Veteran Stories:
Neil Rhodes

Army

  • Lieutenant Neil Rhodes with the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in Wijambu, Korea. Photo taken in 1952.

    Neil Rhodes
  • Certificate of Service issued to Lt. Neil Rhodes on August 17th, 1966. Front and reverse.

    Neil Rhodes
  • National Registration Card issued to Lt. Neil Rhodes on August 14th, 1940. Front and reverse.

    Neil Rhodes
  • Members of Neil Rhodes' platoon in the West Nova scotia Regiment in Italy. From left to right, Lance Corporal Lloyd Young, Captain Neil Rhodes, Corporal Graham Ash, Private James Wood. Photo taken in 1944.

    Neil Rhodes
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"I was going up the steps of the Canada House [in London, England] and who should be coming down the steps but this friend of mine from Truro, who I thought I had buried in Italy. I asked him what the hell he was doing here; you’re supposed to be back in Italy underground. So we got a bit of a laugh."

Transcript

Basically, the war was coming to a close. The Germans knew it and a lot of them were giving up and there was a lot of prisoner-taking. And we took these prisoners, we of course disarmed them and 90 percent of them would leave their rifles cocked and their pistols cocked so that unexpectedly, you’d put your hand on the trigger or someone would and someone would get wounded. And these were hundreds of weapons that were in the pile. So there were several serious injuries created by the Germans doing that, leaving their weapons cocked when they were taken away from them.

Another thing that happened to several people, they collected all the German money that they got when they emptied the pockets of the uniforms of these prisoners. And there were two that I didn’t know personally but I heard about that filled a couple of rucksacks full of this money and when they went back to England, they went to a bank and had it transferred into pounds. And eventually, the banks in England caught on to what was going on and unfortunately, just before I got in with my bunch, they stopped changing the [Reichs]marks into pounds. So I had all this money leftover that I could wipe my butt on if I had a good bowel movement.

I had a very good friend who was from Truro [Nova Scotia] in the same company as I was and we were in an attack [in Italy] and after the attack was over, we had to send what they called a grave party out to get the dead and bring them back and bury them. And one of the ones that I buried, I swear to God was my friend, from Truro. But after I buried him and the war came to an end, I went back to England on my way back to Canada because I volunteered to go to the Far East, and this was before the [atomic] A-bomb explosions of course [August, 1945], and I was going up the steps of the Canada House [in London, England] and who should be coming down the steps but this friend of mine from Truro, who I thought I had buried in Italy. I asked him what the hell he was doing here; you’re supposed to be back in Italy underground. So we got a bit of a laugh out of that, went and had a beer or two together I guess.

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