Monday, May 9, 2016

Audio: Lysle Sweeting, Coxswain on an LCM

Lysle Sweeting, Coxswain on an LCM

Lysle Sweeting, front and centre. Photo credit - The Memory Project

Introduction: One will find hundreds of audio files related to the experiences of men and women associated with many branches of Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian organizations (e.g., Red Cross, CWAC, etc.) at The Memory Project. Most audio files are accompanied by authentic WW2 photos and a written transcript.

Please link to the audio file at The Memory Project related to the activities of Lysle Sweeting, a likely member of the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve and Combined Operations. His story touches on his experiences on landing crafts during the invasion of North Africa (at Arzew) in 1942 and Sicily in 1943.

A landing craft at an undisclosed location in Africa, 1942. 
Photo credit Lysle Sweeting at The Memory Project

A short segment of Lysle Sweeting's transcript follows:

I was a coxswain on the LCM which is a Landing Craft Mechanized. You would take tanks and trucks. And then there was the LCAs, which was Landing Craft [Assault], just small ones. And the actual first troops that hit the beach would have been on them and for bigger ships, it was the LCTs, Landing Craft Tanks, to put the big tanks on and whatnot; they could take 10 or 12 of those on a landing craft. There was two ships that we were on, on merchant ships; they put the boats over the side and then they put the contents in. There was supposed to have been an officer on my ship and one on the other one, but the other boat was ready before I was, so they took off with, Lieutenant Barclay was the officer in charge, which left me with just… I was in charge by myself. And on the way in, there was a lot of shooting and what it was was the French Foreign Legion, they pretty well owned Algiers [Algeria]. And we were about 20 miles east of Algiers City, at Arzew, was where we landed. But we were being shot at, at the time. I had, I had one shot where a bullet came down. I was in this square box, as the coxswain steering the ship and we had pads on the outside, anti-shrapnel pads and had one bullet land right in, about that far from me, that’s the closest I ever came to what could have been death.

Please link to Audio: George McLean - RCNVR, Combined Operations

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