Veteran Stories:
Stephen Robert “Steve” Linnell

Army

  • Stephen Linnell just after enlistement, in 1943.

    Steve Linnell
  • Stephen Linnell at Camp Shilo, 1943.

    Steve Linnell
  • Telegrams sent to Steven Linnell's mother. "Memory of times when wounded."

    Steve Linnell
  • Unit Badge, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders.

    Steve Linnell
  • Pay book, 1943-45. Note the bullet hole in the paybook. "The book saved my life," says Mr. Linnell.

    Steve Linnell
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"And I just stepped out and I got a bullet straight through my chest, the bullet went through parts of my arm. And of course I was firing it at the same time at shoulder height and a bullet came through there"

Transcript

When they wanted a bunch of us, I don’t know how many, there was so many for Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders and so many other outfits. And we were just taken over there. And that was after Dieppe. I can’t remember where it was. There was no town. We were just dumped out. That would have been, I guess, in 1944.

I remember one time we were taking over a position that the Essex Scottish [Regiment] had. They were pretty well battle-driven, shot out, everything. So anyway, on the travel up there, there was some of our guys and Germans lying all along the sides of the road. Dead ones. And when we got up to where the position was. I remember, one time there, we were holding this position and here, oh about almost a half mile away, I guess, a German tank came up over the hill and it was coming straight for us. Why he ever turned around and went back I’ll never know because there was nothing there to stop him. We just had rifles and Bren Guns [lightweight quick-firing machine guns]. We didn’t have any anti-tank guns of any kind. Whew, heart was in our mouth!

I remember about them going over with their gliders. The English put in an awful pile of gliders in there. And when they, it was a bad deal because when the gliders came down, the Germans were just waiting on them. I wasn’t in this, but we went through that spot. Anyway, there was gliders and personnel lying all over the place. And there was a farmer there, he was milking his cows, all the shells going off and everything, and he was still milking his cows. There was one stall missing. And there was a great big hole through there, that a big shell had taken a chunk straight out of the, this cow and all, out of there. That was kind of weird. But they never stopped working.

Major Falloon was the head of our company. And when he got hit, no, I got hit first, and then he said, you go around this side of the church and I’ll go around that. And I just stepped out and I got a bullet straight through my chest, the bullet went through parts of my arm. And of course I was firing it at the same time at shoulder height and a bullet came through there, hit my pay book and put a big hole right through it and through and shattered in some Bren [Gun] magazines that was, I was popping them inside of my tunic (you got to keep them clean so I just put them inside my tunic). It knocked me out. Like, the shock. But the next hour, I remember I was carried into a church. And then they bandaged me up and everything and, put me on a stretcher along with another fellow, and then we were taken out and mounted on a Jeep. And anyway, it had stretchers and bars on top to tie stretchers down with. Anyway, it, he was headed across this field and he hit a mine and blew the Jeep right over on its side with us still hanging on. I’m certain it didn’t hurt us, but it sure wrecked the Jeep.

Follow us