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I was Lucky to Make it

Heroes Remember

I was Lucky to Make it

Safest place until Jerry come up with his fancy gun that would hit the side of a Sherman tank and two minutes later they are all on fire because they knew on both sides of the tank was a 50 gallon container of high octane gas which we used for our Chrysler motors and they knew that. They would shoot that and it would start the fire on the tank and it would go on fire. And you’d get out in a hell of a hurry or you weren’t going to get out. It felt safer in the tank than watch the guys out there that were on foot. They were not very safe. When I saw one of my buddies got hit with an 88 and his tank was on fire and they didn’t get out. I’ll never forget that one. Up the side of the hill and I didn’t want to go up the side of the hill so I went beside it and the other two guys went up the hill, neither one of them made it. Jerry was waiting for them every time, he’d fire, hit the high octane gas and the tank is on fire in about two seconds, if they didn’t get out they never did get out. But that’s part of war. We’re not the only one. A lot of guys who were on foot didn’t make it either so I was fortunate enough to go through it and make it.

Mr. Johnson shares a personal and emotional story of witnessing the deaths of many of his fellow tank crew as their tanks were targeted and set on fire.

Bernie Johnson

Mr. Bernie Johnson was born May 29, 1923 in new Brunswick. As a child he grew up in Alberta on farm where he worked and provided assistance to his parents as during the depression resulted in great poverty for he and his siblings. With little income for the family Mr. Johnson decided to join the service and go to war. He attended training camp in New Water Barracks with the Sherman tanks and before heading off to Europe became qualified as a Tank driver with the Canadian Army Corp holding rank of Private. Mr. Johnson spent five and a half years overseas, a Veteran of the Italian Campaign. When war ended he returned home to Alberta where he then married and raised a family. To this day he continues to be a proud member of the legion in his local community of Calgary, Alberta.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
July 28, 2017
Person Interviewed:
Bernie Johnson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Tank Driver

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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