Veteran Stories:
Kenneth McKenzie

Army

  • Officers of Pacific Command, 1943. Three generals: Major General George R. Pearks; Major General Potts, 5th Division; Major General Ganong, 6th Division.

    Kenneth McKenzie
  • Road Signs in Calcar, Germany, 1945. The Allies were very keen on the policy of non-fraternization with German civilians even after the shooting stopped.

    Kenneth McKenzie
  • Officers of 2 Batallions Edmonton Regiment - Sarcee Camp, Alberta, 1941.

    Kenneth McKenzie
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"Everybody who is going to come under enemy fire for the first time wonders how they may react. The only way you find out is by experiencing it."

Transcript

One morning, [a] two-man submarine was beached on our beach right outside our Con[valescent] Depot and the two German sailors who occupied it got out of their little two-man sub and disappeared in the countryside, nobody caught them. The sub carried two weapons, one a great big mine. I would think a couple of thousand pounds of explosives and one torpedo. And German navy would spend each evening planting mines in the [English] Channel and the next morning, the British navy or whoever spent the morning sweeping mines, clearing the Channel and theoretically a convoy of supplies would go into Antwerp [Belgium] and unload. And this was a daily routine. Everybody who is going to come under enemy fire for the first time wonders how they may react. The only way you find out is by experiencing it. So when I was with the Calgaries [Calgary Highlanders], we were on the edge of a forest called the Hochwald and the Germans in the forest with us on the edge. We were sleeping under a hedge that was around a house on the edge of this forest and I had a Woods three-star arctic sleeping bag which was very comfortable. But in the morning when I awoke, there was a call of nature as is customary, so before I relieved myself, I got out of my sleeping bag and walked the length of the hedge around the cottage so that I wouldn’t be polluting the area where my men were sleeping. Apparently, one of the Germans in the forest happened to be watching and saw me and so when I got to the end of the yard, I dropped my pants around my ankles, crouched down to do my thing and he had a two-inch mortar which is a tiny little weapon and not terribly effective, but he let fly a two-inch mortar bomb to my end of the yard. And I heard the whistle of it coming and so I went flat on my face in the snow with my pants around my ankles and the bomb landed fairly close to me, close enough that a chunk of frozen mud hit me in the bare bottom and I thought for a moment that I was wounded. But it turned out to be just a bruise. Anyway, I was delighted with my response to my situation. There are all kinds of funny incidents that occurred in different ways to different people. Anyway, I was pleased with my reaction to the first bomb that came my way.
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