Lloyd Brown (left) and his friend Wally Bland (right) in 1940, before they left to go overseas.Lloyd W. Brown
The 46th Simcoe Field Battery, Petawawa, Ontario, 1939.Lloyd W. Brown
Lloyd Brown served with the 92nd Battery, E Troop, 3rd Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery as a signalman. Here he is having some fun while in Sicily in 1943.Lloyd W. Brown
Sicily 1943 and members of E Troop: Top left, Jimmy Reynolds, lineman; Top right, J.E. McPerson, driver; and bottom, the entire E Troop signal section.Lloyd W. Brown
Members of E Troop signal section by one of their vehicles.Lloyd W. Brown
"The ship on my right side was torpedoed, and six of eight of our artillery guns were lost"
My name is Lloyd Brown. I was born and raised in Simcoe. I joined the militia here, the 46th Field Battery, at age fifteen in 1938. Naturally I lied about my age a couple of years, so when I went on active service on June the 27th 1940, I was already set.
We left – ninety-one of us, reinforcements for the 1st Canadian Division – on July 1st 1940 from Stanley Barracks in Toronto. As I said, I was a little young so they held me back. I didn't go with my original group. In March of '41 I went overseas, landed at Aldershot, and stayed there for about a month until I began taking signals' training – artillery signals' training – at Cove, Hants. It was supposed to be a six weeks course but it turned out to be a nine-month course, because it was difficult to get to a field unit. However, I did get to the 3rd Field Regiment, 1st Canadian Division, 92 Battery E Troop.
We landed in Sicily July the 10th 1943 after a lot of training down the Mediterranean. The ship on my right side was torpedoed, and six of eight of our artillery guns were lost. However, we landed on July the 10th in Sicily, Pachino Beach, and that night we dug in along the beach as we were instructed to do. Of course the Jerries, just to let us know they knew we were there, they came over and strafed us, dropped flares, dive-bombed, and just made it quite uncomfortable for several hours during the first night.
I think we lost about five hundred men in Sicily all together. We crossed over the straits of Messina, up the boot of Italy. We got up to Ortona, and that was a very difficult action. We spent… it says a week, but it was more than a week because the Germans were bound and bent that we weren't going any further. Of course, we had to have Ortona because that was actually an area for the ships to come in. But when we were finished and the Germans were finished with us there wasn't much left of it.
We moved from there on up north, up to Rimini. The Savio River where "Smokey" Smith won his Victoria Cross. We supported the Seaforth for that action – the 3rd Field did. We crossed over within two or three days Smokey knocking out the halftrack and the armoured personnel carrier. That was a wonderful action that he did, because when he knocked those out they thought they were up against a whole regiment and not just Smokey and his platoon, or what was left of it. I think by the time that action was over there was only Smokey and another comrade with him, and the other comrade was wounded.
Then we crossed over to France, and from France we came up through Belgium into Holland. By that time it was March of 1945. We had a little accident in Holland, but basically not too much. The main thing we did there was bringing up supplies and stuff like that because the Dutch people had nothing. They had no food, no water, no fuel, no nothing. It was a desperate situation, but we certainly tried to help them out.
Lastly, when the war finally did end, we went into ceasefire on May the 4th. We started to make the Germans ready for their long march home, and that's what they did. They marched home – they didn't ride in vehicles. We made sure they had footwear and enough clothing to keep them warm, and food. We disarmed them, of course, and sent them on their way.
All in all it was a very exciting time. I was, as I said, never wounded and very fortunate indeed. I'd seen a lot of the world and a lot of things, and had a lot of wonderful comrades.