Transcript: People of Ontario: War Memories of the Hasty P's, Part 1 | Jan 16, 1990

(music plays)

[explosions]

Fast clips show old images of war.

War memorabilia appears on screen. An old map with Holland also appears. An old edition of the Toronto Daily Star appears with the headline “Cost 25,000 men to take Sicily.”

A fast clip shows images of the musical score of “Bless’em all” and books about war.

The title “War Memories of the Hasty P’s. The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment” appears on screen against the cap badge of The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment.

A map of the south of Italy appears with the caption “Assault on Assoro.”

(music plays)

The caption changes to “It became the Regiment’s most famous battle. The Germans were preparing to cross the Straits of Messina into Italy. They established strong positions of defence in mountain-top villages that overlooked the entire valley below. It was up to the Hasty P’s to break the chain of defence. The plan; to capture the mountain village of Assoro using the element of surprise.”

The caption changes to “Angus Duffy and Bill Graydon.”

Angus is in his late seventies, clean-shaven and balding. He wears glasses, gray trousers, a black suit jacket with a badge, white shirt and a blue and orange striped tie.

Bill is in his late seventies, clean-shaven and with short wavy white hair. He wears gray trousers, a black suit jacket with a badge, white shirt and a blue and orange striped tie.

Angus says WHEN I THINK OF IT,
YOU KNOW, I THINK...
IT GIVES YOU
COLD SHUDDERS.
BUT, ANYWAY, COLONEL
BRUCE SUTCLIFFE MADE
THE RECKY, SAID
WE COULD DO IT
AND HE WAS KILLED
MAKING THIS RECKY.
A RECKY IS WHEN THE
OFFICERS GO OUT FRONT
TO SEE HOW THEY'RE
GOING TO DO THIS THING.
AND HE WAS KILLED.
AND LORD JOHN TWEEDSMUIR
WHO WAS THE SON
OF THE GOVERNOR GENERAL
OF CANADA TOOK OVER
AND WENT AHEAD
WITH THE PLAN.
BUT WE HAD CONFIDENCE
IN BRUCE SUTCLIFFE
THAT HAD BEEN KILLED
BUT IT COULD BE DONE
IF HE SAID SO.
BUT, ACTUALLY, WHAT WE
HAD TO DO WAS GO 7 MILES
INDIRECTLY AROUND THIS
WAY TO CAPTURE A MOUNTAIN
THAT WAS OVER HERE.
AND IT WAS SAID TO
BE 3,000 FEET HIGH.
AND HAD WE BEEN CAUGHT,
FOR INSTANCE, IT WAS
GETTING DAYLIGHT.
WE DESPERATELY CLIMBED.
AND YOU JUST
DESPERATELY HUNG ON.
AND WE GOT UP THERE
TO THE TOP, AND THEN
OF COURSE IT'S FINE TO BE
ON THE TOP OF THE HILL,
BUT THERE'S NO PLACE ELSE
TO GO UNLESS YOU CAN
DRIVE THE PEOPLE AWAY.
WELL, WE COULDN'T DOWN
BELOW, SO WE TOOK
TREMENDOUS SHELLING.
AND WE HAVE SEVERAL
PEOPLE HERE TONIGHT...
THERE WAS TWO OF THEM
HERE, BOTH OF THEM
WERE WOUNDED THERE.

A fast clip shows images of a reunion.

Angus says YOUNG OFFICERS.
32 OR SOMETHING LIKE
THAT, AND HE'S GOT 36 MEN
AND HE CAN'T GO ANYPLACE.
HE'S JUST GOT TO STAY THERE
AND TAKE IT.
BECAUSE IF HE HADN'T
STAYED THERE THE GERMANS
WOULD HAVE TAKEN THE HILL.
AND SO THEY HUNG ON
AND HUNG ON, AND I WAS
SENT DOWN TO -- I AND
ANOTHER OFFICER WENT DOWN
TO TELL THE PEOPLE
AT BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS
THAT WE NEEDED FOOD
AND WE NEEDED AMMUNITION
SO WE COULD HANG ON.
AND THE R.C.R. TWO COMPANIES
CAME UP, CARRIED FOOD
AND AMMUNITION.
THEY GOT TO THE FOOT OF
THE HILL -- WELL, PART
OF THE WAY UP, AND THEN
IT WAS COMING DAYLIGHT
SO THEY HAD TO SCRAM.

Bill says AND ALL THIS WAS AT NIGHT,
TRYING TO CONTROL HOW MANY...
A HUNDRED MEN?
TRYING TO CONTROL A HUNDRED
MEN AT NIGHT'S LIKE WALKING
WITH BLINDFOLDS.

Angus says THE WHOLE REGIMENT
ACTUALLY, THERE WERE
400-500 PEOPLE WENT
UP TO CAPTURE THE HILL.
AND IT WAS JUST FORTUNATE
THERE WAS NOBODY AT
THE TOP OF THE HILL
EXCEPT THREE GERMANS.
AND I THINK THEY
KILLED ONE OF THEM.
AND IT WAS THE NEXT DAY
WHEN THE COUNTER ATTACKS
CAME IN, THE SHELLING
CAME IN, AND IT WAS UNUSUAL
BECAUSE ONLY MEN WITH GREAT
CONFIDENCE IN THEIR LEADERS
AND IN THEMSELVES WOULD
HAVE TRIED THAT THING.
AND THE OTHER THING IS THAT
THEY'RE A SPECIAL BREED
OF PEOPLE BECAUSE
THEY STAYED THERE.
THEY WOULDN'T BACK DOWN.
THEY WEREN'T GOING TO
GIVE IT UP FOR ANYTHING.
AND... MY PART OF THE
THING IS THAT I'M THERE
AND I'M SUPPOSED TO BE
BRAVER THAN ANYBODY ELSE.
AND I WAS NEVER SO DARN
SCARED IN MY WHOLE LIFE.
BECAUSE I WENT UP
THAT MOUNTAIN, AND THEN
I HAD TO COME DOWN.
AND, YOU KNOW, THE
AWFUL THING IS WHEN
YOU'RE GOING DOWN, AND
BILL WILL TELL YOU,
IT'S BAD ENOUGH TO
FACE THE MACHINE GUN,
BUT WHEN IT'S AIMED AT
YOUR BACK, LORDY, LORDY,
YOU GET SCARED.

A black and white picture of a young military man appears with the caption “RSM Angus Duffy.”

Bill says THAT'S WHEN THE ARMY ISSUED
ONLY, WHAT, TWO SUITS
OF UNDERWEAR, WASN'T IT?

Angus saysYEAH.
[laughing]
SO IT WAS VERY INTERESTING.
AND IT WAS AN UNUSUAL THING
BECAUSE EVEN GENERAL MONTGOMERY
SAID THAT WE REDUCED --
BY THIS ACTION, BY
CAPTURING THIS POSITION,
WE REDUCED THE FIGHTING
IN SICILY BY FIVE DAYS.
AND YOU CAN IMAGINE HOW
MANY MEN'S LIVES THAT MEANT.
SO IT WAS... IT WAS
QUITE A GOOD SHOW
FOR A BUNCH OF FARM FELLAS.

(music plays)

The end credits roll.

Editors, Jim Crewe and Neill McWilliams.

Producer and director, Inge Johnson.

A production of TV Ontario.

Copyright. The Ontario Authority. 1990.

Watch: People of Ontario: War Memories of the Hasty P's, Part 1