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A Dangerous Moonlit Ride

Heroes Remember

A Dangerous Moonlit Ride

One night this Gotha Bomber, it was a bright moonlight night and the road was white and I was riding up there and you could hear this plane flying around and they took a few pot shots at me with a machine gun and nothing happened and I just kept on riding and I think they followed me right in to see where I was going. It was a bright moonlight night and the roads were all white and everything and they were throwing a shadow right across the road and they could see that shadow and I think they followed me right into the town and when I got there the plane was still flying around and I said to some guy. I got off the horse to deliver my bag and asked him, “Here, hold the horse while I listen,” and right then the bombs started coming down and they heard a noise behind me and the horse was following me down the stairs into a cellar. He wanted to be where I was. You know, a horse, a rider and a horse they get to be pals, you know. And I came out of there, I waited until the bombs were all over and I waited a few minutes and then I started down the road and I don't know whether they could spot me on the road again but anyway a shell landed in a ditch about fifteen feet in front of me and there was a limber wagon, that's just a front half of a wagon with two wheels and the team and everything coming towards me this way and the shell landed right beside them and I think somebody on that, one of these fellows was hit with it. Anyway, the team ran away and I was right in their way there, I nearly got run down by the team and then they put three or four more shells in there and then when they quit, I went on about my chores. These are the kind of things, you see, you couldn't say you were safe any place, anytime.

Mr. Burton describes a nocturnal courier mission during which he is followed and strafed by a Gotha bomber. The bomber follows him to his destination, dropping its bomb and as he seeks shelter in a basement, he's surprised to find his horse following him. The ride home is no less eventful, as he's shelled by the Germans.

Robert Burton

Robert Burton was born on February 21, 1896 in Dundas, Ontario. After public school, he was accepted into university which he attended from 1914 to 1916, in the Canadian Officer Training Corps. For a time, he worked at Massey, checking shrapnel shells. Despite being shortsighted, Mr. Burton was recruited into the 13th Brigade in Mar, 1916. In England, he joined the 5th Division, a reinforcement unit, and deployed to France with the 2nd Division as a sapper. Mr. Burton became a mounted courier at Courcelette, and had several interesting experiences in that capacity. He witnessed and was attacked by Gotha bombers at Arras, and was shelled at St.Pol. Mr. Burton also served in the trenches at Amiens. During the 2nd World War, he was a very successful engineering instructor at camp Petawawa, where he attained the rank of Major.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Robert Burton
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
2nd Division (Special Force)

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