"Kapelsche What?" an article written by Bob Mason about the battle of Kapelsche Veer.Bob Mason
"Shades of Zwischenahn", an article written by Bob Mason about the final days of the war against Germany.Bob Mason
"One of the reasons I’m sitting here, is the lone enemy snipers, they thought ah-hah, there’s a guy with a radio that means there’s a high class officer around, so they shoot him first"
They gave me this medal, like I say, because they thought I was a great guy. What happened was, [Major-]General Chris Vokes knew Fred Wigle, the colonel of our regiment [the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada] real well. And I happened to be right with Fred when he got killed. And so Vokes - the general - said, ah-hah, everybody and they got, headquarters got - it was the only day I ever was in headquarters - got wiped out, whatever that means. And so they took all the guys that weren’t killed and presented them with great medals, because they’re great guys. Blah. If I would have got killed, but I happened to be with Fred Wigle when he got killed and he was important. And it wasn’t because I was a great guy at all. It’s because I happened to be with a great guy.
And that happened two or three times. I had a radio that I carried on my back, like, and usually I was with an officer and when he wanted to communicate with somebody else, he had to come to the radio. And what happened, one of the reasons I’m sitting here, is the lone enemy snipers, they thought ah-hah, there’s a guy with a radio that means there’s a high class officer around, so they shoot him first. Guess where good old Bob is? He’s lying on the ground there trying to dig himself out of sight. That’s how come he’s still here.
Oh, and then, these guys took great joy in filling my radio full of doggone bullet holes. I could have saved the government lots of money if I’d have to put the radio down and then laid on top of it, they wouldn’t have smashed the radio. They’d have filled me full of holes. But then they don’t care about that.
One of the guys that I was with, Captain Day, what the heck was his first name? Sherman. And one of the guys that I was with always called him Sharon. But, anyway, Sherman Day had joined the army, the guys that train every weekend [the militia]. He had joined them in 1929, ten years before the war. And he had trained and trained, and finally he ended up being my captain; and he got killed on the second of May. He got killed on the second of May and he’d been in the army for, oh, 20 years and got killed. And we came out on the night of the fifth of May. The war was over on the fifth of May and he got killed two days ahead of that time. And that was awful. That was awful.
But of course, of course, they had, they asked me how come he got killed and I didn’t bother telling them because it was one of our own guys that killed him. There was a bush here, solid bush around the lake, Bad Zwischenahn [Germany]. There was a bluff out here and C Company was in there. They had guards all around it; and in the middle of the night, we came walking out of the bush and they thought we were German soldiers. And one of these guys hauled off and shot at the first guy and killed him, hit him right in mid-chest. And I was right beside Captain Day; and the second guy wasn’t a very good shot, he never hit me at all. Well, I don’t even know what he was shooting at. Maybe he wasn’t, I don’t know. But I have a pretty good idea that I’m still here.