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Closer than Brothers

Heroes Remember

Closer than Brothers

We were closer than brothers. There wasn’t any Americans, there wasn’t any Canadians. You could tell perhaps on the odd one had a southern drawl, American eh or Canadian eh but, no, you relied on your buddy and he relied on you and that kept you going if nothing else because you couldn’t let your buddy down. God help you if you did. It was the same with the Canadians. The infantry was reliant on the guy beside you. You went and did your job to the best of your ability and thank the good Lord some of us got through. The last parade we had was in southern France and they told us that the force was breaking up. And they said the Canadians fall out. When anybody fell out of line up on a parade, they could give the order, close ranks and the guys would move back together. When Canadians fell out, the officers in charge of the various platoons gave the order, “Close ranks!” Nobody moved. Nobody moved. They would not close ranks. I think it was the first order that the Special Service Force refused to obey. It was fantastic. Some of the guys actually cried because their best friend was gone. They were going away, they were leaving us and I saw people myself, there were grown men wiping tears from their eyes.

Mr. Summersides shares a sincere reflection of the bond amongst the force and the strong sense of camaraderie between the American and Canadian soldiers within the force.

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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