Amy, Edward

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                                      EDWARD AMY 
                                     By John Copp

The information for this week’s article was provided to me by Garth Taylor and his sister Joan and comes from a newspaper article written by retired Major General Clive Addy. This article served as a testament to a little-known Newcastle boy who ended up being a great Canadian and military hero.

I know little about military history, but as a community unfortunately we have forgotten to recognize and tell the story of one of the great young men who served this country with such distinction.

Brigadier General Edward Alfred “Ned” Amy died in Halifax on Feb. 2. He was one of the most decorated Canadian military officers of his time and known to his Newcastle friends as “Snuffy Small.” He received the Distinguished Service Order, Order of the British Empire, Military Cross, Canadian Forces Decoration, United States Bronze Cross, and France Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.

Ned Amy was born in Newcastle on March 28, 1918 and was the son of Walter Amy and Margaret Hubbard. He lived on King George Highway in the vicinity of Bell’s Funeral Home. I have not discovered much about Ned’s family or early life, but I assume he attended Harkins and later graduated King’s College Academy in Wolfville. In the information provided to me, reference is made that he visited people in the community as a young military officer and everybody knew him as “Snuffy Small” mainly because of his short stature and the endearment the locals had for him.

After completing high school, he enrolled in the Royal Military College in Kingston and graduated in 1939. With the beginnings of the Second World War, he and his friends were quickly commissioned into the military. At first, Amy attempted the Air Force but failed the medical as a result of his height. His next choice was the army but again they were concerned over his height, but rules had changed and Amy became an officer in the Canadian Armoured Corps.

His training in tank tactics took him to camp Borden. Here he found his home using his size advantage to be able to move quickly around the metal giants.

His first military career began serving in Britain with the Gloucester Hussars and the 4th County of London Yeomanry. In 1942, he transferred to Ontario Regiment, commander of No. 6 Troop B Squadron, and he was in charge of three tanks known as Bing, Bang and Boom. The story told by his men was he was asked if he wanted to fire the gun. He did and hit the bull’s eye.

His first action was in the Italian Campaign, now as a member of the Calgary Regiment, on the Moro River. He was ordered to establish bridgehead at San Leonardo, described in the book “Canadians in Action.” He lead the charge to take the objective and the next day withstood the German counterattack of a superior force of 12 tanks – his band fought five of them off.

In the Italian Campaign, it was said his diminutive size saved his life while he was doing an inspection on a German Mark 4 Panzer they had captured. He was about to jump down on a plank when it was discovered to be booby-trapped. His weight failed to set the pressure mine off when he climbed up the turret.

On July 26, 1944, he crossed the channel and joined the battle for Europe as a major with the 22nd Canadian Armoured Division (Canadian Grenadiers Guards) and three days later he fought in Grentheville. During the next five weeks he fought in all the major battles for Normandy. His regiment received four distinctions for its actions in the battle of Falaise and he led the Canadians against Kurt Meyers 12th SS Panzer Division resulting in the liberation of Cintheaux and Bretteville. From then on Amy led the guards across France, liberating town after town and into Germany.

He had one tank blown out from underneath him, was wounded and lost a number of his fellow tankers in some of the hardest fighting in the campaign.

On completion of the war and his return to Canada, the regimental newspaper printed a heartfelt tribute. “Today we lost a colonel and a great guy – he always seemed just one of the boys.”

The army remained his career and he served in other conflicts such as the Korean War and Cyprus, always serving with recognition and distinction. In recognition of his military record and as a tanker, the Canadian government named the Gagetown Tank Park the Amy Tank Park.

There is much more that can be said about the diminutive fighter from Newcastle, but I think his life is summed up by the quote from his friends Clive Addy: “He was a big man who didn’t like big shows about him. He was honest, a modest man. A true Canadian hero, Snuffy Small.”

Source: Miramichi Leader – June 6, 2011

                                       EDWARD AMY 
                                       By John Copp

This week’s column is a sort of update on the past few articles that I have written about.

The first in Ned Amy. In last week’s article I couldn’t cover all the information on the tank man from Newcastle so this is an update on another article I have read which describes another of his acts of heroism. In the book by Brigadier General W. J. Patterson, Soldiers of the Queen, The Canadian Grenadier Guards of Montreal, he devoted some testament to the bravery of Ned Amy in the battle of Hochwald Gap on Feb. 28, 1945.

The day after he took command of Canadian Armoured Regiment (Canadian Grenadier Guards), he immediately showed his cool determination under the stress of fire. In leading his regiment into battle that day under heavy mortar and artillery attack his tank became stuck in mud, immediately he switched to another tank in the battle group. Riding on the back of that tank directing the regiment in the battle, he came under heavy fire and eventually sustained a serious foot injury. Now unable to walk or stand, he had to be carried from the field of battle by his fellow soldiers.

The new commander’s bravery in battle that day inspired his regiment to victory. Eventually he returned to the field of combat in a week’s time and led his regiment to the final victory in that battle, just another short testament to the bravery and coolness under fire that Ned Amy the tank man from Newcastle demonstrated in the field of combat.

Source: Miramichi Leader

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