Part 3: Italy

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Transcript: (Part 3 - Italy)

Maurice White
This is the bad thing about war, you know, it’s not soldier against soldier. The civilians have to suffer and man do they suffer, you know. Little kids, you know, it just tears you up.

Gordon Candow
We never talked about it, wondered if we’d killed some kiddies today or anything. We never mentioned that... no.

Bernard Finestone
In the battlefield, you’d run across the farm. You’d see the farmer there farming, you know you’d try not to kill them while you’re trying to kill Germans. They did their utmost. I guess they had no choice. It was either keep on with their hardscrabble living or starve to death.

Hamilton Southam
The art of the gunnery is to deliver a shell on a target at the right time.

Raymond Henderson
And Harrington gave me the fire orders to put the first shell that was ever fired into, Canadian shell that was ever fired into Ortona.

Maurice White
See on the main streets of Ortona, it was all plugged up with buildings the Germans had blown up into the street, so you could not go down the street.

Vernon Dowie
And that’s where we learned the system of “mouse holing.” We’d blow a hole in the beginning of a block of houses and then they would go in and blow out the next wall.

Gerald Colbourne
And you took your time. You didn’t rush right in. You watched for every movement, every sound or something like that and you see footprints in the dust and that or whatever, you know, something that just make you alert, eh? But you learned that on your own.

David Fairweather
And as we went along, we just throw grenades down the stairs into the second floor and just kept on going.

Maurice White
We’d get new reinforcements up and in an hour they’d be either wounded or killed And you’d keep going on, your chances are less and less every minute.

Ralph Paulsen
His brother was killed in Ortona and he attended the burial, the temporary burial and I was there too and it was the saddest thing in the world to see a soldier laying his brother to rest.

Robert Murray
And I can remember sitting on top of my tank and it was so peaceful and all of a sudden I heard Christmas carols all sung in German. It was Christmas Day!

Albin Zarowny
All we got was one can of Irish stew in a can thrown to us. Here you are. That’s your Christmas dinner because we’re up on the front line, see.

David Fairweather And we were the last ones to come in for Christmas dinner. So we arrived back at the church about six o’clock at night. I can vaguely remember seeing these tables set with a couple of bottles of beer on them and candles going and the organ playing at the back end with the padre and Wilf Gildersleeve.

Wilfred Gildersleeve
And so they joined in the singing and it was very unusual, extraordinary Christmas that none of us will ever forget.

Ernest "Smoky" Smith
Fact, I knew a couple of them that went to that dinner, old friends of mine walked out of the door and got hit right in the wishbone and they’re still there.

Maurice White
The German soldier come up and I had to shoot him on Christmas Day. That bothers me so much. You know I don’t mind, didn’t mind shooting a German, but on Christmas Day it just didn’t seem to be right.

Gordon Candow
And we tried to take that silly monastery, walls nine feet thick, you know, couldn’t blow it to pieces and you couldn’t hurt anybody that was inside.

Bernard Finestone
And they had all the view that they needed. They’d all the situation, they could control everything from there.

Cyril Yarnell
To dislodge the Germans from Monte Cassino required constant daylight bombing. We provided top cover for them. We seen them going in and seen the absolute indescribable devastation of the bombs on Monte Cassino.

Thomas Godden
And all the guns opened up and started shelling and then it all quietened down after awhile. They still couldn’t take it. The Germans were still there. After all that pounding, you know.

Robert Boland
We flattened the village. Cassino was a little town right down at the base of the mountain. When the infantry went over and the tanks went in, the village was obliterated so much and there was so much debris they couldn’t get through and there the Germans come out and we lost the battle.

Samuel Lenko
But in the meantime our tanks were there. The other tanks were, the Germans tanks were firing and the fog was starting to lift and our tanks took one hell of a beating there.

Louis Melanson
Five minutes after eleven all the guns in our group opened up which was 1,500 plus guns, fired simultaneously all at one shot. It lit up the sky.

Hamilton Southam
Our smoke shells were intended to blind them to the advance of the Poles and presumably we did reasonably well because the Poles got there, enough of them to take the place. They were very brave.

Edwin Laird
Must be terrible for mothers though, eh? Waiting for their sons to come home... God.

George "Herb" Peppard
He wasn’t praying to live to the ripe old age of 60 or 70, he was praying that he’d live to see another day.

Charles Miller
There’s not a day, not a day that goes by that something doesn’t cross your mind about what happened, not a day.

Ted Slaney
Your relationship is cemented together so good. It was just like, it’s your family. You think more of them than you do your people back home. That’s how it was.

Bernard Finestone
They were the salt of the earth. These were real good guys, not macho, not most of them, not showing off. They just did their job no matter what. They were good at it.

William Thexton
And I think Canada’s contribution was magnificent really.

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