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Never a Problem with Directions

Heroes Remember

Never a Problem with Directions

And I didn’t know, by this time I had to find my regiment or my brigade headquarters at that time. I didn’t know where they were or where they had gone to and so on. So it was getting pretty dark toward dark at night. I met some troops that were coming back, they were getting close to Carpiquet airport I found out, somebody told me at the time. And they were coming back and said don’t go up here cuz the Germans are pushing us so I went back and as it turns out I was amongst the British soldiers and they were next on our left flank. And I said, “Where are you guys staying at night?” He said, “Oh there’s a church over there, we’re bedding down on the floor there.” And so I joined them. And the next morning they gave me breakfast and the next morning I went looking and I found the brigadier had just come onshore with the jeep and I don’t know which jeep he was on so anyway, he of course piled in and told me where to go. He knew on his map where he was supposed to find so and after that I… I never got lost all the time I drove him around. A lot of time it was dark in the evening, I never got lost once because I had the maps and I had already taken a map reading course in the army and they had very good maps which the air force photographed and printed and they were very good detailed maps and I would study those maps every day and I would know where everybody was. And having to stay outside and never went in, when it was dark I was never went where there wasn’t a light burning so I never lost my sense of direction. And so the brigadier would come out and say let’s go and I knew where to go and my mind kept going. We had a startling experience, we were going down this road, a small road, narrow road and came to one of these halftrack vehicles quite large, they take ten or more troops and so on and you couldn’t tell who was who. It turned out it was a Polish half-track and they decided they were friends instead of foes. We wondered what was going to happen so anyway, we weren’t lost but I kept driving and found our way back to where we were supposed to go.

As driver of brigadier general, Mr. Bernhardt speaks about his ability to read maps and his sense of ease in travelling throughout unknown terrain.

Charles Bernhardt

Mr. Charles Bernhardt was born March 13, 1921 in Yugoslavia. His father, a bricklayer, was from Hungary and came to Canada in 1927. The family followed the next year. Unable to recall too much of his childhood, Mr. Bernhardt does remember his happiness as a Canadian and that he always had the desire and pride to serve in the Canadian military. He chose to join the Canadian Armoured Division and served during in the Second World War in Normandy during the Battle of D-Day. He held the occupation of Brigadier General’s driver, a role he felt great pride in doing. Mr. Bernhardt is known for his participation in one of the most famous photos of all time which went for poster print, the “Wait for Me Daddy” poster which can be found displayed across Canada. In recognition of his service, Mr. Bernhardt received the Legion of Honour medal and was given the opportunity to be a part of the Canadian delegation for 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge - a memory of honour he will hold for a lifetime. Mr. Bernhardt resides in Summerland, B.C.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
April 4, 2017
Person Interviewed:
Charles Bernhardt
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Armoured Regiment

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