Boys in “C” Squadron Hit
the Dirt Fast When Bombing
Started on Normandy Beach
Commanding “C” Squadron, Elgin Regiment
Just prior to the invasion, “C” Squadron of the Elgins was stationed at Gosport on the southern coast of England. The men had been warned of air raids and told to dig slit trenches, as learned in previous training. But they had not done so. The second night the squadron was there, the German Air Force carried out a heavy raid on Portsmouth and Gosport and several bombs were dropped nearby. Don McLachlin, Charlie Raven and I went to get into our slit trench but found it was already occupied. The next morning there was dirt flying in all directions as the men dug deep into old Mother Earth.
There were many wrecked German and Canadian vehicles in the ditches. Some German vehicles soon appeared in the squadron area but army orders made it taboo to drive them because so many break-downs held up traffic. Then jeep parts arrived after every trip made by any of the above-mentioned mechanics. First, a chassis, then a wheel, then another wheel next a windshield, a radiator, a top, etc.- all scrounged from knocked-out vehicles along the roads.
This pile of junk had to be toted along from place to place when we moved, hidden in the trucks. When the wheels were on, it was towed. Finally the jeep was completely assembled and given a coat of paint, including the squadron signs.
The officers were watching the progress of the work with interest. This changed to consternation as later it was learned that the new jeep bore the same number as one of the squadron jeeps and indents for parts had been made out and signed by an officer.