Rex Fendick (Primary Source)

Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.


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The Vickers machinegun and tripod, four of which were the principal weapons of the machinegun platoon commanded by Lieutenant Fendick.
(Courtesy of The Memory Project/Rex Fendick)

"I became a specialist as a machine gun officer. I served in Canada with the St. John Fusiliers and volunteered to go overseas to serve with the British Army as a Canloan officer"

Transcript

My name is Fendick, nickname Rex, and I was an army officer. I was commissioned when I was 18 years old and I became a specialist as a machine gun officer. I served in Canada with the St. John Fusiliers and volunteered to go overseas to serve with the British Army as a Canloan officer. That was a scheme that was approved by Parliament for Canada to loan infantry officers to the British Army prior to the invasion of northwest Europe. I joined the British Army immediately on landing in England in May of 1944 and went to France as a reinforcement landing on D +9 in Normandy. Myself and another friend, Mac McConaghy from Fredericton were posted from there to the 2nd Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment, in the 3rd British Infantry Division which had landed on Sword Beach on D-Day. And the Middlesex were the machine gun battalion of the 3rd Division. We joined the battalion in action and I took over a platoon immediately. Had my baptism of fire the day I joined the platoon. Our first major battle was the capture of the city of Caen, after which we went to the east and became the left flanking formation of the British 2nd Army in the area where the 6 Airborne Division had landed across the Orne River on D-Day. That was a very difficult battle because we had bad weather and very fierce German opposition. The only armoured division that opposed the entire Allied Forces landing on D-Day was the 21st Panzer Division and they were immediately to our front throughout this whole period. Later we moved to the extreme right of the British 2nd Army and alongside the Americans and I was wounded there, having my Universal Carrier blown up on two Teller mines. I spent two or three weeks in hospital in Normandy and rejoined my battalion. We moved through Belgium into Holland and were in the battle for the Reichswald, which was called a Canadian battle, but three-quarters of the troops involved, under General Crerar of the 1st Canadian Army, were British Troops. That took us up to the Rhine River and we crossed the Rhine and we watched the airborne drop just behind the city of Rees. From there we proceeded up into Germany. Saw liberated concentration camp prisoners and eventually the German surrender occurred just after we attacked the city of Bremen and that ended the war. I went on leave immediately we captured Bremen and was in England on VE Day. I saw the crowds celebrating VE Day in London around Trafalgar Square and all the famous spots in England. The buses stalled because the crowds wouldn't let them through. And I caught my train back to Germany for service in the area of occupation that night.

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