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Taking of the City of Caen

Heroes Remember

Taking of the City of Caen

Interviewer: What do you remember Mr. Cromwell, about the taking of the city of Caen? Well, that was a nice push. That was my first big push. They would tell us now what's coming, what time and so on so we had to collect up all the ammunition and everything and the food for the guys and everything was ready to go and all of a sudden the planes started coming as far as you could look this way and look that way there was planes; they were going this way, then they'd turn and then they are going back on this way. The first bombers, the Lancaster and Flying Fortresses and all that stuff and we were, a buddy and I, we were standing on a hump where the German's dugouts were, they'd build it in because when we first went over it didn't matter to sleep above the ground and he wasn't able to sleep close to the vehicles, you had to dig a hole, dig your trench and two guys had to be in a trench, you wouldn't have to have one fellow alone in case something happened and fall in, one guy could maybe help the other guy out. And you had to sleep below ground so the Germans had lovely places because they had been living there for years and we used to take them over and clean them out, take them over. So me and this buddy, we were standing up on top there watching and when the bombers come over and the doors opened up and we'd look right up at the bombs, we called it hedge hopping, they were they didn't look like they were no more than about forty feet in the air. The whole ground was just shaking and the first flight, when the first bomb landed, exploded, the shock from the bomb up ended us, knock us right off our hump, just flipped us right backwards. Jeez we're not that close to the front! The first flight got mixed up and that's when they bombed some of the Canadians and the Polish outfit got the worst of it. Then the communication in those days, there was no such thing as just picking up and saying, "Hey listen!" you have to mostly go by signals. And they had these what you call dive bombers, you call them, Typhoons, and they were fast and they come and they dove underneath the flights and give the signals that they were through and the next flight went up. And we laughed about that. Afterwards when we all came home from overseas and my brother Irving, he was there and he spoke about his outfit getting bombed and Irving is shorter than I am, and he said, "Yes" he says, "I was running back and a guy comes along with a jeep and said to me," "Hey c'mon jump in!" I said, "No,I'm in a hurry!" He said, "Well it must have took me about 20 minutes to run there but it took me three days to walk back!"

Mr. Cromwell speaks of the first big push into Caen witnessing the sight of planes and bombs being dropped very close to their trenches.

Everett Sylvester Cromwell

Everett Cromwell was born on December 12, 1921 in Weymouth Falls, Digby Co., Nova Scotia. He was the fifth of ten children. At age twelve, he left school to work in the woods because his father, also a forestry worker, had fallen ill. Both of his parents were soon deceased, and the ten children stayed in the family home supporting one another. Mr.Cromwell supported the family by working for a local farmer and then in the local lumberyard. He enlisted in June, 1941 in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps. After basic training in Halifax, Sherbrooke, and Camp Borden, he sailed aboard the Louis Pasteur to England, arriving on December 23, 1941. Two weeks after the D-day raid, Mr. Cromwell arrived in France with the 2nd Division, Motor Transport. For the duration of the war, his unit was responsible for transporting fuel, food and ammunition to the Front in support of the Allied advance on Germany. After being discharged from the army and returning home, Mr. Cromwell, recently married, reenlisted because it was ‘steady work’. He and his family were to experience institutionalized racism in Halifax, being denied accommodations because of their black heritage. This in contrast to the fact that he felt equal in all respects as a member of the Army. Mr. Cromwell and his wife, Elizabeth, currently reside in Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Everett Sylvester Cromwell
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Canadian Army Service Corps

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