I encountered in the Falaise Gap was when we went through the roads, was a lot of dead horses. [...] these poor horses, man’s workhorse, they knew nothing about anything and they got killed."

Transcript

We loaded into an American Liberty Ship [cargo ships built in the United States during World War Two] and went across the [English] Channel. And then we unloaded all the vehicles and guns. And the first place that we fired a round in anger that we call it was in [Bernières-sur-Mer] in France. And shortly after D-Day [the Normandy invasion of June 6, 1944], the Canadians took the village. The Germans counterattacked them and drove them back out of the village and killed a lot of the boys. And I think the, the North Shore [the North Shore Regiment] Highlanders were the company. I forget whether that’s their right name or not. But then again, we retook the village and we started firing our guns from that village, which we called ‘firing in anger’. The part I remember is that we retook the village. You don’t see a lot sometimes in a battle. You don’t really know whether you are defeating the enemy or not until you occupy the ground that they had. It’s a funny thing in war, yes, you can see the enemy sometimes that you shoot, you can see them fall to the ground but more or less, the bullets you fire find their mark and you don’t see it at all. The next place I remember very clearly is [Verrières ridge], the big ridge at [Verrières]. And that was a mighty battle, one of the biggest battles we were in. The Germans occupied a big ridge up in front of us and they could see us but we couldn’t see them because they were so much higher than us. And we finally took a battle and that was when we took [Verrières ridge], we went onto the Falaise Gap. Now, the Falaise Gap was the place where the Canadian army and the British army and the American army trapped the German army. This one army, the Germans, we surrounded them [during the battle of the Falaise Pocket, August 12-21, 1944] and in some cases, we were firing the guns over open sites, which is not in direct fire on open sites. You just saw Germans, you lined your gun up on them and you shattered them. But the worst thing I encountered in the Falaise Gap was when we went through the roads, was a lot of dead horses. And I found them myself. I could stand seeing dead Germans and dead Canadians but I thought to myself, these poor horses, man’s workhorse, they knew nothing about anything and they got killed. They got killed, the Germans had a lot of horse drawn equipment. And that’s made me feel very sad. From the 8th of May, 1945, we were still engaged and we got a notice about 11:00 to ceasefire. There was two orders in artillery that you can get. One is cease firing, that’s if you’re firing, if you’re firing at somebody, you cease firing but then you start up again, when it’s necessary. The other order is ceasefire. When you get that order, it means they were working on the armistice, they’d signed the armistice. So we did fire after that but what we done is laid down a path on the ground, a big V, V for victory. Then we never fired our guns again after that.
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