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A Bee Couldn’t Have Survived

Heroes Remember

A Bee Couldn’t Have Survived

When we went into Ragusa, we went in at night, the bridges had been blown, and we were going down a ravine and making a switch back road and the first thing that, this was one of my, one of my first scary points, was, we had fired, we were shooting mortar shells in ahead of us for, you know in advance artillery fire or mortar fire. And we hit a, a German machine gun post, and you could, you've see it on movies and this was actual fact, you could see the flame go up, the machine gun and the soldier in mid air. And this was all, you could see this from the flash, the illumination of the flash of the explosion. Interviewer: In the darkness, this was in the dark of night? Yes Interviewer: So how does that affect a young man, a young boy? You're pretty frightened. As a matter of fact you are so afraid, I was so afraid, that I thought my heart was going to explode, and that's, that's pretty scared. Interviewer: And what would make you that afraid? Like that's pretty powerful feeling. Well, any second you're, you could be dead. Well it's just hard to imagine and I'll give you one example. One time we were under a German barrage and it was coming down like rain drops, just thundering down and this was at night. When daylight broke, we were in an olive grove, the ground looked like it had been plowed, the trees, there wasn't a full branch left on the tree, every tree, so you don't know how a bee could fly through that and survive. That's what makes it so scary. And every minute that you're in battle is like a thousand years, just never ends. And for a young person, any young person, that, that is pretty hard to take because you know when minutes start lasting for hours, seemingly so, you just feel that there's no hope for you and you're not going to make it. Interviewer: But you did make it, you did get through. What do you think contributes to that? Phew... well, I'm not a religious person by any stretch of imagination, but boy sometimes you wonder if somebody isn't looking out for you. Because I still don't know how anybody could go through any of that and survive. Just for me, it seemed like it's impossible. I complain now about not winning the lotto, so I've, I've used up all of my luck, I believe.

Mr White recalls a scene of devastation that left him bewildered, and explains how as fear increased, time seemed to slow.

Maurice White

Maurice White was born in Coldwater, Ontario, on January 2, 1925. At a young age, his family relocated to Grassland, Alberta, where he was raised. After being rejected as too young by the air force, he successfully enlisted with the army, joining the Prince of Wales Armoury in Edmonton, Alberta. By the age of 17 he was an instructor, carrying the rank of corporal, but anxious to serve overseas he left his rank, to serve as a Private with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment. For 23 months Mr White served in the Italian Campaign, seeing action in such cities and towns as Ortona, Sicily, and Ragoona. Although not a religious man, his numerous near death experiences left him believing someone may have been watching over him He served with the military police for a year after the end of the War before returning to Canada.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Maurice White
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
1st Special Service Force

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