70. We all knew better
The spring at the foot of the mountain is where RHQ had our kitchen. What was better than a fountain of pure clear water, and a sheltered area up against the mountain. The only thing was the long walk from the village to the kitchen three times a day. Well we were pretty soft compared to the women packing the water so it was not long that we could climb up and down for meals taking on mountain goat abilities.
Around our kitchen at meal times the civilian children would gather with pails or pots to garner any food that we would throw away. Can you imagine sitting down on the ground to eat your meal and all around you were, soft browned eyed children dressed mighty poorly watching with those big eyes every mouthful you ate? If really hungry, you would turn your back and eat your meal but you could feel those little kids' eyes sort of going through your heart. Many the times I, along with some of the other fellows, dumped our food into their containers as we did not have the heart to eat very much of our food. Now the children usually had two containers each, one for our leftover tea and the other for leftover food. Now I could never understand why some of the fellows [mean spirited ] would mix their tea with meat potatoes mutton or whatever, and dump the damndest mixture in the child's bucket. I then hoped they would be as hungry as those children and their parents and have some lout do what they did. That thankfully was only the odd person that did that, The rest were kind hearted and would give the children a cigarette for Poppa, a chocolate bar, or a bar of soap or whatever. The Canadians as a whole were mighty decent fellows and I thought our chaps rated with the best.
This is the position that Jim Sinclair and the survey section came by a terrific MG 42 machine gun. This was a German weapon and fired about 800 rounds per minute or more. We had probably hundreds of feet of German ammunition which came in long belts. We would clip about ten or more feet of ammunition together and proceed to blast away at stumps or German ammunition boxes.
Going up into the hills where the Free French had fought we came upon many caves, or dugouts plus a few dead Germans. There was lots of the enemy equipment laying around, tons of mortar shells, rifle grenades, personal stuff just left there. Along came a couple of Westminster Regt chaps with a German rifle scope mounted. They started to explode the German rifle grenades with rifle shots. While Sinclair, Watson and I, knowing better piled up great piles of mortar shells and German potato masher grenades. Someone set a grenade in the pile of mortar shells to explode the pile but the grenade was a dud. Jim Sinclair lay down on a rise and lined up on this pile of ammunition with the machine gun. I was standing in the open and said WHOA wait till we get undercover. I squeezed behind a stunted oak tree which was about 8 inches in diameter. Jim let fly a great burst of machine gun fire and the pile of ammunition exploded! Shrapnel thudding into my little tree and branches and leaves falling on me. Jim out in the open had the blast go over him. Someone looked out for us as no one was hurt . That was a very stupid stunt. We all knew better too.
Jim Sinclair and John Wiebe and a few more of the survey party had to return to this mountain top and bury the German dead the next day. These dead Germans had been killed quite some time before and had not been buried.
Jim Sinclair was to leave for officer training and John Wiebe became survey Sgt within the next day or so. Jim Sinclair survived the war and after being Commissioned served the last part of the war as an officer in the PPCLI in Holland.