Language selection


Luck of the Draw – Fighting Patrols

Heroes Remember

Luck of the Draw – Fighting Patrols

The Germans, if they see a pile of coal they would set it on fire so we couldn't use it, you know what I mean. Now it's getting winter, it's getting October, November and getting cold. And then we got to a river with a big mountain in front. Then we were stationed there for a couple of days. I think it was the Sangro, I'm not sure though, but. Anyway, I was in C Company at the time and the colonel which was Colonel Bernachi, he's dead now, he became Lieutenant-General. And he sent, he wanted to send a fighting patrol across the mountain, across the river, across the mountain to engage the enemy to see what kind of strength they have, so we did. I was assigned to go to the fighting patrol. We were armed to the teeth, you know. We were pretty well armed. When you go on fighting patrol you have to be ready, have grenades and Bren gun and Sten gun. We were about 18 men. There was an officer, there was a sergeant, there was a corporal and the rest were private. And we went up and then we got soaked, it was wet. We went right up the mountain. It was dark, pitch dark. We didn't see nobody, nobody. We didn't see nothing. So we came back. We came back and you know those khaki pants, wet, they got wet and they were rubbing on my leg and they created an infection there. So I had to go and see this doctor the following morning. He put me off duty 24 hours. Then when the officer reported the fighting patrol, we hadn't seen nobody. He said, “well you're going to go back again.” But I couldn't go back because I was off duty, but my best friend that was with me you know, well you know, you always have somebody that you're closer to in an outfit. I said, “You go to fighting patrol.” I said, “When you come back,” I says, “I see the Italian killed a pig there today,” I says, “I'll get some meat and we'll have a good piece of pork when you come back.” He said, “Okay.” He never came back. So they went to that fighting patrol and as he crossed the river he trotted on a mine. He got his two legs broke and he was dead, stayed there. They went about 16 of them, only two came back. Anyway, so I consider myself lucky that I didn't go there, you know. That's one experience that you don't forget.

Mr. Clavel describes going on a fighting patrol across the Sangro River in order to assess the German strength and seeing nothing. Held back because of an infection, he's unable to join another patrol from which only two of the original sixteen men return.

Roger Clavel

Roger Clavel was born in Sainte-Scholastique, Quebec on February 15, 1919. He was the sixth of eight children. After finishing grade eight, he sold donuts door-to-door. Mr. Clavel enlisted three days after the war started, on September 13, 1939. He went overseas as a Fusilier de Montreal, and while in England he was married. Mr. Clavel then joined the Royal 22nd Regiment in North Africa. During the Italian campaign, Mr. Clavel eventually ended up driving a medical supply truck. The Royal 22nd Regiment then rejoined the Canadian army in Belgium, but Mr. Clavel saw limited action. After returning to Canada, Mr. Clavel had to wait exactly one year for the arrival of his war bride.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Roger Clavel
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal 22e Régiment
Truck driver

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: