Photo of a 2 1/2 Dutch guilder banknote, paid to Lloyd Fraser while serving in the Netherlands. Bill was printed in 1943 by the American Bank Note Company.Lloyd Fraser
German Luftwaffe Paratrooper military badge, taken from a German POW in Italy in 1943.Lloyd Fraser
Photo of a one-Lira banknote paid to Lloyd Fraser while he was serving in Italy. This Allied Military Currency was printed in 1943.Lloyd Fraser
Mr. Fraser's cap badge, bearing the two mottos of the Royal Canadian Artillery: “Ubique” (Everywhere) and “Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt” (Whither Right and Glory Lead).Lloyd Fraser
Photograph of a German War Merit Cross, 2nd Class (Kriegsverdienstkreuz). Medal taken from a German POW in Italy in 1943.Lloyd Fraser
"The Germans would get up on top of a hill and we had to take that hill...we were at a disadvantage at all times. They could look down on us. And then when we climbed up the hill, they’d run down and get up the next one. So we’d come down the valley and up again. And went criss-cross all across Italy"
We served in England, that’s when the Blitz was on. And we were there just to maintain that Germany didn’t come across the Channel. So we stayed in England for a couple years, I guess. In 1943, we went down to the Rock of Gibraltar, North Africa and in Italy. Italy was an awful country to fight in. It was one mountain after the other. You take them out and then you’d go up in the valley, and up the next mountain and you just kept going.
You’d fight from one town to the other. There was no mention of a town, you’d go to this town or, actually, it was in hills because the Germans would get up on top of a hill and we had to take that hill. So we were at a disadvantage at all times. They could look down on us. And then when we climbed up the hill, they’d run down and get up the next one. So we’d come down the valley and up again. And went criss-cross all across Italy.
They had the Hitler Line and the Gothic Line; and you know, you had to be up with the infantry because I was what they call the OP, an observation post personnel. And so when we go with infantry, we’d pick out the targets for our guns to shoot at. When you found a target, you’d … As a matter of fact, now this is something different too ̶ I’m the only man alive that actually called fire down on ourselves. What had happened is that we got into a small grove of bushes and there was some German snipers in there. They were trying to put hand grenades on our tracks of the vehicle and they also tried to shoot into the tank. So we gave the map reference to the radio. I called back and said, I want two rounds of gunfire, map reference so and so. Your target is our, your OP, so be right on, and hurry. What you do is you set your fuse so that it bursts about a second before it lands. So what happens when it comes up, it bursts like a shotgun thing coming over. Well, when that started to hit our tank, I hollered stop; and I don’t think I needed a radio, they could have heard me way back. Anyhow, we carried on.
You could see them, yes, and some of them were, once in a while, you’d get into a spot, say like the Hitler Line or something or those lines, then you’d stay for weeks, just everybody sit for weeks; and we could hear them singing, they could hear us singing or they’d get up and they’d wave at us. [laughs] They get too bold, we’d shoot them. [laughs] But they were fighting for their country. I guess they believed what they were doing was right. But it makes for a rough, I’ll tell you. [laughs] It was pretty rough.