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Heroes Remember

We went to a battle or to a war at least I should say very poorly equipped. The tunics we had were high collared, seven buttons, seven small buttons but they were they looked neat and tidy but they weren't practical and they weren't warm enough. The Ross rifle was a beautiful rifle, it was a rifle that was too finely machined to take British ammunition, in other words, the cases after you fired about five shots it got so hot that as you know steel shrinks and it shrunk on the cases, couldn't get the bolts open. Men were using their boots, jabbing trying to get that bolt open and they couldn't. The boots, well Sam Hughes got beautiful brown boots, oh they were lovely. They were the envy of all the other but on Salisbury Plain after the continual rain, rain, rain, the damn things fell apart. The soles fell off them and some of the boys swear to God that they were made out of cardboard inside. Well, that was no good, the equipment we had was Boer war equipment, all of our equipment, what we called was part leather. Well, the Brits had, we had to get the equipment to, then the wet equipment, but all that, course at that time there were no steel helmets. That didn't come til 1916.

Mr. Henley discusses inadequacies of Canadian gear: tunics that weren't practical or warm, the Ross rifle which jammed after a few shots, and boots and leather belts which rotted in the wet conditions.

Roy Henley

Roy Henley was born in London, Ontario on September 29, 1898. After enlisting in Toronto in 1916 with the 166th Queens Own Rifles, he was discharged with suspected tuberculosis. Mr. Henley re-enlisted, sailed to England aboard the horse transport SS Welshman, and joined the Quebec Regiment. Mr. Henley's recollections are detailed, sometimes graphic and occasionally humorous. His experiences spanned many battles; the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Cambrai and Arras.

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Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Roy Henley
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War

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