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D-Day Landing Part 1

Heroes Remember

D-Day Landing Part 1

For the actual guys who were invade.., involved in what we called "touch-down," it was, firstly it was noisy, very, very noisy. And secondly it was you know, to get poetic about it, it was the moment of truth. I mean, you know when you see a guy standing beside you one minute and the next minute you see his head blown off or his arm flying through the air or he lets off an awful... when a guy gets hit by a shell it makes a hell of a noise. People say oh, it's a soft tissue, it goes "sheooou." Geeze, I'll never forget it, it just makes me shiver. Shiver when I think of it right now; a guy getting hit point blank by a mortar shell. Jesus it's just awful. And you know, you don't turn around and look ‘cause you know. And now that's not exactly true, I think instinctively you knew, because if you thought for a minute that there was a chance you could help a guy you would, provided you weren't involved in trying to take an objective. But you see, we were trained, highly, highly trained, the assault troops were highly, highly trained that if Bill McWilliams was shot and he fell beside you and you stopped to get him, help him, what about your objective. Because the same shell that got him is gonna get three, four other guys so you had to sort of learn, but no infantryman would ever turn his back on a buddy who had been wounded, if there was a chance that the guy could get ashore . . How am I sure of that, I'm not sure of it. I mean nobody can be that sure of it, but I'm fairly sure that instinctively you, you learned things very, very quickly when you're in that moment of truth, that's it. You learn it very, very quickly. And I suppose to be honest about it there's a certain amount of survival skill comes into it too. You say to yourself, well he got it, the same guy that got him can get me, so I'm gonna get that son of a bitch and so you keep going. But in that, you said what, that first ten minutes or so, that's it. I mean there was so many emotions, there's so much noise. Smoke for example, noise and smoke, and you don't really see anything. I mean for example, did I ever shoot a German? And the answer is yes. Did I ever see me shoot a German, the answer is no, I never did. But maybe that's why people can't talk about the war and maybe I can. Is that, I've done a lot of, I've earned a living at sort of trying to portray how horrible war is and if you're not prepared to talk about it, you might as well go home and grow wheat or, or find a court room and practice law, whatever you want to do. But, no instinctively, we learned things very, very quickly in that first, I wouldn't even say three minutes, not ten. You learned them and were we right? Who knows. But you can only hope that you were right. But when I went back, that was the proof of the pudding , was in the eating, when I went back and, and looked for Wurcoaskie for example or a guy by the name of Scaife, I knew he'd been dead. I knew he'd been killed and I found his body, validated my feeling that I didn't leave him alone but, or somebody didn't, you know? What the hell. It's tough, it's tough. Even, you know, do you ever get over it? Three nights ago I dreamt about it again. Three nights ago for God sake! Do I ever get over it?

Mr. Chadderton describes the emotional and sensory impacts of battle.

Clifford Chadderton

Clifford Chadderton, CC, O. Ont., OStJ, CLJ, CAE, DCL, LLD Mr. Chadderton was born May 9, 1919, in Fort William, Ontario, and was raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His mother worked as an accountant. His father, an entrepreneur, was a veteran of the First World War who suffered complications from being gassed at Vimy Ridge. Under the tutelage of his parents Mr. Chadderton was brought up to believe in Canada and the importance of education. He became interested in social events, politics, military history and the process of debate. These interests led Mr. Chadderton to become a news editor for the Canadian Press and a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press while attending the University of Manitoba. Mr. Chadderton even found time for another interest - playing hockey for the Winnipeg Rangers, the farm team for the New York Rangers. On October 15, 1939, Mr. Chadderton enlisted in the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, climbing the ranks quickly to become a company commander and an acting major by the end of the war. While serving in Europe he was wounded twice, once by a bullet at the Abbaye d'Ardenne in Normandy, and then by a grenade near the Leopold Canal in Belgium on October 10, 1944. There, he lost his right leg below the knee, and his military career came to an end. Mr. Chadderton never let the loss of his leg hinder him. In fact, it has made him a beacon of hope to many, and has given him the opportunity to work for the needs and benefits of Canadian amputees and veterans. He is the Chief Executive Officer of The War Amps, and Chairman of the National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada. A persistent, dedicated and devoted man, Mr. Chadderton is also known nationally and internationally as a documentary producer, creating The War Amps Never Again! series, which illustrates the realities of war. He has also written an inspirational memoir entitled, Excuse Us! Herr Schicklgruber, which is an insight into the personalities, feelings and hopes of the men who fought alongside Mr. Chadderton in the Second World War. Mr. Chadderton continues to challenge the world and enjoy life with no regrets, having made a home for himself in Ottawa, Ontario, and creating a legacy with his wife, two children, and four grandchildren.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Clifford Chadderton
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Winnipeg Rifles
Infantry Company Commander

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