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Infestation of Bed Bugs and Fleas

Heroes Remember

Infestation of Bed Bugs and Fleas

There was bed bugs, fleas, lice and rats. The bed bugs, it was just infested with bed bugs. At night after the lights went out, it'd be like an army walking across the ceiling and they drop and they burn, you know, where they bite ya, they burn, bed bugs. And the fleas would get right inside your clothes. And even though you slept with your army clothes on, you know, you slept with everything on but your boots because it was too cold, otherwise you only had the one blanket. But anyway, the soup, there was two, four, three types of soup. The cabbage which was terrible, full of worms and sand, you know, they cook the worms right with it. These worms would be like little pieces of twisted, like a little tree branch, little piece of a branch, they would dry it up. And then there was the turnip soup which was little squares that was floating on the top of greasy water, just greasy water. And then there was the bed board soup which was made out of sawdust. Well I don't know what else was the ingredient but basically it was sawdust. There was sawdust in their military bread as well, potato flour and sawdust in the German black bread. And then mint tea which you couldn't drink, this was mint tea, not black tea like we have, horrible stuff. And you'd get about three potatoes a day, one would always be rotten and an eighth of a loaf of bread, an eighth of a loaf of a German military black loaf of bread. So that was your day's ration. You didn't sit down to a table and eat it with dishes, you got it handed to you and you sat on the floor.

Mr. Poolton describes the severe conditions of living quarters and the three types of soup they were given to eat.

John (Jack) Poolton

John (Jack) Abernethy Poolton was born in Toronto, Ontario on January 9, 1918. He was one of seven children. His father farmed 100 acres near Kapuskasing, Ontario. Mr. Poolton enlisted in the Royal Regiment of Canada and provides vivid, clear details of the allied landing at Dieppe, France on August 19, 1942.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John (Jack) Poolton
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal Regiment of Canada

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