Louis Pantaleo with his dog Pete, taken in England just before their deployment to Dieppe.Louis D Pantaleo
Photo of Louis D. Pantaleo taken in 1939 after he enlisted, but before he went overseas.Louis D. Pantaleo
"The Germans were really prepared for us. And they knew where we were going."
I wish they would tell the truth about it. Were getting innuendos and I think that that was the turning point of the war. The troops didn’t know what … they saw the mosaics but they didn’t see the name of the town or wherever it was.
In Dieppe we were supposed to make it a month before we did. And we all knew the word Dieppe, then they send us on leave. It sounds as if they purposely gave the secret out. The Germans were really prepared for us. And they knew where we were going … pinpoint where we were going.
We were on two boats, the Royal Regiment was split on two boats. And both boats were dive bombed. So they … and but the bombs exploded in the water. They didn’t have armour. So the bombs went in the one side of the boats and out the other side. And then they exploded. The Germans used time bombs, so it gave the planes a chance to get away and they would be out of the blast.
So when I landed I landed with the anti-tank rifle. I got on the beach and I flopped on the beach in the prone position to fire the anti-tank rifle. And I couldn’t hit anything. The clips were in the way. So I had to stand up to aim at the blockhouse that was on top of the cliff. I fired that … apparently, I did some damage to the German morale.
It was a general surrender and I was in that general surrender. Somebody, I don’t know who it was, gave the order that we put our hands up and just surrender. And we did. And we walked off the beach. I couldn’t believe my ears. I couldn’t believe they were going to surrender. But I surrendered with the rest.
All that training we had and … for a half hour of fighting. No, it was very bitter pill to take.
Most of our prison life was in cell 8B. That was in … I forget the name … 8B was an army camp, we were in that camp. Because we were tied and chained for a whole year. So we couldn’t do any work. So we just sat around the camp for a year, more than a year. And then they sent us on working parties.
When we had the chains on we would get up at six o’clock and seven o’clock we would be [Unintelligible 00:03:15] to get the chains on. And then we wandered around all day long. And then we had soup for supper and then they take the chains off. That was it, day in and day out.
Wonderful life. I liked the comradeship of being in the army. It was nice to know that you had 900 more men behind you. If you were [Unintelligible 00:03:51] and you got into a fight you had somebody to help you out. The comradeship and … it was very prevalent in the army.
I had a pocket watch, and then I made an escape and I gave my watch to a sergeant to hold for me in case I get caught or … after the war. And, about five years after, I was at a reunion in Peterborough. And the sergeant came up to me and handed me the watch. He had held onto it all those years, 25 years it worked out. And I got the watch back.
The comradeship of the army life is something that you don’t get anywhere else but in the army. It’s a wonderful feeling. Gave me a better look on life that … draw the best and the most fun you can out of it. And work hard and try to supply a better life for your children.