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Surviving The Gas

Heroes Remember

Interviewer: Did you, were you affected by the gas where they let the gas? I was and it was on the 23rd day of April in 1915, I remember it well. Interviewer: Oh dear. It killed a lot of people, it didn't kill me. My training as a boy scout for the forest fire, you got a blanket around your head, a damp blanket. Interviewer: Oh that's what you did eh? (Yeah) Good. And you were actually, could you actually see the enemy from your trenches? Were you close to the enemy line? Oh, they came to see us. (Did they?) It was an attack. We had to defend Canada against the Germans and they were coming in after the gas evaporated and they apparently had been told that nothing possibly could live it. And they came with the rifles slung over their shoulder, smoking cigarettes and talking to each other. (Really?) And then they got near us, the people who were, the soldiers were over here were from the north of Africa. Interviewer: Yeah, oh, Algeria . . . And they ran, they didn't do anything they just ran. So we had to throw our line around on a forty-five degree and we had to get the Germans as they came down. Interviewer: Did you succeed? (What?) Did you succeed? Oh yes, they were very much upset about it. They ran back.

Mr. Green recalls being gassed by the Germans while at the Front Lines of Northern France. He describes how the German soldiers were quite surprised to find any survivors let alone enough left for defence.

George Leonard Green

Mr. Green was born in Chester, England, in 1895, and, along with the rest of his family, moved to Winnipeg at a young age. Before the war, Mr. Green was in charge of the stationary department at the Great West Life Insurance Company. After joining the 90th Winnipeg Rifles he was sent to Valcartier, Quebec, for basic training. After the completion of basic training, his unit was shipped overseas - they arrived in England on October 12, 1914, as a part of Canada's Expeditionary Force and were shipped out to Northern France soon after. Mr. Green spent two full years at the front lines of Northern France and Belgium - it was rare that anyone would spend that long at the front, let alone survive. After taking sick, he was shipped back to a hospital in England. After he recovered, since he had already spent so much time at the front, he was stationed to a staging camp, teaching Women's Army Corps members to drive. After completing training, he was assigned to Headquarters in London where he stayed until the war ended.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
George Leonard Green
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
Northern France
90th Winnipeg Rifles

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