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Dangerous Front Line Night Patrols

Heroes Remember

Dangerous Front Line Night Patrols

What actually happened is we started doing patrol work in preparation for the Ebson (sp.) Campaign, which is a British Campaign. Montgomery was preparing for a potential breakout with the British, the 15th Scottish Division, things like this. So we were doing the patrol work to feel out the German positions We were involved, the four of us were involved to go out one night, there was Bill Wynne, he was a corporal, and there was myself and two other fellas, I can’t recall who they are now. But the three of us come we had our army boots on, Bill had his running shoes on, you know. He said, “What the hell you guys doing with boots on?” That’s all we got, you know. He wasn’t very happy about it, you know, because we went out into the other guys territory. So we went out, and we weren’t supposed to come back in til 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning when our comrades would know that we’re coming in about that time. So we went out maybe well over a thousand yards and then we start coming across square slit trenches and we knew they weren’t ours, and then someway or another we come across a clover patch or a wheat field. Someone ran through the field, so we all dropped, and then we listened, and we could hear movement up forward, so Bill advised that we stay put, and we’ve determined their positions are very close to where we are now, without putting ourselves really out on a limb, because we were well out there then. So we come back in the early hours of the morning and we were challenged with the password “Ham” and our response was “Eggs” you know, something like this, because you always had a, an opposite word to, and they said, “Well be careful of the mines that we’ve put in the road.” So you could spot them, silhouette them out and we crawled back. And anyways, I got back to my slit trench and I, lay in the top, there, and it started to rain, but as I was oblivious to the rain, the guys covered me over with a ground sheet and I just lay there, I was just exhausted, you know. So, but, next night, another patrol went out on the right side and they got as far as hearing the Germans lift the safety catch and opened up and they’re lying behind a dead cow and the bullets are hitting the dead cow, and then, when you are lying out in the field, you’ve got no bearing of where the hell you are, so they had to lay there half the night and wait until you could see the silhouette of what remained of the church in Norrey before they could crawl back safely.

Mr. Ross gives a remarkable account of night patrols on the front lines.

Joseph William Ross

Mr. Ross was born in Montreal on February 15, 1925. His father served during the First World War and was seriously wounded at the second battle at Ypres. When Canada declared war on Germany in September, 1939, Mr. Ross was only 14 years old, working as an office boy for six dollars a week. Later, he worked as an apprentice fitter in the aircraft division of Vickers, near Montreal. Mr. Ross enlisted in the Army on his 18th birthday in 1943. After training in Quebec and Nova Scotia, he was sent as part of the reinforcement troops to England where he was assigned to ‘C’ Company of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. His overseas action included landing at Juno Beach on D-Day, and serving throughout both Normandy and Northwest Europe (Belgium and Holland). During an encounter with German forces, Mr. Ross sustained injuries from flying shrapnel.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Joseph William Ross
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Battle of Normandy
Queen's Own Rifles of Canada

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