Veteran Stories:
Wilfred John Pound

  • Wilfred J. Pound in uniform. Photograph taken in Lindsay, ON, in 1939.

    Wilfred J. Pound
  • Private Wilfred J. Pound in work clothes, standing in front of steps after arriving in Prince Rupert, BC, where he was stationed.

    Wilfred J. Pound
  • Portrait of Private Wilfred J. Pound, of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa.

    Wilfred J. Pound
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"So we’re on a hill, and I heard this humming and he said, the planes should be coming in soon, and that was the planes coming. They passed over our heads, 400-odd planes, 20,000 tons of bombs, and they dropped them on Caen. And it was a complete inferno."

Transcript

When war broke out in September, we went there in August, 26th, and sometime in September, I just don’t know the date, we all joined and were active and were given our numbers. I have close buddies with me, there were four of us, and we’d all like to go together. He, said, ‘Well, the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa are wanting truck drivers and we can put you in there. So if you’d like to do that, we’ll start you out tomorrow, and we’ll send you up into Scotland for training, and they will be with you. But don’t say anything to them when you go out!’ And I didn’t, and sure enough, they did follow me, and we were all still together.

I went in on D-Day. Day-in and day-out, we would go in and go through the procedures of loading and unloading, and then we’d come back and dock at the wharf again. When it came to the 6th of June, they said well if we don’t go out now – and this is Mr. Eisenhower – and he said if we don’t go now, we won’t be able to go.

Going over, it was just terrible, the storm was just terrible. As we were going in towards France those boats were being thrown all over the place. They brought what they called a rhino* (rhino barge) round to the front of the LST (Landing Ship Tank) that we were riding in, and our truck was on it. You take your turn and go down this ramp and onto the Rhino. I got into my truck and in this truck I had one man riding in the back and one in the front with me. And, as I went down the one ramp to go onto the Rhino, and then they take you in as far as possible and fetch you off where they think the water is right. So they let me off there, and I had about 75 feet before we hit the beachhead, with sand, dry sand. And all the way through the wet I knew that I had trouble underneath, and my booster brake had caught the Rhino on where the hook up was on the rhino. So I made it to the dry spot on the beach, and firing was going on all around us, and bodies all around, and I crawled underneath to see what was the matter and wired it up the best I could so they’d get off the beach. I told the boys once I was doing it to get into the wheel wells and stay there. And when I get it finished I said I’d be out from under the truck and I crawled out from under and helped them settle in the truck again. I would go on without that booster brake. We headed in further into shore, luckily we were not hit.

The night before they went in to Caen, an officer came and asked me if I was, if I had anything to do, if I was off that night and I said yes I’m off. He said, well, you could come with me and drive me, and I said yes. I went along with him; I had no idea where he was going. We went to the hills in Caen, on the highest hills that we could find. He was looking right down on Caen, and when we got up there, we could see the buildings, and he was searching around, and what he was doing was, picking out his gun sites. So we’re on a hill, and I heard this humming and he said, the planes should be coming in soon, and that was the planes coming. They passed over our heads, 400-odd planes, 20,000 tons of bombs, and they dropped them on Caen. And it was a complete inferno.

 

*The Rhino Barge was made of steel and used to transfer trucks, supplies, and personnel from the vessels to the beaches.

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