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Battle of Leopold Canal, Part 3

Heroes Remember

Battle of Leopold Canal, Part 3

I got up there and as soon as we got in they fired every damn thing at us you could think of: Mortars, little two inch mortars that we called Popeye's, machine guns, sub-machine guns, everything you could think of, it was just hell. So I said to Magichi, "We're gonna get out of here," I said, "There's no point in staying here, we're just gonna get killed." And he said, "Yeah you're right, sir." So he said, "Alright." So Magichi turned around and he said to me, "You're getting out first." I said, "No I better go out last." "No," he said, "You're getting out first." I said, "Why?" He said, "Because I want you to organize everybody when they come back, otherwise they'll just come back to where you started and it'll be a kind of milling around and everyone's gonna get killed. So he said, "I'm sending you"... he's the sergeant, I'm the officer, he says, "I'm sending you back first." So I started back down the canal and I got hit. I felt this guy grab me by the back, it was Magichi and he said to me, "Can you walk?" I said, "I don't know, I think I can." He said, "Okay, I'm gonna put you in a slit trench". So he took me back and put me in a slit trench and I blacked out and then I saw a German up above me drop a grenade on me and that's all I remembered. The padre was in the same slit trench I was, he didn't get hit at all, the blast from the grenade didn't get him. But then I lay there and I was all covered with mud and they were digging me out, my men were digging me out and they, by that time we had a K-Pog bridge across but it had been blown by the Germans So Alec Bell came along, who was one of my big sergeants, big tough guy and Alec came along and he said, "Are you alright sir?" And I said, "I don't know," I said, "The pain's gone." He said, "No wonder, it's all full of mud". They were packing mud over my feet so I wouldn't feel the pain, you see. And he said, "We're gonna get you the hell out of here," and the next thing I saw was Alec saying, "Just like, like shooting ducks in the marshes," he said, "I gotta punt." He threw me in this punt and I thought it was full of water and one guy in the front with a pole and another guy with a rifle in the back. And I put my hand down in this thing and I lifted it up and it was all blood and I said, "My God it's all blood." I was bleeding like a stuck pig, I thought I guess this is it, I don't know. But Bell said, "No, we're gonna get you out of here, don't, don't worry about it." So they carried me out and I got back to the RAP, the regimental aid-post, and the doc came along and he said, "Well I'm gonna give you a shot of morphine, but the only clean place I got is between your necklines." So he gave me a shot of morphine in here I blessed him for that and then he turned to his assistant and he said, "That's, that's Chadderton", then he said, "Don't let him suffer." I thought, I know what that means, goodbye. And anyhow they got me out of there and I don't remember getting back to the first port of call, is the casualty clearing station, but I remember them saying, well he's lost a foot and then they got me back to 12 General Field Hospital and I was lying there and a doctor came along, I believe his name was Hunter. And he came along and he said, "You're the last one I can operate on today," he said, "Do you know what time it is?" I said, "No." He said, "It's midnight." I had no idea what..., I guess it was two in the afternoon, we went across to take on this attack, so I'd been from two o'clock ‘til midnight. So he took me in at midnight and took off the part of one leg and said, "I think we can save your other leg but I'm not sure."

Mr. Chadderton describes his severe wounding, rescue, and treatment in a field hospital.

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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