I managed to reach the seawall and I sat down and watched that panorama unfolding before my eyes. It was horrible: I could see men screaming, men crying, one man crying for his mother and men dying.
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Well, I went overseas with the [Queen’s Own Rifles] regiment, landed in France on D-Day. I was the pay clerk at that time. And as pay clerk, I was considered non-combatant. But my job was to record the dead casualties. So I was at the back of a little boat and I was the last one into the water, pushed aside a couple of bodies that were already floating there, managed to get to the beach; I could hear those bullets whistling around and shells popping all over the place. But I managed to reach the seawall and I sat down and watched that panorama unfolding before my eyes. It was horrible: I could see men screaming, men crying, one man crying for his mother and men dying.
And after a couple hours when things died down, I had to do my job. The burial crew had removed the tags from 63 dead men who were lined up at one side of the place there. And they took the lower half of the tags off and brought them over to me to record. Well, as I sat there and recorded them, one name I came across was the man who replaced me as company clerk before I came into the pay office and he was killed. And that’s when I said to myself, there but for the grace of God, go I.
Anyhow, I did all my work, turned over the papers to the paymaster to send onto the Paymaster-General and they didn’t want to pay one nickel more than they had to, to the men. Anyways, that’s my D-Day experience.