Language selection


More From Sicily

Heroes Remember


This video contains graphic content that may offend some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

Later on, we got up out of there and we got back in and we got in on the, up on top of the hill of Leonforte and we were around the bend and all our convoy was kind of lined up. And on the side was headquarters and the bridge was blown around the corner and they were trying to fix this little bridge. So we were waiting to go in. And the shooting was still going on ‘cause the firing was going on. And all at once, there was a plane come down, a yellow- nosed plane, and smoke was pouring out of it, and he was coming quite low. And I hollered to, cause I was right on the bend, I hollered, "Duck! Duck!" cause the plane's going to crash it's on fire. Well it wasn't on fire. All at once I could hear "tut, tut, tut, tut" and the bullets were bouncing where the convoy was. It didn't seem he done any damage or anything but he come down and he went way up and he swung around and I had a Bren gun then with a mag that had one ball, one tracer, one armour piercing in it, and Cy Southall was with me. He went across the road in the other ditch with a Bren gun and when this guy come down, he come really low and just as he was going to climb we held on to the trigger and bullets were going like that. And all at once, we could see him kind of slump and then the black smoke started pouring out of this plane. And the plane went way up and it was smoking and it went down over the hill and there was a big puff of black smoke come up, he crashed. But after that, we went, I went on to the truck and we did get across the bridge. We got into Leonforte and our tanks then started getting in there, too. We got to the square and the Germans were coming down with a tank and there was German infantry off and throwing potato mashers in these buildings where the guy were in these buildings. But they never quite got to them ‘cause our tank took and shot at one of them and the whole part blew off onto the square. Destroyed the tank and I think it got another one. This John Lowell, he was in this square bringing in wounded, German and Canadian now, I'll never forget that. A young guy from Rochfort Bridge, he got the DCM after. When I seen this movie, "Return to Ortona", he's in there and I recognized him right away, packing in wounded in Ortona.

Mr. Lenko continues his dramatic account of the experience of a single day in Sicily - the day he describes as the most critical.

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: