Veteran Stories:
Harold Stever

Army

  • A Universal (Bren Gun) Carrier towing a six-pounder anti-tank gun of the 3rd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA), Gouy, France, August 30, 1944.
    Credit: Lieut. Donald I. Grant / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-132421.

    Gunner Stever served in the 3rd Anti-Tank Regiment.

    Credit: Lieut. Donald I. Grant / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-132421.
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"They were scared, but they tell you they weren’t scared, that’s bullshit. Everybody was scared. You had to be scared or you weren’t normal."

Transcript

Well, there was one fellow was the gunner [in his anti-tank crew, 3rd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery]. He used to fire the gun and then the sergeant was number one; he used to give the orders. He’d say so much to the west, so much to the east; and when the gun used to be on, you’d say, "on!" And when you said on - I was number two - and I put the shell in. And then the sergeant yelled "fire!" What wave [of D-Day] were you in? In the first wave. But when we landed on D-Day [June 6, 1944] that was the biggest fight there was, on the D-Day landing. The Germans were waiting on you; and we just went in there and the Germans were waiting on you. Just got peppered. Lost a lot of men then. It was hell on earth. There was a war on, and they’re firing their shells, exploding all over the place. There’s nobody can’t say they weren’t scared. They were scared, but they tell you they weren’t scared, that’s (makes noise) bullshit. Everybody was scared. You had to be scared or you weren’t normal. I don’t know. It just, you were kind of numb. There was just people firing at you. There was more coming at you than there was going out, and that’s the way it was. You didn’t know what minute you were going to get it, and that was it. I don’t know how some people took it. Some people, different people took it different ways. Some got it the hard way and some didn’t, not so hard. It depend what outfit you were in. Infantry had the worst. When you come back home and you meet your own people, it’s not the same. But you try to forget that. You don’t, I don’t think of that often. I just forget about it. I never even talked to my kids about it. Just forget about it. The memories come back to you about all your friends you lost with you. I got a brother got killed in Holland. He was only about 17 or 18 years old. Younger, he was four years younger than I was. You start remembering what you went through and you take that hard. All your friends you knew. You knew them well; you were with them for years. You think about it; your young brother got killed. He was only a young fellow. He joined the army because we were in the army. Probably wouldn’t have been in the army, wouldn’t have joined the army [otherwise]. But that’s life, I guess. But them days are gone forever, I guess. I hope we never see them again.
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