Veteran Stories:
Bruce Ramsay

Army

  • Bruce Ramsay at Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (RCCS) Vimy Barracks in Kingston, Ontario.

    Bruce Ramsay
  • A May 5th, 1945 sketch of Bruce Ramsay by Signalman Kirkpatrick.

    Bruce Ramsay
  • Bruce Ramsay's medals (from left to right): 1939-1945 Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with clasp, 1939-1945 War Medal.

    Bruce Ramsay
  • Bruce Ramsay's Service and Pay Book.

    Bruce Ramsay
  • Inside cover of Bruce Ramsay's Service and Pay Book.

    Bruce Ramsay
  • Bruce Ramsay's Discharge Certificate.

    Bruce Ramsay
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"They had given me the day before an armour vest to wear and they said this is just experimental. If you get any action on it, well, you give it up. And that's what happened. I got quite a few peltings on the vest and only one in the narrow part of my back. And that was only a big bruise."

Transcript

I was just a lineman. I moved telephone wires from our exchange to the [artillery] batteries, three batteries belonged to the regiment. When we went active, I had a partner called Tom Longo. He was from a farm in Peace River, Alberta. I rather think that they decided that these two farm boys could take the outside air better than some of the city boys. I don't know. I remained a lineman through the whole activity. It was still in the bridgehead. Our division arrived D+30 [thirty days after the invasion of Normandy began on June 6, 1944] and, oh, we made a mistake or two. The colonel put the headquarters down near the batteries and the activity to the headquarters made a target for the German artillery. And they forced us out back about a mile. I guess my first situation was me and Tommy had to go down and connect our wires that were close to the batteries to the exchange that we had moved, which was about a mile of, maybe less than a mile, of walking. When we got down there to tie the thing, we were shelled. I got a slight wound and Tom managed to get into one of the trenches that had been built. Incidentally they had given me the day before an armour vest to wear and they said this is just experimental. If you get any action on it, well, you give it up. And that's what happened. I got quite a few peltings on the vest and only one in the narrow part of my back. And that was only a big bruise. One thing—we as linesmen were in two groups, three of us in each group, and at the incident before the bridgehead was broken through, the man that—the reason we had to walk up, he had tied the wire at the top of the hill and buzzed off with the jeep and reported both of us killed. So we didn't have him any longer and we never got a replacement. So there was two of us and there was three of us and we alternated on reconnaissance. Just as we got into Holland, we had the Scheldt estuary situation and the other three got blown up by mines. The next night—well, we came close to it because we were on a reconnaissance and the major was ahead of us. He and our radio operator that was with him in his jeep were killed. Their driver lived, he survived the mine. Those are things I don't like to talk about.
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