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ARCHIVED - Oral Histories of the First World War:
Veterans 1914-1918

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Graphical element: Rendering first aid to a wounded Canadian soldier

Perspectives on War

In this section:

Interview with Leo Lasner: 22nd Battalion
Transcript Excerpt, 2 minutes, 50 seconds

Q. You were right in the middle of it eh? I've never had a connected story about the Battle of Cherisey. Would you tell me about it?

A. I was only attached to that company and there were so many left. When I was wounded Major Vanier was giving me orders I was in a shell hole in the side of a shell hole and the first thing I got hit by the back and I think the bayonet passed as close as that. He said, "Well, you're alright, you've got a good wound." He said, "You'll make England" and he gave me the instructions to be careful of the German barrage and so on and wait a while to get up. He went away and I learned that about seventy-five yards farther down he lost his leg.

Q. When was that?

A. In August 1918. I think it was the 27th of August.

Q. You were quite an experienced soldier by then eh?

A. I don't think so, only luck.

Q. So it's just luck eh?

A. You have to take it this way. The way I take it, you have a destiny in this world and you've to fulfill your destiny. If you get to be killed, I had a friend who had quite a while of months in trenches, twenty-two months without a scratch. He came out on leave and we were in Brighton and we went to have a bottle of beer, left and went out on the street and he got hit by a car and two days after, he was dead. The poor lad had twenty-two months without a scratch so it just shows you you got a destiny. When your time is up, it doesn't matter where you go, you'll have it.

Q. So you went into the war without a fear at all then eh?

A. Well, if I was going to be killed I'd be killed.

Q. You weren't ever afraid?

A. Oh yes, sometimes you're afraid. There's not a man that's not afraid. One day a shell will burst in front of you and you'll laugh at that shell. Some other day a shell might be a couple of miles away from you and there's no danger and your nerves leave you completely.

Q. But if it's just a matter of destiny, it seems to me that it wouldn't matter what was happening.

A. It doesn't matter what happens. Your nerve and bone start to shake against yourself. You can't define death all the time but there's a way you have to look at it, that when your time comes up, you to take it but sometimes you don't care to die and you don't want to die.