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Bombing London

Heroes Remember

I've never, the bombers were banging London, bad, eh. Oh God it was, but we didn't feel it at the time, they used to come at night. So anyway we were there, and boy, oh boy, they started pounding, "bang, bang". And the first time she hit was way down the street, blew the whole street I think and the explosion and that and the two of us dived, dived on the floor eh, underneath the sink, two of us underneath the sink and there was my aunt up walking around, you know, "Holy Christ,". I was yelling to her to get down but she was so used to it, you know she was just as calm as anything and we felt some foolish, the two of us underneath the sink, crowded down there, yeah. So that was my first impression and I tell you now I've always, always looked back on it, eh. I've never seen violence in her, growing up and that, not like that anyway, you might see a little fight or something but that it was, it was scary. You know, I was just probably wondering to myself, "Well if I did that, crowd under the sink and she up there walking around, what the hell am I going to do when I get there?" You know, "What kind of a soldier am I gonna, gonna be?" But it was, I guess you just got into it, you got a little, you just and you learnt, you learnt in a hurry, I'll tell you that. How to run, jump or lie down, or you gotta duck or anything else, you learnt all of it in a hurry because after a while you got the, the sounds eh. The sounds of the shells and that, you knew them, which was, bigger ones, smaller ones you know you got to know it and it helped you to stay alive, eh. When to duck or jump or we knew when one was coming near so forth and so on, eh, but it took a while to get used to it, eh. Wouldn't take chances, eh. Any, when you're young you would be taking chances I guess but after a while you just, you did your job and you weren't doing anything out of the ordinary so you tried to, like I say you learnt how to duck, you learn how to jump or anything but and you learnt to look and see if you got to move up someplace in the lines you really took the time to survey it and find out what the hell it was all about but any other time you'd probably run up the road or run into buildings or something. But once these, a lot of these buildings Jerry had these small mines, shoe mines and that, eh, so you had to learn, eh. Cause a lot of fellows just, were killed that way that they, they didn't hesitate and they weren't told probably too that this was, there could be a dangerous building or something, eh. Oh yeah. But you did it, that's the way you went

Mr. Colbourne recalls his first taste of war upon arriving in London when it was under heavy bombing. He describes how he and his buddy ran and hid under a table while his aunt kept walking around as if it was nothing.

Gerald Colbourne

Mr. Colbourne was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, in 1924 but at the age of one his family moved to Corner Brook, Newfoundland, so his father could work in the mills. Mr. Colbourne enjoyed growing up in Corner Brook where he went to school and played hockey and basketball. When not in school he enjoyed fishing and hunting. In March 1944, he joined the Infantry branch of the Army and was sent overseas a short time later. He arrived in London for his first look at war and then moved on to join his regiment in Italy and worked from Italy through to Holland and Germany until the war ended.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Gerald Colbourne
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Ontario Regiment
Tank Driver

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