Contemporary photograph of Peter Vicaire, taken in july 2010 at Listuguj cultural center.Historica Canada
Mr Vicaire's war time service medals, from left to right; the 1939-1945 War Medal, the France and Germany Star, and the Defence Medal.Peter Vicaire
"It’s hard to forget. In dreams I keep on coming back. Some nights even now, I dream at night. I mean, it’s a long time ago that this war is over. But I still dream sometimes."
When I was old enough, I joined the army. My mother got a few dollars. It wasn’t much but it helped anyway. I didn’t went in France but I went in Holland, in Belgium, Holland, Germany. In Belgium it was pretty hard because they talk a different language. But in Holland, it’s right to talk English, more friendly. [Speaks in his native tongue, Mi’kmaq] Act different, act friendly, [they] tried to be friendly and tried to cooperate with us ,whatever we do.
One place that was pretty hard was the place they called Zutphen [Netherlands], it was pretty hard because the ground is flat in the town and we’ve got to go in, Germans are in there and we’ve got to go in, no protection all around - flat. The ground is so flat, it’s swampland and we had to go in there and well, we went in, it was hard to open but we captured 300 Germans in an hour, an hour and a half. Yeah. It was hard work.
And you’ve got to run, as fast as you can run, go in. Joe Vicaire [a fellow soldier from Listuguj, New Brunswick]… he was behind, he was supporting us with the artillery, big guns. And me in the infantry, I’ve got to go in front. They feed us only sausages, twice a day. Well, they say we got some horse meat, young horses. They’re good. Oh yeah. Well, it’s got to be good because you’ve got, you know, to get us to eat!
Used to drink a lot, wine in Holland. There was all kinds of wine in Holland. There’s a lot of wine cellars, so we kept going into the wine cellar… put it in our water bottle, filling our water bottles first. Gosh, one day the Military Police found out, we were cut down. Sometimes you sleep good and sometimes no. Got to wait almost 24 hours a day until sleep. Just like.... You staggered, so sleepy.
I was in Germany when the war was over, was in the front line. I think a lot anyway, I think a lot and I don’t like to talk about it. No. It’s hard to forget. In dreams I keep on coming back. Some nights even now, I dream at night. I mean, it’s a long time ago that this war is over. But I still dream sometimes.