Platoon photo of D Company, #4 Platoon with the South Saskatchewan Regiment, taken in Calgary in March,1944, just prior to going overseas. Albert Park is shown in the middle row, second from the left.Albert Park
Albert Park (left) with his twin brother, in Moosejaw, SK, while both on leave.Albert Park
Albert Park on his way to a hockey game in Calgary, 1944.Albert Park
Convoy training with the Royal Canadian Army Service Corp in Red Deer, Alberta.Albert Park
Albert Park married Doroth Dewson, a private in the British ATS, in Aberdeen Scotland on May 15, 1946.Albert Park
"I had to utilize my Bren gun and it was one of the hardest parts of my life that I had, to turn a Bren gun on those people coming. [...] it’s just the way that wars have to end or be resolved by man killing man."
There’s about three or four major battles that I partook as you might say. A place called the Pimple and it was called Kalikar [Calcar Heights on the Rhine, Germany, February 1945]. And that was really my biggest venture into the war areas. And I went all the way through that I participated in.
We had flame throwers going and we had artillery on us that night. It was like being in hell and you know what it looks, what hell was like, it couldn’t be any worse than what it was. The 88s [the German 88mm anti-aircraft and anti-tank gun] from the German forces and the moaning minnies [referring to a serie of German weapons called generally the Nebelwerfer, presented as mortars or rocket-launchers] which they poured on top of our tanks of going through there was just unreal. It’s like fireworks were all around you all the time, even though you huddled down in the tanks to get through this passageway. And it was an entry towards the closing of the gap where the German forces were making a last stand before they had to evacuate and get back across the Rhine [river]. It was called the Pimple.
And as such, we all walked up a large slope in the hillside after we dismounted from the tanks. Flame throwers were still house clearing in some of the areas where there was pockets of the enemy forces were hiding or sniping and trying to save their nation of course from being overrun. Anyway, as I was walking up, I was an elitist, as a matter of fact, going up this large slope to the top of the hill, the Pimple, and I was carrying the Bren gun [a British infantry light machine gun] and as I got to the top of the hill, I was first to gaze up over this large ravine, this all wooded ravine, there was a stream of enemy soldiers walking down a great big roadway and I would estimate it, it was 200 German soldiers. There were only about 15 in the platoon that I was in, 15 soldiers coming behind me, each with their rifles of course. You were maybe four or five feet behind each other walking up. We all rode in these tanks the night before.
And I said to my sergeant, I said: ‘Look it, Sarge, Gerries.’ He says, well, I can[’t say his] exact word because it was his words: ‘Oh Christ, he says, give us covering firepower.’ And of course, I had to put my Bren gun into action of course because had I not, had we allowed that stream of, oh, it must have been 200 soldiers to come down that valley, and come in over the ridge which we reached at the top of the hill, we would have been wiped out so fast, we wouldn’t have even been funny.
But anyway, as I say, I had to utilize my Bren gun and it was one of the hardest parts of my life that I had, to turn a Bren gun on those people coming. They hadn’t spotted us of course, fortunately. But anyway, that night and two days later, we, finally with artillery and a couple of tanks we ordered up, we drove them out. So they come out waving white flags and surrender. And we took, well, I had a record of it, I had it written down, we took 90 prisoners and it was 80 killed I think it was. And you think about these things. Well, sometimes when you’re sleeping and when you wake up and you think of the horrors that was committed, you think of this as being a, it’s just the way that wars have to end or be resolved by man killing man. It was a strange part of life, really. One which I don’t think that I would have liked to have missed but one which I’d never like recommend to my boys that I want them to go and participate in. I would never have joined myself had I known I had to go through the hell that I went through really.