Veteran Stories:
Harold Schaus

Army

  • Major David V. Currie (left, with pistol in hand) of The South Alberta Regiment accepting the surrender of German troops at St. Lambert-sur-Dives, France, 19 August 1944.

    Major D.V. Currie is awarded the Victoria Cross for this battle.

    Credit: Lieut. Donald I. Grant / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-111565 Restrictions on use: Nil Copyright: Expired
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"McAlister and myself, we’d jump, we’d crash in the front door, and hope that any Germans would go crashing out the back door and then our Bren gunners would get them."

Transcript

The greatest memory I had when we went to France was St. Lambert-sur-Dives, where Major [David] Currie won the VC [Victoria Cross]. The Argyll [and Sunderland Highlander of Canada Regiment] went there to support him, he went charging in there and closed the gap, and we were told that [General George] Patton was coming to help close the other end of the gap, but of course he never came, he went charging off to Paris to fight all the clerks and cooks that were in Paris, not the SS and the paratroopers which are real tough people that we were forced to. He left us sitting out there at St. Lambert, and he left the Polish division surrounded, and the Canadians had to go and save the Polish division. Anyway that was quite a memory at St. Lambert, you could write a book on the four days that we were there.

We were going into a town, a little village like one street along the edge of a canal, and we had to clear the houses, there was Germans in them, and another corporal and myself were in charge of the whole platoon and we lined up the Bren guns at the back doors of these houses, shooting down the street. And McAlister and myself, we’d jump, we’d crash in the front door, and hope that any Germans would go crashing out the back door and then our Bren gunners would get them. And we’d throw a grenade down in the…they had little cellars, they weren’t real cellars, they were just root cellars sort of thing, they weren’t very deep, we’d throw our grenade down there if there was any Germans they would be jumping up behind us, and at the end house McAlister and I thought, hey maybe there's something to eat down in this little hole in the ground here. So we didn’t throw a grenade down there, we went down and looked, and all the kids and women from the village were in the last cellar, we didn’t throw a grenade there, we would have got them all, and so I was very happy about that, I felt very proud that we didn’t throw a grenade down there and kill all those people.

And then of course we had to move off, they didn’t even have a chance to thank us, we had to, you had to keep going. But in Holland and I was still with the lead tank, walking beside them sort of guarding against the German infantry, guarding the tanks from their Panzerfausts [anti-tank rockets] and the tank hit a mine right beside me, and the next memory I have is in a jeep ambulance going to the back, going back to the hospital and I kept thinking “keep going, keep going, keep going far back there because I'm not going back up to the front.” And then that’s what happened I never did get back to the front, eventually I went back to England and the memory is, that I married my girlfriend in England and we've been married 67 years this coming September.

Follow us