Veteran Stories:
Fred Roger

Army

  • Fred Roger in Blenheim, Ontario, April 20th, 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"The children were starving, they had nothing. They were so pleased to see us. It was very, very touching because they would do anything for you, the people."

Transcript

We were on this boat, and it was a cargo ship and we were sleeping in the hold. There was no cargo. All the cargo was on deck. It consisted of trucks and the hammocks, you had to sleep in a hammock. The food was very good on the boat. Beautiful! The V-1s [German rockets] were quite something that stood out in my mind. We were stationed down on the southeast coast and we were alerted to what looked like a burning plane coming in over the sea from France, the direction of France. We had never seen one before. This was one of the first ones that came over. They were V-1s and after a while they got right over the camp and went up to London and go in there. There were a couple shot down over the camp there. They just blew up in the air. They were shot down by the [Supermarine] Spitfires and various other planes. That was kind of impressive because I wondered if one of them would have ever dropped in the camp, one of those big ones, because it was all pebbles there and those pebbles would have got blown out like bullets. So that was quite impressive. Holland, the people were starving, literally starving. And we were in a small town on the Scheldt estuary, and the Germans were on the other side still. We could see the V-2 rockets going up from there where we were. And we were working on the lock gates of a canal to get them open. We weren’t there very long, but we were billeted in a school, I think it was. We took over a big garage there for all the trucks and equipment. And we fed a lot of the people there. The children were starving, they had nothing. They were so pleased to see us. It was very, very touching because they would do anything for you, the people. They had been occupied by the Germans for so long, you know, there just wasn’t any food there. We took over a restaurant there as a cookhouse and I remember we used to let the kids come in and we would serve them food. But a lot of people don’t realize how the Germans had treated them. Vast areas were flooded. The bridges had been blown up quite a lot too.
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