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My wireless set was blown to nothin’

Heroes Remember

My wireless set was blown to nothin’

We attacked a place called The Abbey. And I remember being in a green field with my wireless set, and I was laying down with my aerial up and dirt splashed in my, in my face, and I wondered, "What the heck?" And I looked, and it hit again, I knew a machine gun had seen me. So I moved over a little bit and it followed me and shot again. And I thought, "Oh, I know what it is. It's my aerial!" And it was, because soon as I put the machine up, the aerial stuck up above the green, and he could see that, and then he fired for where he thought that I would be. So, anyway, I took that off, and then I rolled over and over and over with the thing on my back. And I got away over there, and I just layed there still, and he didn't find me. And later, we had captured The Abbey and I went up there, and they had . . . it's in a book I just read. They killed twenty some odd Canadians, just lined them up and shot'em up at that Abbey there. When, when I got up, when everybody got up, there was a tiger tank sitting up there facing our direction. But that was one little experience I had there where, where I was being shot at. They liked to take out signals because that's communication. Without communication, you don't go anywhere. You have to have communication. Then we went into Calais, and the Germans had blown some dikes there and let the water go, and we went right dark at night. As soon as it got dark, we started marching for Calais. And we started out on a highway that was blocked off, but then the water got deeper and deeper and deeper. And then I'd be walking along, and you're going in a little hollow in the highway, and the water comes out over top. I had to take my wireless set and hold it on my head. And we walked quite a few kilometres that way to, to get into the city, and we, and we did and we captured it, eventually. We got there. And I . . . we got there just at daylight in the morning, and we captured the house, big house. Our company headquarters got in there. They had had big windows in where you open up the doors there, and I thought that's a good place to put my wireless set. I put it on the floor and sat down and started contacting headquarters. And somebody said there's a German patrol coming. Okay, I got a little time, so I waited, and I was still trying to get out, and I saw a German helmet come around the window. So, I got out of there and headed for the stairs, and they said, upstairs they said, "Don't come up. Don't care who ya are. Don't come up. We'll shoot you. Everybody's German. There's no Canadians down there." And they were hollering and hollering. I said, "It's me John! It's me John!" "No, it don't matter." Anyway, make a long story short, I heard a "boom", and they did let me up. Got up there, and finally the Germans went away. And I come back down and my wireless set was blown to nothing. They threw a hand grenade on it, so I just got out of there in time. But there's lots of stories like that. Lots of guys got lots of true stories to tell, things like that. Close encounters, and some not so successful.

Mr. Hall describes close calls at The Abbie and at Calais.

John Hall

Mr. Hall was born in Whitewood, Saskatchewan, in 1921. He worked on the family's farm until he enlisted in the Royal Regina Rifles. He was shipped overseas on a converted sugar freighter. Once in England, Mr. Hall experienced the Battle of Britain from the perspective of the local citizenry. He spent more land duty in a mail sorting depot until his Regiment joined the D-Day invasion at Juno Beach. He was a radio operator. Mr. Hall took part in numerous actions, most notably Caen, Calais and the Leopold Canal and the Liberation of Holland. After leaving the Army, Mr. Hall worked in the Canadian North with the Department of Natural Resources.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Hall
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
436 Squadron

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