Veteran Stories:
Tom Naphtahli “Little Chief” Settee

Army

  • Tom Settee standing next to the painting he prepared of Juno Beach 2010.

    Historica Canada
  • Tom Settee and his mother in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan,1942.

    Tom Settee
  • Tom Settee(far right)with comrades during training in Dundurn, Saskatchewan, 1940.

    Tom Settee
  • Tom Settee after he became the Canadian Army overseas boxing champion in 1944.

    Tom Settee
  • Tommy Prince (left), Canada's most highly decorated First Nations soldier, and Tom Settee pose together during training.

    Tom Settee
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"I was running from one slit trench to the other; and they started peppering us, you know. I was running back and I got hit in the leg. I couldn't move, the shrapnel is still here."

Transcript

We jumped off the Assault Landing Craft, came up to our waist in water and we had to wade in. You had to hold your Bren Gun [light machine gun] up and wade in. These guys were peppering [firing at] us. Boy, I don't know how I ever made it. Guys were dropping here and there; we kept running. We finally got to the, they had a slit trench right across town. It was about ten feet deep, you know. We just jumped in anyway. Some guys carried a little metal ladder; they put ‘em together and scrambled up the ladder, and kept running towards town. There were guys dropping here and there, but we were zig-zagging-like, you know

Finally we got into town [Courseulles-sur-Mer] and started street fighting, and then The Queen's Own Rifles [of Canada] came there, [Le Régiment de la] Chaudière, French [Canadian] regiment and we made it with the towns. We held that town there. We held it.

I had a young man with me called Mayberry. He was my number two on the Bren Gun. It takes two people to operate. I fire it and he carries my extra ammunition. I left Mayberry. I got hit and got wounded, and then Mayberry took over as number one. I became number two, like, to help him. They say he went buggy, battle fatigue. They had to send him back, yeah.

Shrapnel hit me, I was running from one slit trench to the other; and they started peppering us, you know. I was running back and I got hit in the leg. I couldn't move, the shrapnel is still here.

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