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Germans - Up Close

Heroes Remember


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The word come in right away, they needed about five guys to take in ammunition and I was one that was picked, Veno was picked, Corporal Vic Lawrence was picked, he was the leader of our group. And we had to go down a trail, up to where there was an old abandoned Italian hospital. But there was a plane there, down and the pilot was laying out of the cockpit, he was dead. And we walked by that and we got to a sunken road, and in the sunken road there was a cliff and there was holes in the cliff. And I don't know what company was in there but they were soldiers in these holes. And the officer was there and we come up and we says, well I remember asking, I says, "Where's that bloody church we gotta go to?" And the guy pointed, he says, "Way across the valley there" and he says, "I hope you make it." So I said to the Corporal, "How are we going to go Vic?" and he says, "Well, we'll take the low ground. We'll go through these olive trees." So we started out and we come to a great big building and there was straw on the floor and I picked up a little dictionary, one of them tiny ones, it had Russian and German in it. And I knew then they had Russian soldiers with them, ‘cause why was a Russian dictionary there? So anyway, it smelt of Germans, like Germans had just vacated it, they did have a smell, there's no kidding. Maybe they didn't bath like us for a long time. But anyway, I noticed this highway up here and I said to Vic then, when we were ready to go, it was just about eight o'clock in the morning, hot, really hot, about the 21st of September. And he says, "Well, we'll take the low ground and go that way." And I says, "Well, can I get up there on the highway and go down the highway?" He says "Okay." Well I, well I climbed up, it was about a ten foot bank, cactus, and I got through the cactus and I got up on top. When I got up on top there, boy it was quiet. And I walked down the road a little ways and I look and here on the side of me, there was a whole bunch of Germans walking around with rifles and they were feeding them, they were starting to feed them. And there was two Red Cross trucks right there. And this one German was just going to get his food, I was that close. He held out his mess tin and he looked and he seen me and I waved at him like this and he waved back and I kept going down the road. And I watched him get his food dumped in his mess tin. So I walked down the road a ways and out of the bush came a German officer on a stretcher and a sergeant behind and they had a badly wounded guy on there, he had a head wound, you know, blood coming out, like, a stained bandage. And they set the stretcher down from about there to where your camera is and the officer looked at me and I looked at him and I pointed down at the German and I said in German, "He's really badly wounded, isn't he?" And this guy's looking at me funny and he said, "Yeah, he really is."And I says, "Well, you take him back to where the other German soldiers are." And he says, "Yeah, we're doing that."

Mr. Lenko was among five men chosen to carry a supply of ammunition to soldiers engaging the Germans across a valley. It's a harrowing experience for him when he separates from the rest of the group on the way to the site of the fighting.

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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