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A Direct Hit

Heroes Remember

Somebody come up and said, “The guns aren’t coming in.” So that’s fine, we sort of settled down for the night. Orme said, “Gordie, I’m sleeping upstairs in this house. Beautiful rooms up there,” he said. “Good up there.” I said, “Orme, no way. You’re not sleeping up there. Your mother told me to look after you. No way, you know better than that.” “Oh hell,” he said, “Too many of us down here. Where am I going to put my bag?” So I guess I kept nagging at him, nagging at him. So I guess, to shut me up he, which is quite the thing to do, he threw his fart sack down beside mine. Put up our mosquito nets because you don’t want to get malaria, and sort of toned down. We think we’re going to go to sleep, and go to sleep. Pretty soon the big guns start shelling us. So, a few whistled in enough to wake us up. And then all of a sudden, a direct hit on the house, right on the roof. Well, there was a stairway over there. I’m about here and Orme’s here and there’s a stairway there. Down the stairway came bricks and rubble, and it shot out the door and hit a Perth Regiment guy in the ankle out in the door. And of course the room is full of dust and that. But see, without the little wood in the Italian homes, the ceiling would be about that much concrete. So we were fine. I said, “If I get my pipe and matches, I’d be fine.” Orme said, “I got my mosquito net, I’ll be good.” Morning comes, we go upstairs, see what this here looks like. Where he was going to sleep there was about a ten foot diameter hole.

Mr. Bannerman tells of the time he and his crew witnessed a direct hit on a home they were bunking at for the night.

Gordon Bannerman

Mr. Gordon Bannerman was born September 13, 1921. He was raised in Neville, Saskatchewan with his three brothers and a sister. His father served in the First World War with the 1st Canadian Field Ambulance. Following in his father’s footsteps, Mr. Bannerman enlisted and became a member of the 17th Field Regiment Artillery. He began his military career as a general service gunner and was soon promoted to sergeant. He trained in Petawawa, Ontario, was sent to Aldershott, England, eventually fought in Italy from 1943 to 1945 and through northwest Europe to the Netherlands in 1945. During his service time, Mr. Bannerman had plenty of close calls and was wounded by mortar fire. As a sergeant major, he considered himself a good listener who maintained strong morale amongst his fellow soldiers. After the war, Mr. Bannerman and his wife, Edith, whom he met in 1945, settled in British Columbia.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Gordon Bannerman
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
17th Field Regiment
Gun Sergeant

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