Veteran Stories:
Ned J DesRoches

Army

  • Mr. Ned DesRoches' Discharge Certificate from the Royal Canadian Army in November 1945.

    Ned DesRoches
  • Example of a ration book, dated from 1945, issued during the war.

    Ned DesRoches
  • Mr. Ned DesRoches after his enlistment in the Royal Canadian Army in 1942.

    Ned DesRoches
  • Mr. Ned DesRoches' Soldier's Pay Book dated from May 1, 1944 to June 29, 1945.

    Ned DesRoches
  • Mr. Ned DesRoches in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, in April 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"I didn’t know too much about it, but the other two guys, they were smart, they were all old guys, that they were. So I got in as a helper, which saved my life, really."

Transcript

We went to Summerside [Prince Edward Island] to enlist, me and my brother and another guy and they wouldn’t take me because I was too young. So they were going to Charlottetown the next day, to have examination. They passed, of course. So I went with them and I joined in Charlottetown and I changed my age. And once we got in the same room, the doctor came up, examined us and he thought we were twins. My brother and me were the same age, we had changed my age. From England, we went to Scotland for two weeks training in the hills and all that. And from there, we took off with the invasion of Sicily. We had not too hard of fighting. We had a hard time enough, you know what I mean. From thereafter, then we went across to Italy. When we landed in Italy, it was very quiet, like the shoe, and Italy was a shoe [meaning the boot shape of Italy], and the German had backed off of it. They were scared we’d cut them off. So we had it easy for a while until we got inland more and then we had a hard time. They could you see you all the time, they’d be shelling you lots of time. They could see you, but you couldn’t see them way out in the hills and all that. I think we had to dig a trench sometime with hard clay and all that. And all at once, you might dig a little hole, get in and then all at once, it may have been an hour or two after, we had to get up, keep going and move again, stuff like that. It was very good. We were out in Ortona there for part of the winter. There we had a hard time too, and that’s where I got wounded, in the leg you see – in no man’s land. And you see them in the field, repairing the phone line. The shell, well, it happened so fast, when we go there, the shell come down, bang, that’s it. And along the line another one, and all at once, I felt I got hit. But I got back in my own line after that. At that time, what they wanted, they wanted volunteers. I was in infantry first, the first time, and they wanted volunteers for the signals platoon. So I volunteered. Then after that, I had a break. They put me with the 3-inch mortars, so then we’re behind the line a little bit, not too much, giving support to the front line, 3-inch mortars, from where you’d be 700-800 feet, 1000 feet behind them front lines, giving support to the front lines. And then, after that, I didn’t have to go on night patrol and all that because we were extended, you know, looking at the phones at night. There were three of us. See, I didn’t know too much about it, but the other two guys, they were smart, they were all old guys, that they were. So I got in as a helper, which saved my life, really. Well me, I wasn’t doing too much because I didn’t take no course on it. So all I could do is answering the phone, which if they were sleeping, answering the phone and there was an emergency and all that, I’ll wake them up. They knew exactly what to do. I was there more like a helper. If the line broke, well, two of us might go out and find the lines in the dark and all that, try and repair it, stuff like that.
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