75 years ago the country was free and as evacuees, we were living in someone elses house, and when they returned we had to move.
The Canadian Regiment de la Chaudierre had moved further up the Ijssel River and we were to move in a house that had been used by soldiers in that regiment. One problem. A grenade had made a hole in the bedroom ceiling. So Mother got a square tub and placed it under it. And I helped here dump it out of the window when it rained.
The weather at that time in May was nice but on our walks to town we passed a couple of Canadian graves and next to the Hotel next door were 4 German soldiers graves. I found out only a couple of years ago that those were 4 – 15 year old boys who they got drunk and then send them to attack the Canadians and the Sergeant who gave the order to fire almost felt bad, but he had no choice. He mentioned the fact at a ceremony in the Groesbeek War cemetery. Later that summer they exhumed the bodies and I still remember the smell of death that hung under the canopy of the beach trees for days.
There was no school until September 1946. So as boy I scrounged stuff from trenches and in the bush around our place. I had a stash of bullets in our garage and when I found a rifle, my buddy Ed’s brother who was a blacksmith picked it up in a stovepipe and I got cigarettes for my Dad. A convoy of small Gasoline tankers usually stopped on our road and made tea on a can of gasoline and sometimes cooked powdered eggs and we always got some.
Then I decided to go to work and became a farmers helper and the farmer liked my work but always said “You work good, but eat better.” I was 14 and some of the soldiers were only 4 or 5 years older. But I DO REMEMBER THEM.
Five ladies decided to go out dancing at a ball and did not know what to wear. So one said that they should buy a dress that matched their husbands hair. So they bought a grey, a red, a brown and a black dress. But the fifth one said, “My husband is BALD so do I have to go nude?”
To all our Comrades sick at home, in the hospital or nursing homes you are in our thoughts and prayers and we wish you well.
Nick Veldt has been a long-time Legion Member, and writes a weekly column about the happenings at Branch 429, Wawa.