""I think the most of us accepted what there was – the war was there, you do what’s done in war, and when you come home, you go back into peaceful living again.""
My name is Kenneth Douglas Buller. I joined the non-permanent active militia when I was in high school with my brother. We belonged to what you’d call the “Saturday night soldiers.” We were in it maybe from probably the time we were maybe 16.
During the war, I went from being a Sergeant in the non-permanent active militia, which we talked about, to active, and that put me into being promoted into taking Officers training. In November, 1942, I enlisted in active service and I went to London, Ontario to enlist. From there, we went to Three Rivers [Trois-Rivières], Quebec for Officers training.
It’s very hard when you’re in the front line – like, I had a fellow from home, and he and I were junior officers, and I went away one day, and I came back, and my Captain told me that a friend of mine, who was a junior officer like me, he had got killed that afternoon. And that was my first friend that had been killed. And that’s awful hard to take.
The front line, it’s a case of being told where you’re going or if you’re staying still. Many times, you sit and you do patrols. Like in Italy, after they took Ortona – the Western battalions took Ortona out in a terrible fight – the rest of the troops like ourselves were to the West of that, and we just stayed in the line there for most of the winter, like November, December, January, February, we didn’t move. And all we did every day, there were patrols sent out to scour the land in front and check and see if the Jerries were coming into our part of the front line. And they did the same as we did. We just sat there – there was very little action on the front line.
There would be shelling – we were very fussy about people coming to the front line with motorcycles and things because the roads were dirty and they turned up dust, and as soon as there was dust, they [the Germans] knew that somebody was on those roads, so there’s gotta be troops there, and they would shell that road. Well, the motorcyclist, he’d get out of there and we were sitting there and we took the shelling.
We were in a place called Rimini [Italy], near the airport, we’d gone through the town and we were on the farm. We were in a farmhouse and the Germans were in a farmhouse, and we were shooting back and forth when I got wounded. We got taken out by jeep, with our own gang, and taken back to an R.A.P. which is Regimental Aid Post. There was a doctor there who I knew, and he tied me up to stop the bleeding, and from there I was sent to a general hospital, a military hospital.
I couldn’t go back ever. They just said I was never going be a soldier again. So, since then – I was 22 when that happened, and I was sent home on a hospital ship, I went to London [England], to the Kremlin[-Bicêtre]* airport hospital, and from there I was discharged as not able to be a soldier any longer. And I was 23 years old when I was made a pensioner.
I think the most of us accepted what there was – the war was there, you do what’s done in war, and when you come home, you go back into peaceful living again. Of course, I came home to a son, and a wife, and within three years, I had three children.
*The Kremlin[-Bicêtre] airport is in France.