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I never tried to fool my guys

Heroes Remember

I never tried to fool my guys

I never went into a battle of any kind, but what the briefing officer, who would be the CO in my case, if I was commanding a company, didn't say, this is going be a piece of a cake. And I never went in, and he didn't say that it's gonna be easy, it's gonna be easy. Well, you know as I say, I'm a born cynic and I said you know, bull, bologna, it's gonna be easy. You know we were going to, that just means that instead of thirty men, we were gonna lose sixty, but ... I never tried to fool my guys because how could they have any respect for you the next time you say to them, "Look we're gonna take this fort," or "we're gonna take this bunch of slit trenches," or "we're gonna take this copse over here that's got some Germans in it." And somebody says "Yeah that's what you said last time." And you know you can fool some of the people some of the time but don't ever try to fool a private soldier, who's life is on the line. No, he's got too much at stake. The first thing you did and I think the Canadian Army was noted for this, is you tried to make sure that every man knew exactly what he was supposed to do and what we were supposed to be doing. I remember near the Seine one time, there was a barn there was another farm here, there was some bushes over here. I got everybody together, in behind the barn, all the, the platoon commanders and what not and I said, "Now look, it stands to reason that if you were defending this area, you'd have some tanks in those bushes there, you'd have this and this and this. So we can expect the very worst. So, but we're gonna have a plan". And I was fortunate, I was in action longer than most commanders and so, you know, through experience, I wasn't a great commander, but through experience I'd learned the tricks of the trade. Such as when do you smoke or, or when to when to use the, let's say the 4-inch mortars. Because they had, the four-inch mortar would go up in the air and come down on the troops behind the bushes, you see. So yeah, first you had to have a plan. Then after you had that, you had an evacuation plan and that was, evacuation of wounded was very, very, very important because a guy would say, "I'm not going to get killed, it's gonna be somebody else, but I might get wounded. What's Chadderton gonna do for me if I get wounded?" Well what are you gonna do? He's gonna make darn sure that we get a stretcher bearer up there and get you out of there and get you to the RAP, which is the regimental aid-post. And from the regimental aid-post, they'll fill you full of morphine, so you'll have happy dreams and you won't, won't hurt. So, firstly you have a plan. Secondly, you have an evacuation plan for the wounded, how you're gonna get them out. Then you have an evacuation plan if things get bad. Now, you've heard the old story, "We never surrender." That is pure BS. I mean, if I said to my troops before a tough attack, "Come on guys, we will never surrender!" They'd take a look at you and they'd say, "You're some God damned commander, you out for a VC?" I mean they smell a rat right off the bat, so you did never say, if you were a good commander, you didn't say, "We'll never surrender." What you said is; "If things get really bad, I'll get you the hell out of there. One way or another, I'm gonna get you out."

Mr. Chadderton discusses the need for honesty and good planning.

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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