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Italian Canadian
Joe Nasso
Joe Nasso's Memoirs





This digital collection was produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital Collections Initiative, Industry Canada.


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From Joe Nasso’s Memoirs
As we advanced the fighting became fierce and frightening. Germans were bombing and shelling regularly. The Germans used an “88,” which when fired the shell exploded in the air over the target. This was called an “air burst.” When it exploded it was as if a huge light was turned on for a second and then turned off. It was a blinding light. When it exploded you could hear the shrapnel whirring in every direction. The shrapnel sounded like airplane propellers. If you were hit with these hard metal pieces, you were in a real mess. During the night in a moment of silence you could hear the dull thud as the shell left the gun then a sound like a siren as it was over the target then the explosion as the shell burst. When shelling started, night or day, everyone ran for their slit trench. The trench was dug as we moved into a new area. This was a must. The trench was the only protection we had from bombing and shelling……

When you live 24 hours a day with a hundred other men or boys, you realize the camaraderie that exists. We were always in danger of losing our lives. As I passed the others during the day I felt like reaching out to hug them. My faith deepened and the fear left me in dangerous situations. On Sunday mornings me and two other R.C.’s were up and away in the jeep to hear Mass. Sometimes the Padre of the unit prepared an altar on a couple of crates, I or one of the others served Mass and repeated the prayers. We always received Communion. When it was possible we went to the village church. That was always very interesting, different customs. In France, in the villages, the sinners don’t kneel, they stand behind the chair. We received a lecture on French customs. We had visits from the men of the village and they shook hands with each one of us. That’s the custom. Imagine that they shook hands with one hundred or more men each time they paraded through camp….

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