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On To France-And Eventually The War's End

Heroes Remember


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On To France-And Eventually The War's End

We went through from Marseille down the Rouen Valley, through France. And as we were going along there, all this German equipment that was blown up. I guess they couldn't escape ‘cause the river is on one side, the mountain was on the other. So they bottled them up I understand, the air force did, and they done a hell of an executioner's job on that group. We come through and into Belgium and that was really nice, getting into where it was civilized. Interviewer: Tell me, Mr. Lenko, what was your reaction on leaving Italy? Were you happy to have it behind you? Well, yeah, we were kind of glad we were having a change. We were glad. ‘Cause we spent about 22 months there. Interviewer: And the fact that you were to join the rest of the Canadian Army in northwest Europe, what did that mean? Well, it meant we were together again. We were a group, we were back together. Yeah, into Belgium. Finally, we had to go into Holland and then there was some fighting there. We, I think we only lost about 16 men there. But it was odd. I was mostly around Barneveld, Apeldoorn, Amersfoort, and we got by the IJssel River. And that was about the last go, was across the IJssel, IJssel River. Interviewer: Were there any engagements with the enemy in Holland that were memorable to you? Oh yeah. Well, just that they were on one side of a canal and we'd be on the other. And mostly, Holland was in real sad shape, everything was stripped and people were starving, really, really starving. I was with the group that had to go to where the planes were landing to bring in food and I'd be by a German, the German was here, I'd be by him, I had my rifle, he had theirs. It was actually before the war was really over. And the Dutch people were with us to pick up the supplies. They had orange bands on them, we called them ‘orangees'. But they were the ones that were grabbing the food then. But it was finally, we got word that war was over. Interviewer: What was your reaction? We were pretty happy. Really happy. And then we had to move in land to, I forget the name of the towns, Harlingen, and areas like that because we had to start taking their weapons away and gathering them up and get them home.

The Italian Campaign is over and the Loyal Edmonton Regiment has moved into the French City of Marseilles.

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
Brigade Headquarters

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