Language selection


Destroying the Village

Heroes Remember

Destroying the Village

We were there about two weeks, or something like that, before the ship came back from Russia to pick us up. Of course, we took a lot of stuff. Well, we set the coal on fire. There was three hundred thousand ton of coal in a great big pile, and they loaded mining cars with explosives and let ‘em go down the mine to do as much damage as possible. We burnt the town down and shot all, Ed Boudrey and another sergeant that shot all the pigs and horses and cattle ‘cause we couldn't take them back. Interviewer: What about the townspeople, the Norwegians? We took all the Norwegians on the ship. There was quite a few of them, a lot of young people. And they all came on, we evacuated them on to the ship and they, they were in the passenger quarters and we were staying in the Chinese cooling quarters down below, below the water line. We come back to Scotland and we disembarked. But the Norwegians were taken off the ship and I understand most of them all came back to Aylmer, Ontario, where a lot of them went into the Royal Norwegian Air Force, some went in the army, some went in the navy. The 17th Platoon stayed behind as rear guard on the ship and we were supervising, helping the unloading in a way ‘cause they had canisters of mercury, great big vials, that come out of the mine, I guess that was valuable. A lot of this stuff was loaded on the ship and we had to get it off.

The ship returns from Russia to pick up the soldiers who had been put off on Spitsbergen. The village they had occupied and its coal mines become the casualties of war.

Sam Lenko

Mr. Lenko enlisted in the army in Edmonton of February 14, 1940. He took basic infantry training in Calgary and then travelled to Halifax by train where he boarded the Duchess of Bedford, where he sailed in convoy to England. The ship arrived in the port of Liverpool and he was sent immediately to Aldershot for further training.His service included Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium and Holland. He returned to Canada and to Calgary on August 29, 1945, eventually training as a barber. He ran a barber shop for 20 years before changing his job to an unspecified occupation. He spent his working civilian life in Sangudo, Alberta.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Sam Lenko
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Loyal Edmonton Regiment / D Company / 17th Platoon

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: