My Dad served as a tank driver/mechanic during the Second World War. He was with the Fort Garry Horse Regiment and the tank he drove was a Sherman Firefly, its name coming from the fact it was smaller than a regular Sherman tank. He joined up early in the war and spent a long time training at Camp Borden in Ontario, Canada. He became so good at it, that during exercises, he was allowed to be acting tank commander. Once trained here, he then went to Britain and trained some more. Finally, he entered action in the Netherlands.
Dad never talked much about his experiences until he entered his 70s. He began then to write them down and record them on audio tape. He died at age 73. Apparently, he actually captured a German soldier. One thing he told me that has always stuck with me was the fact that the tank crews were most worried about being attacked by the British Typhoon anti-tank planes, as they would go after any armoured vehicle they encountered. Actually, I think my Dad was frightened a lot of the time over there...and he was not alone.
My mother says today that the "war ruined him" when speaking of Dad. He must have been an exemplary human being before the war because he was a wonderful father (although, like me, he had a temper...I tell my two younger children that he and I are like passing thunderstorms: "Lotsa thunder, not much lightning").
What bothers me is how he was finally treated by the military when he left the service: his final rank, as far as I'm concerned, should have been Sergeant, at least. All they gave him was "Trooper"...right where he started. I find that most unfair.