Ely Boeykens (far left) and his crew from the 7th Anti-Tank Regiment.Ely Boeykens
Ely Boeykens (second from the right), with fellow members of the 7th Anti-Tank Regiment.Ely Boeykens
Ely Boeykens, 1945.Ely Boeykens
"The first thing we do most of the time is , “See that steeple on the church? Shoot it down.” Catholic church steeple, had to shoot the steeples down, because the Germans used to stand up there to look at you."
Went to Sicily, got our equipment, our tanks and then we went to Italy. We didn’t see no people…no people, because I don’t know where they were. You know, we were in tanks, they says, “You go there and go there,” and that was it. The first thing we do most of the time is [they would say], “See that steeple on the church? Shoot it down.” Catholic church steeple, had to shoot the steeples down, because the Germans used to stand up there to look at you.
We were driving along there and we went to this little town and they said, “There’s a guy hanging in the garage. “So we went and looked, we didn’t know who it was, Mussolini [Benito Mussolini, Italian fascist leader] and his girlfriend. Well, that just happened, we didn’t know who it was at first. But that’s, the people done that to him. His own people, the Italians I guess, they hung him up in the garage there and his girlfriend hanging there upside down. He was dead already when we seen him, we just looked and said, we didn’t know who he was because there was nobody to talk to. And we drove on.
I went back to Italy, Rome, we got on a train, went to Belgium. Went to Belgium and Belgium was already tooken [taken] when we got there. Then we went to Holland and we fought there for a while. And I got wounded, in the arm. I was driving the tank and then most of the time we open the cover, because when there’s nobody around, we just look through that little screen…we open the cover and one day I crawled out of the tank and bang. I don’t know where it come from but it hit me anyhow. I got blown out of the tank because lucky I had the hood open, otherwise I would be…
They said a shell hit it. We got shells in there and when that thing blows up, everything goes to hell.