Language selection

Fear in battle

Heroes Remember

I was sent down to the eastern slope of the ridge, digging trenches that time. That was my first experience, which wasn't very pleasant. Shells bursting all around, the picture wasn't very pleasant. Well, there was all...poor chaps killed there by the machine gun fire and artillery. I think with the biggest part played was by, in the war, was by the artillery. And the machine gun fire, it was terrible. No chance in the world to escape it. When you were out there, you had no place for cover, right out in the open most of the time. The average private, he just followed the crowd. I mean, he was looking forward to everything, for the war to end, you know what I mean? He was scared to death. I mean I was scared too, you know? You couldn't help it. The shells flying around, machine gun fire, see your friends getting hit, one thing and another. Not only were you just, like... I don't know how to explain it to you. The infantryman, he had so much to do in the way of working parties. And I think myself, the way I felt, I was really... as a young fella, I thought, geez, I hope this won't last this long, you know. I was really scared.

Mr. Ford describes his first experience in the lines at Vimy Ridge and discusses the fear that he and others felt during battle conditions.

George R. Ford

George Ford was born on March 19, 1897 in Barrie, Ontario. In 1899, his family moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, and, when his mother’s health started to fail, on to Victoria, British Columbia. Here, Mr. Ford studied mathematics and surveying, which resulted in employment with the provincial government in the mapping department. Against his parents wishes, he enlisted in 1916, joining the 103rd Infantry Battalion. Mr. Ford went overseas aboard the SS Mauritania, landing in Southampton, England, where he was deployed with the 54th Battalion. He later transferred to the Light Trench Mortar Battery. Mr. Ford saw action on many fronts, but only discussed Vimy in any detail. However, his clear perspective on the futility of war, death, mutual respect, honour, and patriotic duty, honed over a 102 year lifespan, are well worth the viewer’s attention. After the war, Mr. Ford returned to his job as a surveyor. He joined his local Veterans Association, and some time later, the Royal Canadian Legion, Victoria, B.C.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
George R. Ford
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
103rd Infantry Battalion
Trench Mortar

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: