Veteran Stories:
Roy Armstrong

Army

  • Roy Armstrong in Red Deer, Alberta, 2010.

    Historica Canada
  • Roy Armstong is seen here on his motorcycle during training in Red Deer, Alberta, 1940.

    Roy Armstrong
  • Roy Armstrong (bottom right), and his fellow dispatch riders during training in Red Deer, Alberta.

    Roy Armstrong
  • Roy Armstrong (third from the right), poses with friends in front of a captured Nazi flag.

    Roy Armstrong
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"The night before we got instructions to write our last letter home.. Who do you send it to: your mom and dad, or your wife? I addressed it to all of them. That's a hell of a letter to have to write."

Transcript

The night before we got instructions to write our last letter home. I was married, young, just married. Very young and married. Who do you send it to: your mom and dad, or your wife? I addressed it to all of them. That's a hell of a letter to have to write.

The Regina Rifles [Regiment], I think, they scored ̶ they went the deepest in land as anybody did [during the Normandy Landings]; and No. 14 [Canadian] Field Ambulance [Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps] was right behind them. Did you ever see them set up a field ambulance? Four ambulances and they back them all together; and they leave a little hole in the middle for an operating room. Each ambulance will take four wounded men and they operated on them; fix ‘em up, put them in an ambulance, away it goes; and another one backs in.

I saw a guy come into No. 14 Field Ambulance one time. I thought he was saying a prayer. He was sitting like this, and he had a little hole through there for a cigarette. Germans had cleaned the front of his hands off and healed them together. Do you know why? He was a doctor. He would never operate again. That's how mean the Germans [could] get. You can't believe some of the stuff that I witnessed during the war. The Regina Rifles confiscated an ambulance one time. The Americans just went over and bombed a couple we had. The Regina Rifles turned an ambulance over to us. I got the pleasure of driving this thing down to No. 14 Field Ambulance, put the thing to work, but the mechanics, they got to look it over first. You know what they found ̶ there was a pipe off the exhaust pipe up the back of the ambulance and into the ambulance. Do you know what they did that for? Children and old aged people. When they got to their destination, everybody would be dead in the back of that ambulance. How mean can people get? That's a hard story to believe, isn't it? Yeah, I saw that with my own eyes.

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