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We lost 'em all

Heroes Remember

I had been sent down as second in command of an infantry company. I had just left the Cara Platoon and I was second in command of the infantry company. I had been given the job to do what's called a recce, or a reconnaissance of this Soulanges place. And I took my regimental sergeant major with me and another, my batman runner with me, and as we went into this farmyard, snuck into this farmyard, I saw all these soldiers lying there and they were all dead. And I didn't, wasn't too sure they were dead, so I started to speak to them and they were from the Regiment de la Chaudière. They were french speaking and they were all dead, they were all killed. So I went past them and I went up to the, sort of the lookout, for this great big Soulanges castle, whatever you call it, and there was, there was a private soldier up there who said, "Where are the rest of the guys?" Said to me in French and I said, "Who are you looking for?" And he said, "Well," he said "There's so and so." And I said, "Is he, is he a company sergeant major?" Because a sergeant had three stripes, a company sergeant major had three stripes and a crown. He said, "Yeah, he's got three stripes and a crown," and I didn't know how to say it in french, it was really funny. But, not funny but strange. So, I said, "Well what are we doing here?" And he said, "We have to take this objective." And I said, "Well where are the Germans?" And he said, "I don't know," he said, "How long have you been here?" He said, "Oh, half an hour." I said "Did you see any?" He said, "No." So I went back, hell bent for election, and took a motorcycle that was lying beside the road and drove back and I told the CO, they've left. And that was where they were withdrawn, the Germans were withdrawing to Falaise. I said, "They've left." So he said, "Oh." So he said, "What do you plan to do"? I said, "Well let's take it before they reoccupy the place." I said, "alright now, we'll send 17-Platoon, we'll go around to the left and 16-Platoon will go around to the right and 15-Platoon will come up this road Soon as you hear any fire, hit the ground, and then we'll decide what we do ‘cause we have to make a decision on the spot." "Ok, sir fine, let's do it." Bingo! This is all taking place within fifteen minutes, twenty minutes at the most. So I'm, I'm walking down this road with the platoon that was in the centre and I hear "brrrrrrrt" and you could always tell the, the German machine guns, they had a faster rate of fire than ours. So I knew we were being fired on by Germans, so I said go to ground. So we went to ground and in the meantime, I looked up and I saw this guy who's name was Jim Bullock. I saw this Jim Bullock come through and he was holding his arm and I said, "What happened Jim?" And he said, "We got fired on." I said, "How many men did you lose?" He said, "We lost them all." Within about five minutes of this conversation, I see this German tank come out through the bushes, blasting away, blasting away. And all I heard somebody say is they got Lieutenant Soronow I thought, oh my God. So then I got a hold of Kirkpatrick and he was under fire and he was killed. Soronow was killed, Jimmy Bullock was wounded ... it was my plan. That was the worst battle I was every in by far because, I don't blame myself making a mistake, it was just that, the ground was such that Germans could hide in it. They had fooled the Chaudières completely.

Mr. Chadderton talks about his worst action, Soulanges.

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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