Veteran Stories:
Cyrille Hoffman

Army

  • Mr. Hoffman's Discharge Certificate dated 14 March 1952.

    Cyrille Hoffman
  • Mr. Cyrille Hoffman, August 2011.

    Cyrille Hoffman
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"So he got on the running board because he figured he could see that he was in the tracks better than the driver. But being as he was on the running board, when the wheel was hit with the mine and blew up the front of the vehicle, well, it pushed him up and he went up whatever height."

Transcript

Before I went on a boat, I was in trouble. Went to town with my mother and we had a few drinks and when my brother wasn’t in the army, was there as well, at any rate, and we, she saw me off type of thing. And I stayed in the car talking to her until 2:00 in the morning and when I went in, the sergeant was waiting for me, to give me hell. I do what I think is right. And even when I got a mention in dispatches and I got it for telling my officer to go F himself.

Well, I was in the minefield and laying the mines. Well, I had other people doing the laying of the mine. And then I activated them. So I went somewhere, then the enemy started shelling but they weren’t shelling me. There was a cabinet over here and our troops are here. So my way out is here. So with the enemy shelling the cabin here, I’m safer here doing my job. Because that’s what they’re shelling, thinking that we must be congregated in the building. They didn’t know, they just heard noises and they knew we were doing something. That was because, they claim I went back into the minefield and picked up the white tape. I mean, that’s what somebody said. But that’s bullshit, I didn’t leave the minefield until I picked up the tape. When they were shelling here, like I said, then my corporal come and he told me, Honeyman says get out of here and I said, fuck Honeyman and I had to finish my job.

I don’t know why it smelled but it, well, for one thing, they water their fields with human manure and sometimes when we’re sleeping in tents, when we were like once we started and they’d water their fields first thing in the morning and we were sleeping, we could smell it. But I went into another town and a boy come over and asked me to come with him. And he brought me over to a slit trench and pointed us in for the slit trench. So I put my rifle in and there was an enemy soldier there I guess and he was wounded. And I just told him to come out. Well, he couldn’t walk, so he come out of the trench and laid there and then I think I say that in there. And then I went and got the, the medical officer and he came out. But he was a little upset with having to walk so far. And he says, why don’t you just shoot them. What a stupid thing for him to say. But anyway, I ignored it. I mean, retrospect, I think I should have said something nasty but I didn’t.

At any rate, so they sent a jeep and they picked him up. But they’re drivers, you know, I mean, you’re fighting a war and the enemy’s the enemy and the driver of the jeep was hitting the bumps, so the guy had a bumpy ride and it’s human nature is all it is. But anyway, how they looked after him, I have no idea. And my officer, I think said so in there, brought me a few beers one day and then asked me to take him into the minefield because there was an enemy soldier and they wanted his rifle, so that they could find out where the Chinese were getting their stuff from. And so I had to bring them into the minefield and get his rifle and the headquarters, the intelligence guys looked at it and whatever they deciphered.

And I remember, I took his wallet and there was money in it. But it was probably script. Because when I, I kept it for about three, four years, I don’t remember how long I kept it. Walker was, he drove me to the site that I was supposed to go to and he was just the driver. And when the New Zealand trucks came in, I told him, I told them they couldn’t go through, look at the vehicles that were already blown up. It says so in there. And anyway, and so he got on the running board because he figured he could see that he was in the tracks better than the driver. But being as he was on the running board, when the wheel was hit with the mine, like, and blew up the front of the vehicle, well, it pushed him up and he went up whatever height. I’m only speculating and I watched.

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