Ken Duffield, 2010.Historica Canada
Ken Duffield, 1944.Ken Duffield
Ken Duffield in Regina, Saskatchewan, 1943.Ken Duffield
Ken Duffield and a friend in Dundern, 1942.Ken Duffield
The barracks at Camp Dundern, 1942.Ken Duffield
"It’s a hard thing to say, that they said there was no way we could take prisoners because we had no way to dispose of them. So what do you do, you know, if you can’t take a prisoner?"
It was real late at night. I don’t know, maybe four o’clock or three o’clock in the morning was when we started to get ready to get in the landing craft and it was really rough. They put what they called ‘scramble nets’ over the ship. They let down the landing craft that we were in; and we had to crawl down maybe twenty or thirty feet on these scramble nets. You had to be very careful because the water was so rough that when the waves come they would lift the landing craft away up and then let it down; and you had to make sure that when you were going down these scramble nets that you didn’t get squashed between the landing craft and the ship.
When we got to the beaches I don’t know whether there was orders given; they dropped the front open and you were trained that just as soon as that door opened you jumped out into the water; and you headed for the beach just as quick as you could get there. So when we got to the beach we went around behind and there was a wall there. Just the door was there and there’s this wall kind of protecting the door; and we had to come in behind there and we threw a grenade in there. As soon as that exploded, two of us rushed in there with our weapons and anything that was moving we shot.
It’s a hard thing to say, that they said there was no way we could take prisoners because we had no way to dispose of them. So what do you do, you know, if you can’t take a prisoner? Well, we didn’t have any choice; and if a German would come out it didn’t matter. You disposed of him. That was just it because you had to clean everything out of the way so the next wave of soldiers could come through. And that’s the way it was. How we ever got off there without losing a man...
I can’t remember a lot of the names of the ones that were in my section [of The Regina Rifles Regiment]. There’s only the one that I really remember was Fleming. I think he was married; and I think he had two children. The worst part – the hardest part, I found, when he got killed – the thing was before that we agreed that if you got a parcel we divided it in amongst our men. If it was a chocolate bar you chopped it up in ten or twelve pieces and you’d give each one [a piece]. When he was killed, his wife every month sent him a parcel and the part that was the hardest to do was to open his parcel and divide it up. I was delegated to do that and that’s one of the hardest things that I had to do.