Veteran Stories:
Clifford Gilbert Vernon Hobbis

Army

  • Liberation Parade in Witteveen, Netherlands.

    Clifford Hobbis
  • Mr. Hobbis and son Arthur in 1943.

    Clifford Gilbert Vernon Hobbis
  • Liberation Parade in Witteveen, the Netherlands.

    Clifford Gilbert Vernon Hobbis
  • Liberation Parade in Witteveen, the Netherlands.

    Clifford Gilbert Vernon Hobbis
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"When we came back with that Jeep, if there was 30, there was 29 with tears. It shook them. And that was one of our miracles."

Transcript

In Kingston, Ontario, we were both there, Ron. He went up a year younger than me. And he was transferred to the infantry and shipped off and I went to the sergeant major and then I had to go to the major to find out why that happened because we wanted to be together. And he said he was just transferred. So they told me that I could claim him, being a senior brother. So I put in the order and did everything I was supposed to do and my brother came back to Kingston, Ontario, mad because he was on his way home for two weeks’ leave to see his wife before going overseas. So when they brought him back to Kingston, for a while there, we didn’t do too much talking. But Ron understood and was happy because then we were both shipped off to Vancouver for two weeks’ leave before going overseas. And in England or was it Belgium - I forget - the same thing cropped up. And I was able to claim him again. At that time, you could claim your younger brother through the army.

We went to our camp, we went to Chilliwack and Vernon and then off to Barryfield. And from Barryfield to Halifax and over to England. Going over aboard ship which stands out so much to me because there were so many sick boys and there was an auditorium and why, they were laying all over. And there was a gentleman in uniform, went up to the piano that was there and started to play Oh Holy Night. And while he was playing this, there was a few fellows came up. And a fellow came up with a guitar and during a few moments, he turned around and started to get into a little more modern and he changed the whole atmosphere of the whole ship more or less. And he stood up and announced himself as a reverend. He was a pastor. And it was his way of introducing himself to the people and then we started to sing different hymns and it changed the whole attitude. And I thought that was a big thing in my life, going over and seeing - it was just a terrible time, sick all over.

But all the time, I was very comfortable. Both my brother and I, we were not, I shouldn’t say not homesick but we really trusted. We had our faith very strong that we were going to do fine. And we were not upset, honestly. We were not afraid. And we did as we were told.

As time went on, we ended up into, with I think his name was Major Storms. But we ended up in a big building and it was maybe 30 of us that was in this building. And the major’s Jeep was on the other side of this open field. And he wanted that Jeep brought back to this building. And, and I think his name was Jack DeGroot. He was from Regina. He was sent out to go across and bring this Jeep back. He got out 30, 40 feet and there was a mine and it blew his foot off. And he had to be brought in and Major still wanted his Jeep. And as true as I’m sitting in this chair, he looked at me to go across and of course, my brother and I were together all the time, he was a year and a half younger than me. And you know, we decided that we were going to kneel and pray. And I pray some of those boys are still alive, that know this. And we kneeled by the door and prayed and we were laughed at. But you know, we went across that field, we brought that Jeep back. When we came back with that Jeep, if there was 30, there was 29 with tears. It shook them. And that was one of our miracles.

We were in Amsterdam and we came across a, a gentleman, his name was Karpal and he was a doctor in Holland. And he had a three-storey house. And downstairs in the basement, below the basement, he had machines that made ration tickets, underground stuff. I have a couple of those tickets that he was making and handing out. But up in his attic, up on that which I called the attic, he showed us, he moved the carpets upstairs. Under the carpet, there was a hole about three-inch, four-inch hole in this wood. This is how they were feeding a Jew. And when he moved the one slat on the one side, you would hardly believe. It was just like a honeycomb all around this gentleman on each side of him. I don’t know how long he was there but they were keeping him alive. And we never really knew whether he died or whether he got out because at that time, we had to move. But that was one special house. And we never forgot for days with this gentleman.

And you know, he was talking, this Dr. Karpal could understand in German, we don’t know what he was saying. But the gentleman was talking. And we left, we don’t know whether they covered him up or what after that. But that was a very hard thing to take, to know that he may die there. We didn’t really know.

But we were just in Germany a certain mile, two miles, 10 miles, I forget, and we had to bring some vehicles. And when we were bringing the vehicles back, we had a dispatch driver, a young fellow on a motorbike and he was in front. And all of a sudden, the whole convoy, the whole group came to a sudden stop. And they started to climb out of their vehicles and up the front. And whether it was the Germans, whoever, they had strung a wire and it looked to me like piano wires or a wire like from a guitar or whatever, but very fine and sort of glitter, shiny. And it just ripped his head practically off his body, the dispatch driver.

Well, you never seen fellows stunned. That was in the middle of the war. Because, and then, we found out, he had been in, in the war for about two years. And then we found out, he was about 17 years old when that happened to him. And I never knew his name.

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