My name is Alec MacInnis. I joined the army in 1939, in the West Nova Scotia Regiment. Proceeded overseas. Spent three years in England before the invasion of Sicily. We fought through Sicily in the invasion of Italy up to as far as... I got as far as Ortona, when I got wounded in the knee joint. I was shipped back to England, and spent seven months in hospital in England. And I got out in time to go to, just at the end of the Battle of France, in a place called Lisle. I had joined another regiment at that time - I couldn't go back to Italy. They sent me with Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. I went with them from France as far as the border of Germany, and I got hit again. Of course, my time came up for repatriation home shortly after, and I was repatriated back home before the war was over. I arrived back in Canada in February, 1945.
The combat soldier never gets over the experience that he has in the front lines in combat. I wrote a little story about an experience that I had. It was on Christmas Day, 1943. It was for the control of the little town of Ortona. The story is called, "My Little Son Was the Stranger. I Never Knew His Name." It was for control of the medieval town that I met him, at Ortona. Going across no-man's-land, I saw this little boy, mortally wounded. I took his little hand in mine. The tears in front my eyes were that of how afraid he must have been, with no mother to hold him or comfort him as he lay there dying on a blood soaked battlefield among the dead and dying soldiers.
This little guy never left me. He travels with me at night. He never gets any older. He is forever destined to remain young, around the age of eight or nine. It was on Christmas Day, 1943, which made the scene sadder. It was my fourth Christmas away from my family, and not a very happy one.
A lot of children die in wars. We have to find a way to solve problems without killing on some battlefield, where the innocent become casualties. What I have tried to do in my story is tell people that just because the guns fall silent on the battlefield and the smoke clears, for the combat soldier, his war just begins, with the nightmares and the bad dreams. All I can say to my little friend is, "I'm sure we will travel again. I'm sorry I had to leave you. You were just too young to die in war. So long, little guy. I love you. Your adoptive father, Alec."