Veteran Stories:
Bruce Walker

  • The Memory Project, Historica Canada
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"We were restricted at one time to three bloody mortar bombs a day, 3-inch mortar. And I would presume that the artillery was also restricted on its expenditure of ammunition. We didn't have the men. We didn’t have the ammunitions, and we had to, you know, keep going. "

Transcript

We were restricted at one time to three bloody mortar bombs a day, 3-inch mortar. And I would presume that the artillery was also restricted on its expenditure of ammunition. We didn't have the men. We didn’t have the ammunitions, and we had to, you know, keep going. We finished the thing going up to Rome. We went back south on corps reserve, not far from Naples. And we were down there for, I guess, a couple of months. And from there, we went up to Florence. Stayed in Florence for about two weeks. And then we covered up all the tac [tactical] signs and everything on the vehicles. We went across to the east side again. And then we went up through the Gothic Line.* That was another line. God. And into Rimini.

After Rimini, you know, it was rivers. River after river, and every river crossing was a shambles. The last one I crossed was the Lamone. And it was a dandy. 1st [Canadian Infantry] Brigade just about got—well, we tried. Never made it across the rivers. I think we finished up going in with the 3rd [Canadian Infantry] Brigade because the Hasty Ps [The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment] and RCRs [Royal Canadian Regiment] were so badly knocked about. And our job, at that time—they took the guns off us because the land was so swampy. They armed us with PIAT** mortars and flame throwers.

 

*The Gothic Line was a long series of German defenses made up of fortified passes, mountaintops and rivers, which stood in the way of the Allied advance into northern Italy. Breaking the Gothic Line fell largely to Canadian troops.

**The Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank Mk I (PIAT) was an anti-tank weapon that fired grenades that could penetrate a tank’s armour, very similar to the American bazooka.

 

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