"And the Schmeisser opened up, and when the Schmeisser opens up, it’s a quick firing gun that the Germans, the Germans quick firing gun. If they don’t hold it down, it goes up in the air. All the bullets went over our head but we got going, you know. I charged for my tent and got my rifle."
[Sailing to England] So, you’re a gunner? And I said, yeah. Well, we want somebody to man the guns and keep a lookout for submarine, I remember that. “You don’t seasick, so would you do that?” I said, “Oh yeah.” So up there on watch, never seen any. They were firing the gun off for anything else but you had to be there, see.
But the real thing is a lot different than the training. I remember one time, we were gathered around for not too much did we gather around for, with our mess tents for, yeah, it was for lunch and Jerry opened up right on this big line of Canadians waiting to get something to eat. And the Schmeisser [MP 40 Schmeisser a type of sub-machine gun used by the Germans] opened up and when the Schmeisser opens up, it’s a quick firing gun that the Germans, the Germans quick firing gun. If they don’t hold it down, it goes up in the air. All the bullets went over our head but we got going, you know. I charged for my tent and got my rifle, my rifle. They said, “Oh no, you don’t have to do nothing, the guards are gonna.” I said, “Where were the guards?” Anyway, I think that was my first baptism of fire with an enemy weapon.
The Germans used that [Zuiderzee, Netherlands] as their summer resort. They didn’t want to leave. Oh, we put attack an attack in on them a couple of times and lieutenant said, “Oh, we’ll try the water.” So we went around the water and we got through and the Germans were going out the other side, they grabbed all the food they can and just kept on going. So we had a sort of get a rest, then we had to retaliate and chase them down.
I remember before we crossed the Rhine River, the artillery opened up and we were sleeping right on the ground just with … and blankets, blanket underneath, blanket over here, sleeping right on the ground. And the artillery opened up and they said the ground just shivered. I was a stretcher bearer and I heard this loud noise and then, “Stretcher bearer, stretcher bearer.” I was eating my lunch. They dropped everything and run, you see. And this fellow had been backing up with their gun carrier and he hit a mine or … . I heard the explosion and then I heard a, “Stretcher bearer,” and we all run, because, you know it was going to be a bad thing. When we got there, this fellow was bleeding very profusely but he couldn’t get out of the vehicle. And I had a tourniquet for me so I said, here, let’s the two of us get this tourniquet on him. So because the tourniquet on, that fellow, the other fellows, their stretcher bearer, he came, see. And they arrived and they said, “How are we going to get him out of that vehicle?” So then they worked it around, they tore the thing, you have the pieces and got him out.
We started taking prisoners. Before, no, it was after we crossed the Rhine, the Germans started really surrendering, you know. So we said, “What do we do with them? So we put them in this great big field and we put barbed wire all the way around them. And put guards on them. And they were asking, “Do have you got any cigarettes, have you got any?” “No, we haven’t got any cigarettes for you fellows. We’ve got chocolate.” “Oh, we don’t want any chocolate.” They wanted cigarettes.