Heroes: the Canadian Army
Perth Regiment of Canada, 11th Infantry Brigade
of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division
Liberator of marketable goods
It was our first tour of duty on the winter front stretching about 11 miles southwestwards from Ortona on the coast to Orsogna, and I was already beginning to show signs of being the irrepressible looter or liberator of marketable goods. My first search for souvenirs, as I liked to call my 'finds', however, was not successful. In fact I was lucky I didn't get myself killed or at least seriously injured.
I was prowling through the area around the house we took over from the GGHGs, on the lookout for something of value, be it civilian goods or enemy weapons and equipment. I spotted this closed-off opening at the back of the house directly above a lean-to, and knew it had to be the entrance to the attic. I climbed up on the lean-too and quickly pried the panel off covering the opening. Inside I waited a minute or two for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. Then I began my hunt, stepping very carefully from joist to joist, a good foot wider than the usual standard, my eyes peering into the darkness for something of value. As I reached the front of the house, my foot missed a joist and came down hard between. The next thing I knew, I went crashing through and landed flat on my back on a table amidst cascading debris of plaster and wood. Around the table were four guys frøm my platoon hard at it playing euchre. They fell over backwards in fright and surprise as I thundered down.
And so, there I was, lying spread-eagled on my back, groaning from pain, thinking I might be dying, expecting the boys to rush to my aid. Instead, they just stood there cursing me roundly for having scared the bejeezuz out of them and worst of all, for breaking up their game. At first I thought for sure my back was broken. I guess I must have been in tip-top condition because I didn't even end up with a bruise. But my search for loot ended for the day -- only for a day. My insatiable need for scouring of the battlefields for whatever goodies I might come up with overcame any thoughts of getting hurt or even blowing myself up on a mine or a booby -trap. And there were many such scourings I had gone on,throughout the campaign. That I managed to come through all the battles, along with these extra-curricular activities alive and kicking has tø be a miracle.
Original Story from messages received on 22 June 2002.
Story originally submitted on: 23 June 2002.
The story above, Liberator of marketable goods, was written and contributed by Mr. Stan Scislowski, who served with the Perth Regiment of Canada, 11th Infantry Brigade of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division. The moving story is a part of his published work entitled: Not All of Us Were Brave which was published by Dundurn Press.
Would you care to read more tales of World War II written by Mr. Stan Scislowski? His work is featured on a website devoted to the Perth Regiment of Canada. Check out this very interesting website and while you are there look at Stan's Corner .
We at World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words wish to offer our profound "Thanks" for the excellent material contributed by Mr. Stan Scislowski.
September 5, 2002.
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