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First World War Audio Archive

In July of 1918 we were put out on what they called a rest period

Hill 62 Memorial Belgium.

Well, the rest period in the army, you don’t just lie down and go to sleep. It went on to very intensive training and in this

Courtrai Memorial Belgium.

training, the machine gun crews from each company had what they

Le Quesnel Memorial Belgium.

called a shoot-off to see which was the best machine gun crew and it so happened that my machine gun crew won “D” company

Gueudecourt Memorial France.

and Hughie Cairns machine gun crew won “A” company, and I don’t know who won “B” and “C,” it doesn’t matter. Anyway, we had to go

Dury Memorial France.

have a shoot-out, go on back into the back and using the cover

Monchy Memorial France.

that was available and any ravines or little draws to get up to a set of targets to make the best use of all that to get up to these targets. And then at a certain spot you put your gun up and

Passchendaele Memorial Belgium.

when they blew the whistle you started to fire the machine gun at a target. You had the target in front of you. Well, my machine

Masnières memorial France.

gun number one was Charlie Johnston and he had what they called a first position stoppage right off the bat. So I just fell down

Bourion Wood Memorial France.

beside him and rolled him over and pulled the cocking handle back and let her go and I stayed down there and kept firing until they blew the whistle again and then you stopped. And then they went

Courcelette Memorial France.

out to try to count the number of bullseyes that you had made. Well, apparently, on the machine gun, on the target that I was firing at, I had just cut the centre right out of, right out of

Beaumont-Hamel Memorial France.

the bullseye and I had beaten Hughie Cairns on the shoot. Well, then I was supposed to go down to brigade, shooting in the

St. Julien Memorial Belgium.

brigade but in the meantime the big push on the 8th of August came along and that brigade shoot never came off. I sure would

Canadian National Vimy Memorial France.

have loved to have a shot, a crack at that brigade shoot. That would have been something. That would have been something.

Mr. Smith describes competition among the machine gun crews as part of his training regimen in the war zone.

Allan A ‘Spike’ Smith

Allan A ‘Spike’ Smith was born in Minto, Manitoba on May 7, 1894. Mr. Smith enlisted while attending the University of Saskatchewan, joining the 196th Battalion. He did his basic training at Camp Hughes, Manitoba. Once overseas, he was at Camp Seaford in England when he was selected to reinforce the 46th Battalion. He saw his first action just prior to Vimy, and was wounded by shrapnel at the Chalk Pits. He returned to action at Drocourt-Queant, and was again wounded by shrapnel. He later returned to Passchendaele. He received a Military Medal for bravery. After the war, Mr. Smith became a farmer, coached a women’s volleyball team, and became an agriculture inspector. He died on August 12, 1981.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Allan A ‘Spike’ Smith
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
196th Battalion

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