Veteran Stories:
Frederick A Gallant

Army

  • Fred Gallant in uniform during his first six months of training.

    Fred Gallant
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"I had to dig in with my hands or something to try to hide and I got a bullet through the mast of my pack"

Transcript

On March 28, I was sent out on a patrol, a fighting patrol and I was hit by, I guess it was a little bomb or something. It hit me right on. And I lost my arm, of course, and my hearing. There was things that happened through the war. We were caught in, a platoon of men, we were caught, we were in an open field and were attacked in the open field like that. I had to dig in with my hands or something to try to hide and I got a bullet through the mast of my pack. I, of course had my head down into the mud, into the earth, trying to cover my head. Anyway, we lost some men there. One guy was from P.E.I. [Prince Edward Island]. We got a bottle of beer for Christmas on the front line. And the Germans opened fire on us on Christmas Day while we were getting our dinner and started the service on that day. We went up to the castle. We slept up on the mountain, there. And there was snow up there and wet. We had tents, just small tents, and there was a whole company up there with tents. After, in the morning, there were two of us appointed to carry those tents down below into some shack down there and put them away. And I lugged up and down and around, hell of a, raining and wet. Anyway, after I got finished taking those tents down, oh, it was probably about 8:00 there in the night. And after that my regiment, my company, they went up the castle but I wasn’t with them. So, they went up before, you see. After 8:00, me and a couple two or three of us, we went up the castle. It took a couple of hours to get up there in the mud and dirt. My shoes were, I had holes in them. Oh, they wasn’t fit to have on. The only thing we couldn’t get shoes because our ship that was torpedoed that the supplies was on. So I had to walk up there with half of my toes sticking out of my [shoes]. And when we got up to the castle we slept there overnight. I slept alongside my buddy. He was a corporal; he was in charge of me. I was just a private. And he had a blanket. We slept together though I just about froze through the night. Cold and wet. I had been walking and I got wringing wet. Anyway, after, in the morning, we got out, we went into the castle running through the castle. Oh, Jesus, there were dead bodies in there, lying around. One room was full of skeletons, just the heads, severed. They had been there for years. Some of them just stored away. Oh, there were hundreds of skeleton heads, just the heads. There was other skeletons, there was other of our own, and there were some of the Germans too. Of course they weren’t with the, us there, but in other rooms. This was a big building.
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