"So I went over and pulled the covers back, it was my brother. I hadn’t seen him for four years. So we went down to Rotterdam that night. I don’t remember too much about it. We had a good time anyway."
We got some new trucks. Rumours were we were going to Norway, but we ended up with new uniforms. They were all short sleeves and short shorts, so we knew we weren’t going to Norway. And one day we got some new trucks and then shortly after that, some of us had to take our cabs and windshields off our trucks and leave them behind. We drove from Glasgow to … Wales, and then loaded on a ship there and loaded on that boat and headed for Sicily.
The second night in Sicily, I was told that we were going to get our trucks put in a barge, to go to a shore. My truck was the first one to go over the side into the barge. And I was with it. We were there for a while, waited, waited and there was two other trucks with guns on behind. We waited and waited and finally they informed us that the crane had broke down and that there would be no more trucks and that we were going to head for shore.
It was about 2:00 in the morning when we pulled away from the ship. We went into the water up to our waist and headed for shore. My waterproofing was pretty good because I made sure it was, water up to my waist. I didn’t see the rest of the outfit for all of the Sicily campaign. I was on the, driving for Hasty Ps, Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment for Ontario. I ended up driving for them.
Without the windshield, that was pretty dusty. The roads were bad. We had quite a time. I would go up with a load of stuff and they’d give me a list of what they wanted. And I go back down to the, where the landing was and this was where supplies were all coming to shore. They would take my truck and load it, check it for oil and gas and I’d lay down and have a rest. And then I’d hit the road again. We pulled into this place and they had gone across this river, but the Germans had pushed them back. And we arrived with supplies. Our sergeant got out of the front truck, I was back farther in the convoy. And he got out, said he’d go find a place to see what we was going to do with these supplies. And a shell hit right in front of the truck that he’d just got out of. Killed the driver in that truck. And then, well, everything happened a couple of times. And we’d get supplies up and we’d go them to them with 88s [millimetre], they were a wicked shell.
Well, not much we could do, try to get out of the, park someplace. I drove with my doors open most of the time. Because it was easier to bail out and get out of there if something happened. So winter of 1943, we had that terrible battle at Ortona [Italy]. And it was Christmas day and we were looking forward to our Christmas dinner. We got called out to go and pick up reinforcements for Ortona because they never had such a battle… they needed reinforcements. So anyway, we got up there and got the drop off and then we helped them back out some of the wounded. Then we got back to camp, we got supper about 10:00 at night. But it was good, after eating hard tack and bully beef and stew.
We loaded our barges at different places in Italy and we landed there and driving from there to Holland. Rotterdam was just being liberated. There we got lucky and set up camp there and we were all in supplies from the ships that came in there to the town in Holland, as they were being liberated. I never seen anything so… starving people in my life. It was terrible the conditions them people were in.
And that’s what I did for the next few months. And what did happen, I was coming back after I delivered supplies and when I got in the camp, they said the war was over, they signed the treaty and they said, “Oh, there was somebody looking for you.” And I said, “Oh, where?” He said, “He’s over in your bed sound asleep.” So I went over and pulled the covers back, it was my brother. I hadn’t seen him for four years. So we went down to Rotterdam that night. I don’t remember too much about it. We had a good time anyway.