Veteran Stories:
Gordon Sampson

Army

  • Mr. Sampson in Saskatoon at the Royal Regina Rifles Regiment reunion in June, 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"and it was a blade of grass that was waving. I thought it was a German, and just, it was dark, quite dark. I tell you, that scared me, that was one of the worst scares I got, I think."

Transcript

The first 96 hours after we got off the ship, there was no sleep. And I think the worst scare I got was, we were in our trenches in Bretteville, and there was a row of us and two guys in each trench had to stand guard, and I was on watch at my end, and I was so tired and weak, and I could see this thing waving in front of me; and I said to the other chap, I said, there’s a German there. I said, I think I should fire; and he said, no don't. And just about that time I got another look at it; and it was a blade of grass that was waving. I thought it was a German, and just, it was dark, quite dark. I tell you, that scared me, that was one of the worst scares I got, I think.

Bunch of us were headed back to camp. We were going down a ravine and the Germans were up on top; and they were firing at us. The fella ahead of me, he fell; and then I fell over top of him; and when I was going down, there was a tracer bullet just went past me. I tell you, if I was six inches closer, I wouldn't be here today. We all got back to our regiment [The Regina Rifles] all right anyway.

We were stationed along a road dike about a quarter of a mile from the coast and on the coast they had a bunker, a German bunker. Around 10:30 that morning, the RAF [Royal Air Force] came over and strafed us; and he made a second run at us. He didn't hit anybody; and we had our marker out, and I don't know how he couldn't help but see it from the air because we could see him in the plane. Anyway, he left after a second run. There's one of my buddies and I were, there was a brick house, there were four or five houses along where we were staying, camping. This buddy and I decided we would go and make tea for the rest. This was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. We got the tea made and I was standing near the door; and I was going to go out and tell the boys that tea was ready. Anyway, just at that time I heard this plane coming in; and I said to my buddy, I said, let's hit the trenches. He said, don't be crazy. I started out and I was just in the door; and he reached, he was a tall fella, long arm, and he just reached out grabbed me by the collar and yanked me back in. I just went around the corner from the door and the old house just went this way, and that way; and there was nothing left of it. I was buried under a bunch of debris. The other boy, he was standing in the middle of the floor; and he never got hurt. The three boys that were in their trenches, they got buried alive. They dropped two 500 [pound] bombs right on top of the trench road. And, of course, we were so close to it that the concussion went up and over us. If we had been a hundred feet away, we would have been killed.

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