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Dwindling Chances of Survival

Heroes Remember

Dwindling Chances of Survival

Interviewer: When you do look back, were there times that you were afraid, more than just kind of curious? Well, I don't think I was ever curious. I was always afraid. I mean, deathly afraid. That's, that's about the only real thing that I remember the whole war, being, always being afraid. And like I was saying you know, a minute lasts forever. So being afraid that long, that's what has stuck in my mind mostly, just being terribly, terribly afraid and alone. Although I'd, I did feel some consolation sometimes when we would liberate a town and the Germans had, had pulled out and the civilians started coming out of the wood work, you know. The ladies, the women that were my mothers age, they'd always come to me and say ya know, "You're too young, you're a baby, you shouldn't be in the war". And boy they gave me an awful lot of comfort you know it, they helped me out a lot, cause I was missing my family, my mother, so that was nice Interviewer: And did you have time to write back to your family? Did they know what you were going through? Was there contact? There was some contact but it would take a month or two for any letters to get back and forth and they were not told the truth. As I remember one letter that mother had sent me and she said, well she sent me a clipping from the paper, saying that the Loyal Edmonton Regiment had taken this town with not a shot being fired. That, that wasn't the case at all, I think we lost 120 people, you know, wounded, or taken prisoner, or killed. So they didn't always get the true story. Interviewer: So 120 men were lost and you survived that? What was that like? Oh, well I don't know, it's, it's just devastating and that's what makes you so afraid all the time. Because you know, that you know, you've run out of your luck and the next one has got to be yours. And that's, that's what I found very, very hard to take. And you get reinforcements up, they might last an hour or two like in Ortona, I remember many, many times we'd get new reinforcements up and in an hour they'd be either wounded or killed and you keep going on. Your, your chances are less and less every minute.

Mr White explains how as the war progressed, he felt his number would soon come up and he would suffer the fate of so many others he witnessed perish around him.

Maurice White

Maurice White was born in Coldwater, Ontario, on January 2, 1925. At a young age, his family relocated to Grassland, Alberta, where he was raised. After being rejected as too young by the air force, he successfully enlisted with the army, joining the Prince of Wales Armoury in Edmonton, Alberta. By the age of 17 he was an instructor, carrying the rank of corporal, but anxious to serve overseas he left his rank, to serve as a Private with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment. For 23 months Mr White served in the Italian Campaign, seeing action in such cities and towns as Ortona, Sicily, and Ragoona. Although not a religious man, his numerous near death experiences left him believing someone may have been watching over him He served with the military police for a year after the end of the War before returning to Canada.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Maurice White
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
1st Special Service Force

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