On this day we were to lose a lot of men killed and wounded.
One of these, whom I have not mentioned at all, was Cpl Bragg, Etroop cook, who was a brave man, and lost his life at the age of 27 this day. When preparing meals he was struck with a shell exploding near his work area. How Bragg was working in such an exposed area we will never know. First of all he had a duty and could not just up and leave when the shells came in. He used a type of burner that roared away drowning out of any other noise.
Now I mentioned that the BCD troopers when they came up in their tanks were not too kind in their remarks to our gunners, The usual ten mile sniper stuff and digging holes like gophers. Well here is the sad part. When Etroop took this shelling and Johnny Peltier was killed and both legs blown off, one of Johnny's legs flew through the air hitting a BCD tank. These new troopers saw what a shell could do to the human body and needed no ordering to dig well and deep then drive their tank over the trench for the extra protection. So Johnny in his passing may have saved other lives as they went into battle.
The next day, 22 May, had Etroop getting another shelling. This time killing Jock Warner and wounding a few more. Colonel Armstrong decided to move Etroop to the left of RHQ as the position they were in was becoming too dangerous and being a cross road and tanks and other transport moving through drew a lot of shell fire. I may be wrong but I seem to remember that spare personnel from RHQ helped the crews of Etroop dig new gun pits and when the new pits were completed ETroop went out of action, brought up their gun tractors, moved in a matter of minutes and started to fire as targets were called on to be engaged.
After this move I went along the road to visit with my old Troop. As I was talking to Sgt Bill Stickney and crew, fire orders came in so action stations and the crew commenced firing. Bill said Gordie we do not need any help so move over to one side. I did this and as Bill was standing up giving fire orders the German guns started to fire in response. The next thing was exploding shells hitting the parapet and raining clods of earth down on Bill and his crew and myself. Now Bill's crew or any of the other guns in the troop never went to ground but fired every shell as ordered. A great display of discipline under a very trying moment or so. Soon the shelling stopped and I wandered back to RhQ house.
There Colonel Armstrong was pacing back and forth muttering we have to get a way to move up closer to get a better shot at the enemy and help our chaps with closer support. I was able to get a word in to the Colonel saying I had just been at the guns and what a display of courage they had exhibited and I'm sure they would appreciate a visit from you to tell them so. Without a word, out the door he went and started to walk towards the guns. Again the German guns opened up. Sgt Bill Stickney told me later of the Colonel's visit saying Gordie keep the Colonel in RHQ as when he came toward us he was swinging his horse tail switch pointing out what a poor gunner the Germans were as each shot fell. Stickney said Gordie we had to stand and talk to the Colonel when the shells were falling, and that so and so never ducked or went to cover.
I thought I did the right thing but Bill, I could not win them all!