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Digging trenches

Heroes Remember

When you get into a position and you're dug in, this is when the enemy will shell you and try to counterattack. When this shelling is going on, you stay there in that hole. The correct measurements which you didn't bother to measure too much when you were digging a hole was about 6 feet long and 5 feet deep. It would be cut in on each side like this with a step on it so each, two men, one man sat on that step and the hole would be between you and this is where you went to the toilet and so forth and then you just pulled some dirt in behind there and covered it up. See you actually didn't have to dig too deep to get protection, as long as you got maybe about that far that you could lay your body down so that shrapnel would overpass you, it would be alright and then you'd get up and dig a little more and when you hear shells coming you get down again. So it sometimes took you well, maybe 15 minutes but you dug real fast. If you happened to get into a rocky area, we used to take - now this was not allowed actually but we would take a grenade and put it on the rough ground and holler, “Grenade!” and everybody would hit the ground and the grenade would blow and loosen the ground and then you shoveled it out which was strictly against the law but you saved your life anyway.

Mr. Buote discusses the trench as protection from shell explosions, how a trench was laid out, and the (illegal) use of grenades in the excavation.

Peter Buote

Peter Buote was born in Rustico, Prince Edward Island in 1924, the youngest of 7 children. His early years were spent in an orphanage. After moving to Moncton, New Brunswick he left school at age 14 and went to work in the Minto coal mines. At 16, he went to work at a dry-cleaners. Despite being of age, Mr. Buote was turned down for Naval service because he looked too young. He later joined the Regina Rifles and was involved in the D-Day landing. He served as a sniper in Europe. Mr. Buote also served in Korea, and after returning to Canada, operated a dry-cleaning business.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Peter Buote
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Regina Rifles

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