Most of our casualties were despatch riders, because they'd put up a wire across the road and catch a motorcycle guy, you know, and accidents or maybe the odd mine, you'd hit a mine and it would blow the front end of your truck off, but mostly the engineers cleared the road and then they'd put white tape on the sides of the road and said ‘verges not cleared,’ [...]
Mr. Frank Young served as a driver in World War Two with No. 66 Transport Company of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps in Normandy and during the Northwest Europe campaign.
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We went over and we had bridging on our vehicles, when we were put on the landing barges, so the Mulberry dock [a British type of temporary harbour] was already there when we went in, so we went over and it was a beautiful, sunny day, as I recall, and we drove and I thought this, you know, really this is pretty...not much action at that bridge, or was, but it was further away.
Anyway, we sat around for two or three days making sure that we had our vehicles waterproofed in case we had to go in the water, so we had a deep waterproof them, so one...and then all of a sudden there was a push at Falaise Gap [the Battle of the Falaise Pocket, 12-21 August 1944] and we had to take bridging up. Then some of the bombers had bombed our troops by mistake, so we...and they blew up an ammunition dump, so we had to take ammo up to them and we started taking, you know, fuel from the beach; there were piles and piles and piles of gas cans on the beach and we’d take that up and then back and take this up and to the front. It was tiring at first. We didn't sleep a whole lot in a bed for the first couple of weeks and then it wasn’t too bad after that, once they stopped, but then their supply lines got longer and longer, and you know...so it was tiring.
[Serving with No. 66 Transport Company, RCASC]
There was 30...I think sort of 30 trucks or something in a platoon and there were six trucks and a motorcyclist, so that was five, so sometimes our five group would be taking bridging over to this area, sometimes it would be taking petrol up to this area, another five, so we were all over; like it just seemed we were...but then you might have a whole day where you did nothing and then you might have two days where you just sleep behind the wheel of the truck. You'd go up and they'd say, ‘well, we want you to drop this at point’ whatever it was, mostly the despatch rider was the guy that knew exactly, and by the time we got to that point, the front had moved up, so they say, ‘hey, you're coming with us up further,’ and you took it up further until they said, ‘here, we’re dropping here, now head back to...’ you know, but we were in convoy 99% of the time, so you didn't have to think about where you were going, just follow that truck ahead of you and, you know...yes, well, it was...it was very tiring, but then again at least very rarely were we getting bombed.
Once in a while you'd see...so like one time in particular that we had to go up this road and they said, ‘space the trucks 15 each, we’ll take six trucks and go, and then 15 minutes and six more trucks, then we’ll wait 20 minutes, then the next ones would be 10 minutes to dislodge and not tell them exactly when you're coming, don't get in a set,’ so that was really scary, but really I don't think I was even shot at in that particular time.
We were very lucky to have a vehicle, because at least when we slept we could sleep in a...even if we were sitting behind the wheel we were dry and the other poor guys out there in a mud-filled ditch, you know, and all this, so when looking back you think, boy, we were pretty lucky guys.
Most of our casualties were despatch riders, because they'd put up a wire across the road and catch a motorcycle guy, you know, and accidents or maybe the odd mine, you'd hit a mine and it would blow the front end of your truck off, but mostly the engineers cleared the road and then they'd put white tape on the sides of the road and said ‘verges not cleared,’ so you didn't pull over there to go to the bathroom or anything; you just stood on the side of your truck if you had to, you know, and, no, we were pretty lucky as far as casualties went.
There were a few accidents and the odd time where a truck would catch on fire whether through carelessness or whether it was through enemy action, you're really not sure; mostly it was carelessness, but still it happens, because they're, ‘get up here and get up here fast, get up here fast,’ and something, a little accident would happen.