Veteran Stories:
Nigel Taylor

Army

  • German Panzer Tank with Captain Stubbs, May 25, 1944.

    Nigel Taylor
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"And he knocked it out and said, I got him, Sir. And those were his last words because [an] anti-tank gun got us within seconds after he said that and our tank went up in flames."

Transcript

Joined as a trooper in 1940, I guess. And went down to do some soldiering in Duncan, B.C. Don’t ask me why, but that’s where I got sent. And from there, we went to Camp Borden and did some more soldiering and went overseas in the fall of 1941 I guess. And I was then in England and I got sent to Sandhurst and graduated as a lieutenant and went back to my regiment the British Columbia Dragoons and was sent over to Italy in the advance party. And we fought up, well, we didn’t fight for a while but we spent the winter in Ortona I think it was on the one side of Italy. And then we got moved back south of the Hitler Line and I went into action in May of 1944. My war came to a pretty abrupt halt because I was wounded quite badly on the drive to the Hitler Line on the 24th of May in 1944. And I was hit in the head and instantly paralyzed from the waist down. We came on these German tanks. The biggest one that I was working at was called a Sherman. We looked at each other and I guess we got in the first shot and knocked it out. It was about 1,000 yards away, ten hundred as we called it in those days. That was the distance I gave to my gunner. And he knocked it out and said, I got him, Sir. And those were his last words because [an] anti-tank gun got us within seconds after he said that and our tank went up in flames. I managed to get out through, over the top of the turret. I was paralyzed from the waist down and an infantry officer was jumping up to try and get me. Eventually he made it and pulled me out and our tank went up in flames. I got pulled back behind the tank and into a ditch. And got evacuated out through the… The last person in the regiment I saw was the medical officer, who said goodbye to me and he put me down as an ‘expectant casualty’. Which meant that I was expected to die. However, I didn’t, I got on a Jeep, was evacuated in a Jeep to Naples, brain and spine hospital. And woke up in the death ward and said to the nurse, I’m not going to die. So presently a medical officer came along and said, I hear you’re not going to die. I said, that’s right. He said, we’ll get you out of here. Because they were being taken away by the score from there. Wasn’t a good ward to be in, so I was put in another ward where I was not bad, I guess. I was paralyzed from the waist down but otherwise, I was alright. And eventually I got moved out into a hospital ship and sent to England, where I eventually was able to walk again. My gunner was killed and I saw that he was dead. The co-driver who was in the turret with me pushed me out because I couldn’t move from the waist down. So he took me and got me out over to an infantry officer who caught me and took me into the ditch. My driver and co-driver bailed out through the bottom of the tank, through the escape hatch that my driver had. So they were already alright. So all we lost, well, I say all we lost, was a very good gunner.
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