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First Canadian out of Rome

Heroes Remember

First Canadian out of Rome

The first group of Canadians with the force were the first Canadians into Rome. And I’ve always told the story that I was one of the first Canadians out of Rome. We went in on a recce patrol, a reconnaissance patrol and we went back in through the suburbs; you’d go in the back door of a house, through the house, across the road, into the front door of the house and out the back door. We hitch-hopped quite a ways back in. Our job was to go in, look around and don’t cause any problems. Well, we heard an artillery piece fire and it was awfully close. Now we knew it wasn’t one of ours. So I was second scout and we went up to the 3rd floor of this house and kept away from the window but looked out and there was a German self-propelled gun sitting beside a garage across the road and just as we were watching him, he let go another one and you swore it was coming right in that window but he couldn’t see us, we were far enough away. And we downed the stairs and reported it to the sergeant in charge of the patrol and he wanted two volunteers, you and you! So myself and another Canadian were sent back with the idea of getting some backup if needed. And he said, “We’ll give you one hour after you get back.” And because we were coming out in leaps and bounds, that’s the way we went in and I could run faster than the other guy so I always said I was the first Canadian out of Rome and nobody ever disputed it.

During recce patrol into Rome, Mr. Summersides shares a humorous story of a time when he considered himself the first Canadian out of Rome.

Jim Summersides

Mr. Jim Summersides was born in Welland, Ontario, a town where he has lived all his life. As a young man, he recalls that peer pressure played a role in his joining the army. After enrolling, Mr. Summersides volunteered for the First Special Service Force, a unique joint Canadian- American effort that snuck behind German artillery lines creating havoc for the enemy. Mr. Summersides, along with fellow Canadian comrades, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor from the American Congress for his rare and profound contribution to the war effort. After the force broke up, he joined the 48th Highlanders and finished the war with that regiment. Mr. Summersides is very proud of his service during the Second World War and has had the pleasure of returning to Holland as part of the Canadian delegation for anniversary events.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
May 30, 2015
Person Interviewed:
Jim Summersides
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Liberation of Holland
1st Special Service Force

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