Veteran Stories:
Roy Watkins Page

Army

  • Roy W. Page at 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Reinforcement Depot, Aldershot, England, 1941.

    Roy W. Page
  • Portrait of Roy W. Page in Italy, November 5, 1944.

    Roy W. Page
  • Roy Page's Certificate certifiing his temporary commission, August, 23, 1945.

    Roy W. Page
  • Roy Page's Certificate of Service.

    Roy W. Page
  • Roy W. Page's Attestation Paper, 1940. He lied about his age and said he was 19 (he was actually 17 years old).

    Roy W. Page
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"And I went up there in the Winter Line and I did the same as everybody else did – sleep in the day and then get out and sit in the slit trench overnight and stop right there."

Transcript

Okay, I joined in Edmonton in the Prince of Wales Armouries in July 1940. There was a big, a lot of business there and they asked if anybody could type, and I had taken typing in high school and I volunteered to help out. From then on, I was a clerk in the Prince of Wales Armouries in Edmonton for a full year. In the Spring of 1944, Summer of 1944, I should say, I was sent down to Calgary, Currie Barracks, to take a clerk’s course and the whole of that course, when I graduated, was sent to the UK [United Kingdom]. We got to the UK in October I think, 1944. I was assigned to 3rd Canadian Reinforcement Unit, Crookham Crossroads in Hampshire and stayed there for about a year until they moved us from that site to one of the barracks in Aldershot.

I continued to be a clerk. One of my problems with being anything else was that I wore glasses. I was category B1, which meant that I was physically fit, but had to wear glasses. There was no way that I could get into a fighting battalion because you had to be A1.

Some time in that winter, they made a ruling that people who were in perfectly good health, but wore glasses would now be able to go to a regiment. They would be category A1. I immediately asked to be re-designated. As I had no army training, I just had clerical training, I was sent down to small arms training school in Camp Borden in Hampshire in early Summer 1943. I was there when the [Loyal] Edmonton Regiment invaded Sicily. I remember wishing them the best of luck. After that, some time in October, I was reassigned because the designated trainers had to be with battle experience.

I went back to the western holding unit. I was confirmed corporal and I had to take my stripes down because the Edmonton Regiment would not take an NCO. In late 1943, I was shipped down there on a boat to Naples in Italy, and went to Avellino, to the first day of reinforcement unit, some time in Avellino, hoping to be sent up to the regiment, which finally happened. And I went up there in the Winter Line and I did the same as everybody else did – sleep in the day and then get out and sit in the slit trench overnight and stop right there.

As soon as the weather began to improve, I went with a regiment to the Foggia Plains to take some battle training with tanks. We were down there until we were moved across to the Hitler Line, as it was summertime and I enjoyed swimming, I went swimming in a dirty river. I got an infection in my ear and on the actual day of the Edmonton regiment going into battle on the Hitler Line, I was LOB, that’s Left Out of Battle, as were, if there was a major and a captain in the company, one or the other would be left out, and the same happened with NCOs. I joined them just a day or so after that battle was over and stayed with the regiment up to Frosinone, on highway six and the battle of, no, it’s Monteregio or something like that. And then we went in to rest and the, that was up in, somewhere in sort of Perugia area. We stayed in rest there until we went to get reinforcements and training and leave and stuff like that, and then I was, we were told to take our badges down, off our, the red patch on our shoulders and take the badge off our hats. And we went into Florence, to the banks of Arn River. Something that sticks in my mind very clearly is when the upper floor that I was, I was now lance corporal or corporal and I could look straight out of the, the window, not putting my head out of course, but stayed out of the window, across the river to Michelangelo’s David.

The very next morning, we were told to put our patches back on. They had asked for volunteers to go on a patrol across the river, but you had to be single and I had got married in the UK, so I couldn’t volunteer for that. And then we went, traveling by night, down to the Adriatic [Sea] and the Volturno River. Some of these names might not be perfect. The 1st Canadian Division was the assault division and 2nd Brigade was the assault brigade, Edmonton Regiment was the assault regiment. Charlie Company was the assault company. 14 platoon was the assault platoon and Roy Page was corporal of 6 Section, which was designated into the water first. Fortunately, that was the battle which never developed because the Germans withdrew from that line and from then on, it was just river after river after river.

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