Veteran Stories:
Ross Baker

Army

  • Ross Baker, shortly after enlisting in the Royal Canadian Artillery. He is wearing his dress uniform in this photo that was taken at Petawawa, Ontario, in 1943.

    Ross Baker
  • Sewing kit that Ross Baker was issued when he enlisted.

    Ross Baker
  • Ross Baker picked up this cloth-bound Bible with the American flag on the cover during his travels through Europe.

    Ross Baker
  • Ross Baker standing in rubble in Germany. He made the vest he is wearing from salvaged leather.

    Ross Baker
  • Ross Baker (far left) and a group of his comrades at the Carpiquet Airport, Caen, France. Two of the men in this photo were later killed in action.

    Ross Baker
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"Our guns were what you called ‘priests’. They were 105 guns on tank chassis’, and so they were really mobile."

Transcript

I'm Ross Baker, and I'm in the artillery – the Royal Canadian Artillery. My number was B44351, and I was in on the D-Day invasion. My vehicle was a tank. I was going in an observation tank and it hit a mine and one of the triangles going in, and it floundered and I had to get out and swim in. The rest of the barge had to back out because the tank was in the way, and go into a different spot, and then the guns went off. Our guns were what you called 'priests'. They were 105 guns on tank chassis', and so they were really mobile. They went on in to the outside of the town of Bernieres-sur-Mer, and within a half hour, two of the guns were blown to smithereens, and seven of the boys were killed and two wounded, and there were two wounded on the beach and two killed. This all happened just within the first hour, or half hour perhaps.

I'm going over there the 6th of June this year, and we're putting a plaque up where these guns were blown up, and they're going to put the names of all those nine that were killed that day on this plaque. I was over there last year for the celebrations of sixty years of Holland liberation. Two of my daughters went with me. I was there two years before that for the opening of Juno Beach, and there was me and seven of my family there for that. Juno Beach [Centre] was originated by Garth Webb, who was my gun position officer on D-Day, so I've been involved with that over the few years it took to get that going. And I'll be visiting some of my Dutch friends that I made during the war and still keep in touch with.

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