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The Mortar Platoon in Action

Heroes Remember

The Mortar Platoon in Action

I was what they called the mortar platoon, in the, in the company. And, I was travelling by carrier, ‘course we had a driver, a sergeant, an officer, and myself. While I was driving it, when I was in the carrier, I was the gunner on the carrier and until we set up the, the three inch mortar. Well the Bren gun's a light machine gun, it fires thirty rounds. We have... it would fire thirty rounds at a time before you had to put, load, reload again. And it was a, it was a, it was one of the better guns. Well it would be used to probably soften up the enemy, we were good for a thousand yards, and it was like a small bomb. We could probably fire one a minute. And it was pretty devastating when it hit because it, it, there was a lot of shrapnel in it, come off of the ground for a hundred yards, comes about four feet off of the ground so it was, it was very, very effective.

As a member of the Mortar Platoon Mr. McInnis had to handle two weapons: the Bren gun and the three inch mortar. Here he tells us how and why they were used.

Alexander McInnis

Mr. McInnis was born in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, on September 7, 1919. His father was a section man for the CNR. He was the 3rd in a family of six (four brothers and one sister) of which his sister was the eldest. He joined the Cape Breton Highlanders without telling his parents when he was 20 years old. His four brothers also joined the forces. He started training in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, and then Victoria Park in Sydney until joining the West Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment. He went overseas May 12, 1940, and trained in Aldershot for three years. In 1943 he was sent by convoy to partake in the invasion of Sicily. After helping to free the town of Agira, he was sent across to southern Italy. After taking part in the Battle of Ortona he was wounded and ended up in the hospital in England for seven months. He then moved on to France, with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Division. After five more months of fighting in France and Holland where he helped in freeing the port of Antwerp, he was sent home to Canada.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Alexander McInnis
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
West Nova Scotia Highlanders
Three Inch Mortar Man

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