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Page 29 - Sam Glode: Travels of a Micmac

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/12/1 (525 reads)

drink all round and then take them back to camp. You've all had enough of this game for awhile." We weren't long getting that rum inside us and walking back to the camp, I tell you. We had a long rest before we were put to work again. The old tunnel was abandoned, and we were shifted to a new place well to the right. This time we dug a shaft 180 feet straight down before we began the tunnel towards the German lines. It was a careful job, so the Germans didn't catch on. There were other tunnelling companies doing the same, boring deep towards the Messines Ridge. We used to work 6 days in the tunnel and 4 days out at La Clyte for a rest. The whole job took about a year. We finished that tunnel some time in the early summer of 1917. We then worked for 20 days, carrying explosives in metal boxes that must have weighed about 50 pounds each. When that job was done we all got a short leave out to Saint Omer. We knew when the tunnels were to be blown. When the time came, we were all watching from the top of a little hill near La Clyte. At 2.30 in the morning there was a kind of thud. Then the ground shook to and fro like it was shivering. Then we saw flames shoot up high in the dark over the ridge. Then the guns opened up. Hundreds of guns. That was some noise, I tell you. Along towards daylight the infantry went o- ver no-man's-land and up the ridge. I guess they didn't find many Germans in any shape to fight, because they took the ridge easy. Later on that fall we were sent into the Wipers (Ypres) salient for a job in the battle towards Passchendaele. We started to dig a sap. I don't know what kind of job it was supposed to be, but you couldn't dig anything deep around there be? cause the ground was all mud and water. I never saw such a mess. Before long we got orders to quit, and we were shifted back out of the salient. After that our company moved down to Vimy Ridge. We dug a lot of dugouts and such? like for the defence system on the ridge. This was during the winter and early spring of 1917-1918. I had been made a ser? geant after that tunnel job at Messines. One day, in a village back of Vimy where we were billeted, the Major called me out in front of the morning parade, and pinned on my tunic the ribbon of the Distin? guished Conduct Medal. I didn't get the medal itself till quite a long time after? wards. Here it is--look at it. There's my name cut in the bottom edge--"Sergt. S. Glode, Canadian Engineers." They only give it to NCOS. In the summer of 1918 our company moved down to Amiens with the rest of the Canadi? an troops, for the big push there. No tun? nelling. Just ordinary army engineer work, patching up roads and that kind of thing behind the battle. The army kept pushing the Germans back all that summer and fall, and in November it was all over. I got back to Nova Scotia in the spring of 1919. I was 41. My son Louis had enlisted in another Nova Scotia regiment when he was about sixteen. He got wounded in the rump by a piece of shell, but it wasn't bad and he came home all right. He married an Indian girl in Milton and built a little house there. He worked in the Milton pulp mill. I never liked to work indoors, so I went on living like before, living alone in my shack in the woods outside the Potanoc set? tlement, guiding sports in the fishing and hunting seasons, cutting some pulpwood on my own land in the winters. I joined the Canadian Legion at Liverpool, and used to go down there a lot, talking to the other veterans over a few drinks of beer or rum. (Note by THR: Sam Glode died in Camp Hill Hospital, Halifax, Oct. 25, 1957, after an illness of some months. He was 79. I was present with a Legion party at his burial in the R. C. cemetery on College Hill, Liverpool.) Thomas H. Raddall prepared this article from notes made during interviews at his home in Liverpool and at Sam Glode's shack near Milton, in 1944. It is edited from the manuscript in Dalhousie Univer? sity Archives, published here with permission of Charles Armour, Archivist. Our thanks to Ruth Whitehead, Historian at the No? va Scotia Museum, who first told us about Sam Glode, and who lent us photographs she had located. Photo of Mr. Glode with his medals (Distinguished Conduct Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal) taken by Clara Dennis. Opening photograph taken at the Guzzler Camp on the Mersey River, 1934, from the Genevieve Glode Lowe collection. Photos cour? tesy of the Nova Scotia Museum. (29)
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