Veteran Stories:
David Peat

Army

  • David Peat and his regiment training at Kiska - Engineers Training Centre- on a pontoon boat.
    David Peat was 20 or 21 years old.

    David Peat
  • Photograph of David Peat in his army uniform circa age of 20, and his wife Olive at 19.

    David Peat
  • Four medals of David Peat: 1939-45 War Medal, France and Germany Star, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, King George Volunteer Medal.
    Medals awarded for service and replaced after a burglary.

    David Peat
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"Well, they fired, the Germans turned a mortar and a bit exploded and these guys all went down in a group, all over the place."

Transcript

David Oliver Peat, born out of Loverna, Saskatchewan, 1922 on the 8th of March. 1942, on the 19th of August, the same day as the Dieppe raid, I picked that date that I signed up or swore in or whatever you want to call it.

Now, I’m going to tell you something just to make it straight. I was carrying my papers, you know, your documentation papers, and in there, they wrote right in the damn thing, plain ink, I’m not suitable for ancillary or materiel. So I never (laughs). I knew where I stood then, I didn’t need to worry about becoming a corporal or sergeant or anything else, but that’s the way it was, you know.

You asked about basic training. Well, that’s just a lot of foot marching around and drill work and stuff like that. Right turn, left turn, wrong turn (laughs). Not wrong turn but that’s what it was about. But I learned all the basics about bar and blowing up bridges and everything when I was in the engineers. We also built a timber bridge, we went up in the forest, cut down trees and made a timber bridge. And then we drove, not a tank but a, they call it a Bren gun carrier, drove it on but it didn’t cave down so I guess we had it strong enough.

The only thing that happened, one night, somebody thought somebody was there and they woke up and, they were sleeping, and they woke up and started shooting. Before it was all over, there was some Americans dead because they thought there was Japs. Well there wasn’t, they proved all day long, true, they went all over the island and there wasn’t any Japanese there at all, they were all gone. But that’s the way that went. It was a bad mistake but that’s the way it is.

I went overseas, that’d be in ‘43 I guess it was. We came back and then we went, finally went over, overseas to Scotland and landed there and trained for a while. And then I ended up going to France, as reinforcements to the Queen’s Own Rifles.

Well, I told you, we were stationed, one day we were, you know, in an apple orchard and they just about blew the apple orchard up along with us too. It was a big mortar bomb hit the tree and we were under the tree and you can imagine the explosion, all the branches and apples and everything falling down. And I tell you, we were sitting there holding onto our tin hat. And then when I got wounded, then I was dished out of there and went back to a field dressing station, I always remember that.

There was a Scottish nurse in charge there, she was from Scotland and she had that brogue. And everybody, “Good morning, good morning Jock and how are you this morning?” Everybody was Jock and we were a whole mix of wounded guys and Polish guys that didn’t understand a word of English even. Poor souls.

But they got first aid care, so that was that. And then I was shipped back to the 4th field, general hosp, Canadian general hospital in England. They had to take the index finger off because it was turning green, so the doctors done a lot of talking there and that’s where I was slated for another operation so they just took the next finger right out altogether.

I can see, all I can see that night we went into action, I see one of the men that carries the battery pack for the radio operator. He was laying up on the hill, he was, got it right away. Well, they fired, the Germans turned a mortar and a bit exploded and these guys all went down in a group, all over the place. That’s all I can remember. See, I can see them in my mind’s eye, laying there on the ground and they’d been alive minutes before.

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