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Taking a Hit for the New Guy

Heroes Remember

Taking a Hit for the New Guy

We got this reinforcement, it was raining out and I had, been there about two or three days we were in a holding position and this young fellow came in and he was, this is the front lines now, and he was asking me "Anybody getting killed up here?" , you know he was, he was very nervous. And I looked back behind him and I seen a mule train coming with our supplies and I knew the Germans were looking at them. So I said to him, I said "Look, if we don't get out of here, you'll find out shortly." And I no sooner got the words out of my mouth then I got hit, right straight through my knee joint. Right through the knee joint. And I guess every time that fellow saw a mule after that he must have got scared. But that's the you know, they didn't, he didn't know and I had more, I didn't have sense enough, I was telling him, you know, to come into my dugout until he could get one for himself the next day, or dig one in the side of the bank eh? And it was my stupidity that I, I knew when I'd seen the, I should have moved, but I was waiting for him and... There was a, Ghurkha Indian got, he didn't get hit with me, but I was watching him, he, one of the mules, the piece of shrapnel that got me, cut the ankle off of the mule and I think the Indian, they loved their mules eh? So I think he bent down and touched it and when he, he touched it, the mule kicked him, and when he stood up the mule give it to him again eh and he went down and he didn't get up the second time. So he was on the stretcher going, we were on the back and we had two, a jeep could take two stretchers. So we had to come back about ten miles and we were on the back, two stretchers on the back of a jeep. It was pretty rough, but you know we were happy to get out of there. And, you know, when I got in there, I suppose you know our nurses and doctors, they, they, my God they worked hard because there were, a lot of wounded in there. And my wound wasn't looked at from, I got hit about four o'clock and it wasn't looked at ‘till about nine or ten o'clock that night. And you're supposed to release the artery every fifteen minutes. So when I went in, and they looked at my leg, and they went and they got some kind of a heater and put it under my, put me on the two chairs and they had the heater going and every once in a while they came in with a scissor and tried the bottom of my foot. And about five o'clock in the morning he came in and I felt it. He said, the doctor said to me "We said we were just going to take your leg off." So, when I went in I met one stretcher coming out and me going in and when I went in the nurse was asleep. She fell asleep, dead tired eh. And she said and she looked at me and she said "Thank God you're the last one." So they worked hard, they worked hard. It was, it was great, it was great for me because I was sent back to England, I was in the hospital there for seven months on white sheets, the nurses looking after ya, it was great.

While trying to comfort a nervous reinforcement soldier, Mr. McInnis took a bullet that landed him in bed for seven months! He tells us how.

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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