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Life of a Tank Driver

Heroes Remember

Life of a Tank Driver

This village was occupied by the Jerries, we were chasing them out and some of them were up in the top of a roof of a house and they were throwing fire bombs down on the tanks. If your hatch was open your tank started on fire. Some guys got out and some didn’t. I was lucky I wasn’t in one at that time. I had a lot of good breaks. A little bit of brain power too at the same time thinking that’s not the right place to be. I would rather drive one because I can get out in a hurry. If you can’t get out you’re not going to get out. That’s tank life. Take a crew in a tank, five guys, first thing we’d do, we’d dig a slit trench and drive the tank over the top of it and that was our bedroom underneath. And that’s where we did our meals and washed our dirty socks that had to be cleaned and whatever. But that was just part of tank life. You lived in a tank. You lived by a tank and if you had the misfortune of being hit by an 88 you didn’t make it. I had to be lucky because I got through it all and I got home.

Mr. Johnson describes being inside a tank during battle the enemy.

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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