Veteran Stories:
Reuben Patrick


  • Mr. Patrick posing next to a truck during the war.

    Reuben Patrick
  • Private Patrick in his wartime uniform.

    Reuben Patrick
  • Mr. Reuben Patrick, November 2011.

Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"And I was lying down and I was like this in the sun, sunbathing, and there was a plane come over and you can see the bomb bay open up and the bloody bomb come down. Boy, sure made you move."


I went across on the Princess Mary [RMS Queen Mary, a passenger vessel], a big boat, and on the way across, I was a waiter. Yeah. Service meal to the soldiers. I played cards. Before the war, I was in the line camp and I used to watch the people play cards and they used to play Crib [Cribbage, a popular English card game], 15/2, 15/4, 15/6, 15/8. How in the heck do you get 15, two […]. And I couldn’t make it out. And going overseas, I was sitting down and I was watching them play cards, and a bunch of C.W.A.C. [women serving in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps] playing crib. And I says to one of the girls, I said: ‘How in the hell do you get that 15/2?], and this and that. And she showed me and I just […]. I played cards ever since. But yeah, took us 12 days to get onto the … We went up, way up to Greenland. And the Queen Mary was a big boat and was a fast boat and we zig-zag all across [the Atlantic Ocean]. We trained, we tried to train as best we could so that when we got an action, that we could survive. We had an idea of what is going on but once you get in the front line, it’s not what they teach you in the book or in training. I mean, part of it helps you but when you get in the front line, it’s everybody for himself. You survive or else you get killed. If you don’t kill, they’ll kill you. So you haven’t got no choice. The only special event that I can really recall is when we got bombed by our own plane [during the Normandy campaign, July of 1944]. I was lying down, we come back from the front line and we had a bath, a shave and it was a beautiful day. And I was lying down and I was like this in the sun, sunbathing, and there was a plane come over and you can see the bomb bay open up and the bloody bomb come down. Boy, sure made you move. And I was missing for two weeks because I took off for the beach. I said: ‘To hell with that.’ But I’ll never forget that and the young fellow, I call him young fellow, I guess he must have been about my age I guess, and he was scared. And I said: ‘Don’t be scared, I said, stick around with me, I said, you’ll be okay.’ And the poor guy, I think he went over either an explosion magnet or something, a truck full of explosives, from the bomb, and I took off and he wouldn’t follow me. And poor guy, I never seen him after that, so. You can’t blame them [the Allied Bomber Command] because I can understand it because the poor guys, they leave England and they’ve got a certain spot that they’re supposed to drop their bomb. By the time they live England and they moved up there, we were already there. We were advancing so fast, by the time the plane come up there, they dropped the plane and they don’t give a darn what’s under there because they don’t know if it’s German that’s trying to stop them or us. And they got orders. We can’t communicate with those guys, we haven’t got the communication they have today. So you can’t blame them. They got orders, drop your plane a certain place and that’s what they do. We send in the Typhoon [the Hawker Typhoon, a British single-seat fighter-bomber] to try to stop them but they wouldn’t stop, they just kept on coming. In my outfit, the people I was with, I don’t’ know how many they were but at least I heard that there was 12 of us left in my outfit that I was with after the bombing. And I was maybe the 13th one because I was way back. Because when I see those bombs coming down, I didn’t stick around. And where I was lying down, there was a 20 foot crater there, from one of the bombs. So you could imagine. And if they hit that truck, they must have hit the truck because the truck was loaded with explosives, it was not very far from me. So that thing must have exploded too. I can tell you my experience and the guy next door to me can tell you his experience and every soldier, every individual that sees things differently. What I see is different than the guy next door to me. I don’t give a darn what anybody say. There’s no soldier can tell you the same story.
Follow us