Wounded Soldier Puts Comrades First
HAVRE BOUCHER Many are the stories of bravery on the battlefield, as soldier after soldier risks their life to save a wounded friend.
The following story is of a wounded man, who resisted help, giving up his life so his comrades could make it to safety.
Mr. and Mrs. W.E. Webb were officially notified Aug. 24 that their son, Sapper Stephen V. Webb, R.C.E., was missing in action on Aug. 21. Two weeks later a letter was received from the commanding officer of her son’s regiment in which he regretfully stated his conviction that her son was dead. He implied, however, that his information was somewhat obscure and meagre in detail, thus leaving the Webb family in a state of suspense regarding the fate of their loved one.
Receiving no further word from Ottawa, an aunt of Sapper Webb, Sister Joseph Marie of the Sisters of Charity, contacted the present Chaplain of the R.C.E.s with the hope of receiving some definite information that would ease the tension of the missing soldiers’ parents. The reply to her inquiry came promptly from Captain the Rev. W.E. McLauglin and read in part as follows:
“During our push from Falaise to the river Seine your nephew was in a carrier crew. Having to contact another regiment, they took a wrong turn and entered enemy territory. They were pinned down by enemy machine-gun fire and your nephew was seriously wounded. He insisted that his comrades should not carry him out as they would expose themselves to enemy fire. The rest managed to get away after another lad was killed. The enemy left the two dead lads there and took your nephew to their first aid post. We overran them the next day and found the two bodies, which we buried. Stephen died of wounds and was buried at a town called Orbec.”
Stephen Webb, aged 25, enlisted the first part of 1940. The following autumn the army sent him to the Nova Scotia Technical College at Halifax where he specialized in electrical refrigeration. He went overseas last spring and landed in France on D-Day.
One of the many virtues that endeared this young man to so many friends was his willingness at all times to sacrifice his own comfort in the interest of others. This admirable trait he maintained to the last when after being severely wounded, he pleaded with his comrades in battle that they abandon him, rather than jeopardize their own lives by carrying him to safety.