"He yelled up to me, “Ed!” “Yeah!” I yelled. “Do you know that you’re a father?” “No.” The mail hadn’t got through to me yet, but there was my brother-in-law in the bush as we drove through."
I was wounded slightly with shrapnel, March the 8th, in Germany. Hospitalized and by the time I got out of the hospital, the war was almost over. So I didn’t get back into action again.
Now, the one little story to tell was that when I was wounded, on March the 8th, my friend, Edwin Johnson, was killed beside me and just a few feet away. So that’s how close it had come, we were bombarded by mortar shell for about a half an hour or more and before I got out of the anesthetic in the hospital, which was at Tilburg, Belgium, my brother, however he found me, was at my bedside before I got out of the anesthetic. And we met together numerous times after that because he was a signaler and had his own jeep and traveled around. As a matter of fact, he used to come around the back of the hospital and I, being a walking patient, was able to get in his jeep, change from blues into the battle dress and travel all over the Belgium and Holland, quite illegally. I hope the authorities won’t get this, I might land him back in jail for this. But, back into the hospital grounds, around the back, transfer back into the blues, back up into the hospital ward, nobody knew the difference. That went on for a couple of weeks.
Another encounter I had, this was just after the war, and I was traveling with a group on the back of a truck, through the, up around, Apeldoorn somewhere to Nijverdal, which is northern Holland, well, northeast of Amsterdam. When going through the bush, there was a pipe band, and this chap yelled up at me and bam, who it was? My wife’s brother. He yelled up to me, “Ed!” “Yeah!” I yelled. “Do you know that you’re a father?” “No.” The mail hadn’t got through to me yet, but there was my brother-in-law in the bush as we drove through.
And one time after advancing through a number farmer’s field, we come across this house and farm and we captured it. And for some reason or other, I went down the basement, which was just a root cellar. And there was about eight German civilians down there. And I ordered them by pointing up the stairs and out. But I noticed on the shelf there was four rows of preserved fruit, jams and jellies, and there was peaches, cherries, you know what. Well, we hadn’t had any of that for ages. So I helped myself to a jar, I think it was peaches, I just don’t remember. But the word got around, and this one fellow, he went down and he had come out of there, and he come out with about four or five jars. Now, we were just moving out the next morning, and he had dug a slit trench just across, maybe it was about 100 feet. I couldn’t warn him. And here was this, I forget whether it was a billy goat or a ram, come up right behind him and butt him out right in the rear end and all the jars went flying and broke.
We’d taken this farm, and at the corner of the farm barn, there was a little wire cage. And sitting in the middle of this wire cage was a great big goose egg. I thought, “Ah, would I ever like to have that for breakfast.” But you wouldn’t dare touch it because it might have been booby-trapped, and where would I carry it anyway. But one other thing is, I can’t remember, except for about once or twice, eating. I can’t remember eating. And I know darn well I never ever got a chance to wash or change clothes.
Now, a little experience with this here chap that I said, my friend that was killed, previous to that, going through the field. Now, he was about five foot four at the very most. Why he was up there, I don’t know. Anyway, these irrigation ditches were quite frequent, and we had to cross about three of them, cross, I mean, go down into the water. Now, this chap, he was underwater, with his rifle hanging up. And I had a hold of the back of his collar and I says, we called him Johnny, I says, “Johnny, just take a deep breath and let’s go.” And he was totally underwater for about five feet, because I held the back of his tunic, guiding him across. Now, that shows you what. And I don’t remember ever being wet. But I must have been soaked.