"I felt my leg go numb and I looked at my pant leg and I saw it pop up. And I said to my - Tony, the fellow that was with me - I said, are you hit? He said, yes. I said, so am I."
I was with the 2nd/10th Dragoons [militia regiment] in Canada and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Europe. We arrived in France after the [Normandy] invasion. By that time, the Canadians had taken over Caen. It was a couple of days until it became apparent that we were starting to do things. And the indication was, during the afternoon, we were taken out into what seemed to be a great big field and told to dig in. Which we did. But the ground was not very deep because we were on top of a rock underbase. But I remember lying just beneath the level of the top of the ground. I felt secure enough in that situation that I thought, well, if one of these artillery shells hits close to me, I’ll be alright. The only way I’m going to get hit, it’ll have to be a direct hit and I won’t be, won’t be around to realize it.
There were airplanes going over at a great rate. The artillery, the Germans were shelling our position with whatever material they had. And eventually, it all stopped and we were called out of our positions and loaded onto tanks and we started chasing the Germans down towards Falaise. Anyway, we were stationed out in a small field. The agriculture in that situation was all small fields surrounded by hedgerows or stone piles and these were very old hedgerows, so the trees were big, tall and more or less overshadowing the position that we were in. And the Germans took advantage of that and used mortar fire to fire high explosive missiles into the trees. And that caused an explosion up high that sent material down from above.
And I was sitting, my mate and I had dug a hole, a trench in the ground and all of a sudden, I felt my leg go numb and I looked at my pant leg and I saw it pop up. And I said to my - Tony, the fellow that was with me - I said, are you hit? He said, yes. I said, so am I. So I threw my head back and our position was so that our heads were just below the ground level. I called out, “Tony and Scott are hit,”, and when the bombardment quit for a few minutes, the fellows from the first-aid came along, tied us up on stretchers and gave us a shot of whatever. And tied us onto a converted Bren Gun carrier. And that was our passage to the first-aid station.
Mine wasn’t a severe wound, just two broken legs, a chunk out of the right leg, just below the knee and a chunk out of the left leg in the shins. So that’s the gory side of the whole thing. I never got back to war. I arrived back in the [Canadian National] Exhibition ground barracks on VE-Day [May 8, 1945].