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A Close Call With A Mortar Shell

Heroes Remember


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A Close Call With A Mortar Shell

We went forward then and we started towards San Fortunato and I got lost from the boys and I ended up in front of the, I think it was Carleton York. Interviewer: Carleton and York. Carleton and York medical building. It was a kind of a, an Italian hovel, shack and I sat down there just for a rest cause it was hot. That was about the 20th of September, 1944. And when I sat down, there was a Canadian soldier sitting there, coloured, Carleton and York soldier and I just asked him, I says, "Well, where are you wounded?" and he didn't seem to have a wound on him or anything. And you know, all at once, there was a bloody shell landed in between me and him, made a hole about that deep. The smoke was coming out of that hole and I didn't have a scratch But boy, my head was just going. And I looked at this guy and most of his clothes were gone. And I looked and he didn't have any blood coming out of him at all. And just then the medical officer come to the door and he says, "What happened here? What's happening?" And I says "Well, a shell landed right here and I'm getting the hell out of here.", so I took off to join the unit. I didn't have to go that far. I came in to where, there was a group of houses, and I went in a house and there our boys were. And I told them I'd got lost from them but I made it and someone had picked up a newspaper and they rustled it and I dived underneath the table. You know, I guess my nerves were getting a little edgy.

Mr. Lenko gets separated from his unit near San Fortunato. He tells a story of a very close call with a mortar shell.

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

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