Veteran Stories:
George H. Cole

Army

  • George Cole at 17 years of age in Ottawa. Cole enlisted with the 13 Platoon Highlanders of Ottawa in June, 1940.

  • Cole took his machine gun training in Three Rivers, Quebec, 1941.

  • George Cole in Belgium, 1944. Cole was involved in the June 6 landing at D-day that year.

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"We saw our first real action the next day when the enemy overran the Winnipeg Rifles and came up to the positions in which we were set"

Transcript

My name is George Cole. I served in the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, MG. During World War II. I enlisted with the regiment in June, 1940 and was discharged in October, 1945. I served in Three Rivers where I took my machine gun training in 1940. And in 1941 I was promoted to sergeant and was made an instructor on the officer's training wing where I instructed until May of 1942 when I proceeded overseas to join my regiment. In May of 1943, after training on 4-2 mortars, I was posted as platoon sergeant of 13 Platoon. On June the 6th, I landed with my platoon on Mike Green beach on Juno Beach in support of the Winnipeg Rifles and we moved forward, following the Winnipeg Rifles until they reached (French) and we dug in with a platoon of machine guns in support. We saw our first real action the next day when the enemy overran the Winnipeg Rifles and came up to the positions in which we were set. Fortunately we were able to rebuff the attack with the help of the Canadian Scottish Regiment and that made quite a change in our view of warfare. From there on in, we moved steadily with the 3rd Canadian Division through Caen, down the CaenValaise Highway across the Seine River at Albuffe In August and on up to Calais where we sat in a small village of Vuisonwith the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade as the other brigades were attacking Boulogne and we were just a buffer so that German troops wouldn't leave Calais and support their comrades in Boulogne. From there we moved on to take Calais and then up to the Schelde where we spent most of October clearing the Schelde Estuary. We then moved forward to Nijmegen in Holland in November of 1944 where we relieved the 82nd Airborne Division and the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division took over their positions. Again, we sat in Nijmegen firing sporadically at the enemy in December and January and then, in early February we moved forward in the attack on the Siegfried Line. That action lasted until March the 23rd when... when the regiment crossed the Rhine in support of 7 Brigade and we went through Emmerich and on up into Holland. And, very fortunately, on May the... the 3rd orders came to stand fast as the German collapse seemed imminent. On May 4th, the historic message to cease all offensive operations was received. During the period from D-Day to May 4, 13 Platoon had suffered 22 casualties of which 7 were fatal. I returned home in September of 1945 and was discharged in October, went back to school under the DVA Act at Carlton College.
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