Oil, water, and blood were over everything.
Capt. Laurence Guy Alexander, Medical Officer for the 14th
Army Tank Battalion, Calgary Regiment (Calgary Tanks).
Our boat was now hopeless, all the
Naval crew were either killed or blown overboard and we
floated sideways into the beach, receiving broadsides from
all the shore guns. Machine gun bullets were beating a
constant tatoo on the boat.
Men were blown
overboard, many of whom I had just finished bandaging, when
I turned back I found they had been killed, and nearly all
were blown completely off the ship. "We were a complete
derelict... the smoke stack and bridge of our boat was blown
away, the hull was riddled with holes large and small
thirty-three holes were registered by direct hits from large
guns and I have no idea how many were there from small
ones. "Oil, water, and blood were over everything."
The Invasion of Sicily, July 1943: July 13 Leave Malta
behind on July 12 and the following morning came in sight of
the coast of Sicily. Hundreds and hundreds of vessels, each
crowded with troops. Made a good landing on the front street
of Syracusa at 11 p.m. Fritz gave us a good pounding from
the air. Move south by Convoy to Casabelli and laager in a
They dive bombed us again during the night. July 14
Expect to move up on forward position and go into action
tomorrow. Have never seen it so hot before in my life. July
15 Troops coming ashore by the thousands. Indian Ghurkhas and Ethiopians both present. July 16
Thousands of troops still landing and the Beaches are
crowded. More and more ships arriving. July 25 Have just
received a very severe reprimand from Mike for wearing socks
with holes in them
Many happy returns to myself on my 45th
birthday. Aug. 8 Made a statement that I had never seen
the morale of the Unit as low a statement that is true.
The Col. Did not believe me and instead of investigating, as
he should fired me from the Unit. I went before the
Brigadier who sent me to Field Ambulance for a month then
to be returned to the Unit.
Major Laurence Guy Alexander, a Calgary doctor and
commanding officer of the 6th Canadian Field Dressing
Station (also served with the Calgary Tanks), based in
Zeelst, (Veldhoven) Holland (Arrived Nov. 18, 1944) Nov.
20/44 I now have the best billet I have ever had. Dec.
6/44 Santa Claus day. I am having Santa Claus with the
family tonight. We have Xmas parcels piled all over the room
and Joep and Johnnie (children of the Wilbers family) are in
the room busily wrapping parcels. I got things for each of
them in Antwerp and am just as excited as they are. This is
a wonderful place I am in a real home away from home
is the first real touch of home life I have had since
leaving home and I love it. Dec. 25/44
had a beautiful
Xmas dinner and spent another evening dancing. It was a
wonderful Xmas we can never be too appreciative of the
Dutch they are grand. Jan. 1/45 At 9:30 a.m. a terrific
German air attack on the Eindhoven airport. The windows in
our buldings were broken and I believe 40 German planes took
part in the attack. About 45 of our planes were destroyed on
the ground and there were several killed and wounded. I have
never seen so many German aircraft in the skies at one time
since Dieppe. May 8/45 V-Day A beautiful day, but everything
appears the same only no aeroplanes, no guns all is
quiet, but still we cannot really believe that the war is
over and once more we can live as human beings.
From the journals of Capt.
The Invasion of Dieppe, Aug. 19, 1942.
As far as the eye could see, the sea was covered with ships of all
descriptions. We could see one near the shore which we took
to be our leading TLC (Tank Landing Craft). There was a
deafening roar over all, and smoke from firing guns and
smoke screens were making visibility difficult... As we
drew nearer the beach the second time, Germans could be seen
on the shores by the cliffs... we were caught in a terrific
hail of fire from shore batteries, field guns, and a
constant hail of machine gun fire and bursting shrapnel. The
wounded and the dead were everywhere. The fire grew worse
as we drew nearer the shore. We were called to our stations
the motors of our vehicles were again started, and when we
were within fifty yards of shore, all hell broke loose. The
call for stretcher bearers was heard in all directions.