The Canadian Corps were scattered in rest areas out of action to re-group, retrain, and hopefully to get replacements in men and equipment. This period was not all that it was supposed to be as dysentry was rampant throughout all units. This caused some great concern as men were so badly hit with this, and were carted off to hospital, and some died from this type of malady. At this time I was duty sergeant at Regimental Head Quarters. The regimental Sergeant major and I shared a tent. The RSM, Jim Murray, had a violent attack of dysentry and day after day he was getting more dehydrated, not eating, and unable to keep anything down at either end, passing blood, and in all a extremely sick man. I had our MO Capt Strashin come and check the RSM. His comments were to evacuate the RSM to a hospital. The RSM, Jim Murray, was a proud man and did not want to leave the regiment and give in to his sickness.
As the days past I was extremely worried that Jim Murray was going to die in the tent near me. Here is how they evacuated the RSM. That does not sound right, but something had to be done. One evening Jim Murray was so weak he could barely speak or take a drink of water that I had brought to him. In fact he was at death's door and I knew it.
I made up my mind that he would have to be taken out for hospital care. I went over to our aid post and saw Bombadier Joe Deshane who was the senior medic around at the time Doc Strashin was at 16 General doing surgery. l/Sgt Sharpen was away sick, so here is the conversation I had with Deshane.
"Bombadier, the RSM must be taken to a hospital immediately as he is dying. Joe you are older than I but I out rank you. Get your driver to come to the rear of our tent and when you talk to the RSM your driver and I will load the RSM, bed and all, into the truck".
The truck backed up to the tent and Bdr Deshane spoke to the RSM and said we were taking him to hospital. The RSM weakly clutched Deshanes arm and half crying whispered, no Bombadier. Deshane looked like he was not going to go through with this so I said now into the truck and RSM bed and his kit were loaded and driven off. When they arrived at the causality clearing station the doctor remarked how could this man have been left in this state for so long?
The doctor then summoned a priest to give the RSM his last rites. Jim Murray was diagnosed with severe dehydration peronitis and at death's door. The sequel was the RSM recovered but never to the form he once was. Jim Murray lived up to about ten years ago. Jim never returned to action. I did what I had to do and removing the RSM was the better alternative and having him die within a couple of feet from my bed roll. Oh yes, Bdr Joe Deshane lived until his 95th year and was hit with a car while crossing a street a couple of years ago. Our Medical Officer Capt Strashin lived in Toronto and has a very large medical clinic there. Since writing this Capt Joe Strashin passed away in June 2004, at 87 an outstanding medical officer who all in the regiment respected. RIP old friend ,