The alligator amphibious tanks took me back

 – April 2005
Mr Stan Muir - WWII Veteran
North Shore Regiment, 8th Brigade, 3rd division

Liberator of the Netherlands

Well I tell you, I fought all along the coast, from France, to Belgium, and the last stop was in Holland in Nijmegen.  We held the front there in Nijmegen, about quarter of a mile from the German front.  That was 1944 and 1945.  I was in the North Shore Regiment, I was in the infantry.   That was the 8th Brigade and 3rd Division. I’ll tell you a good story, I got all tanked up one time on army rum.  They gave us a break on the front, we were out on a rest, out of Nijmegen, I was mooching around, and I found the rum, so we brought it up to the room, and the old colonel, he was very strict on drinking.  The old colonel heard about it, so when we landed up at the old house near the Nijmegen front, the sergeant comes over to me, and he says to me ; “Stan, you got to go on daylight patrol.” I says “Hey man, you must be nuts!” He went away, then he came back with a lieutenant and he says, “This order’s right  from the colonel.” “Ah,” I said, “If this order’s from the colonel, I guess I’ll have to go.” And the only way he reprimanded me was sending me on the daylight patrol where I got fired on, that was 2 or 3 weeks later.  So one day at about noon hour, we took off across between the Canadian and German lines, broad daylight and I got fired on, and I had to draw fire from the Germans, so we knew how prepared they were I guess.  Well, it snowed that night, and the following night, they painted the Bren-gun carriers all white, and they made the drive into Germany. There was a sudden drive.  That was it for that time…. They broke through the line, and a few boys got wounded, they were just testing the lines. I left Canada in 1940.  I landed in Liverpool, England.  I was a private, I laddered up as a lance-corporal, I laddered up as a corporal, and I laddered up as a sergeant at the end.   Non commission officer….
Being in the infantry, I never ran into too many Dutch people, it was just on and off. Couldn’t get into a conversation with them, the infantry were always on the move. We landed in Nijmegen in the beginning of December, we had a Christmas party there.
Well, we had enough of a Christmas party.  They didn’t give us anything drinking-wise, the old colonel was right off of that stuff, he was very strict. I had three guys with me, four guys with me, I had to take a 2 inch mortar and smoke bombs, to get back.  When I got fired on, I drove into a shell-hole, fired a few smoke bombs, and got out of there.  We dove into the first hole we could see.  Everything happened so fast.  We laying in that shell-hole, I asked the boys, “Which one of you guys want to go first,” they said to me “You go first.” So I took the chance, and we all got back, I didn’t get hurt.  That was the 8th of February. I got wounded in Germany, just about near the Reichswald.  We made the drive in there that night.  The British had the idea of having a searchlight up into the clouds, which would show the enemy, but it worked the opposite way.  When I got out, went up to make a drive over the dyke, I was right in the open, so the German right in front of me, that’s when I got shot.  It had put me out in plain view. I saw the flash of the gun right in front of me.  The alligator amphibious tanks took me back out across the water.  The main camp was just outside the German border, inside Nijmegen.
That was the last time I got shot.  The first time I got shrapnel on D-day, at about 6 o’clock in the morning.  I recovered from that, and they took me back to England, till July, and I went up before the colonel, and he said,  “Muir, I’m going to send you back home.”  The NCO were sent home to train the boys, and he says, “I’m sending you back home to Normandy!” I was in hospital in Brussels for a while, and then they shipped me to England, and I was there till after the Armstice. It was just an ordinary landing, I guess.  As a matter of fact, my wife met me at the ship. I was married while I was in England.  She went to Canada with one boy.  She stayed at my mother and father’s place.  
I arrived at Halifax, and then to Chatham, New Brunswick.


I got my logbook right here and I got several stories

Interview  – April 2005
Mr. Bill Biffonette - WWII Veteran
Flying Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force

During the war I was in the R.C.A.F., I was a navigator, a flying officer. I was on an R.A.F. squadron, with 5 Englishmen and a Scotsman in the crew. I was in166th Squadron at Curmington, just south of Hull. We’d fly all over Holland, my very first mission, I did my first trip on the night of D-day, June 6th 1944, and I did my 30th trip August 29th, bombing Stetten. I got my logbook right here. I got several stories.
There was one spot, a pilot wore his parachute, it was a sea-pack, and he just sat in it, and it sat right into the seat. The rest of the crew, we all had a harness that we wore, there were 2 big clips on the front and we had our seat on our parachute, so we just had to strap it on. This pad that we wore, it had 2 pads over your shoulders into a central connection, and there was 2 straps that came up through your legs, into it, and then there was one on each corner that went through those last 2 straps, and when you tightened those up, they really squeezed your nuts.  So we were getting to land or we were ready to go, we had the last 2 up.  This particular briefing, it was daylight trip and the wing-commander that was giving the briefing lectured us very sternly, saying “Two man of you chaps are not doing up the last 2 straps.  You’ll have an emergency where you have to bail out, strap on the parachute, and dive out without doing the straps, you’re parting company and the whole works!” So this particular day I did them up. As a navigator, on a bombing run I’d stand right behind the pilot, it was a daylight trip. There was flack all around us, and I can still see it to this day, there was a bush in the flack right outside the starboard wing, and all of a sudden I’m hit, right in the groin, just about…and I sort of slipped back on my seat, looking for blood, and I don’t see any, and there’s a piece of flack, about the size of the end of my thumb, right there in the harness that I’d done up.  I was pretty lucky. There was another time, at the end of daylight, we were hit by flack pretty good, but we made it,  and we were just on final approach coming in for a landing and the flight engineer says “Look out the window,” and there was a big flat tyre flapping in the breeze. We got hit pretty regularly, but this particular time the starboard wheel was shot, and you couldn’t land on it.  In England there were 3 separate emergency dromes there, Woodbridge was the famous one, it was in the south of England, there was one in the midlands, Manston, and there was one in the north of England, Carnaby. We flew to Carnaby, we told them what the problem was, they said that we had 2 choices, that we could bring it up with the wheels up and just belly it in, or we could try and land it on the left wheel and tail-wheel. 
My pilot says “We’re not going to belly it in, we’re going to try it the other way… everybody in crash position!” I can still remember, I was sitting there on the floor with my back against the main wing-spar, the wireless operator was on one side, and his intercom was plugged in, because it reached his table, and the mid-upper was on the other side, and he could reach, but my intercom couldn’t reach, so I didn’t know what was happening.  But he just…, that port wing was only a few feet of the ground, but he just greased that landing like a bicycle.