Mr. Querry in 1946.Romuald Querry
"The children hadn’t seen chocolate during the war. There were a lot of young children that had never seen it before. There was a lot of misery during the war."
I was born on a little farm. I was the eldest of the family; there were nine of us. I didn’t receive a lot of schooling. I stopped my studies in order to help my parents. There wasn’t any work close to where we lived and I saw friends of mine leaving to join the Army. My cousins and I decided to join the Army out of patriotism. We left for Rimouski and enlisted there. We went to Quebec City, where we underwent a bit of training.
There was a guy named Willy Hunt from Gaspé who was a part of our gang. There were seventeen of us who joined the uniformed ranks on the same day. He advised us to join the [Canadian] Forestry Corps. As a veteran of the First World War, he had heard people talking about this regiment that was headed overseas but that would not be at the front lines. We all joined that regiment. We’d cut wood and load it onto cars so that would take it into the towns where it was needed. Other places needed wood for the mines.
At that time, there was a lot of bombing throughout England. It destroyed everything. For the Forestry Corps, that was our main source of work. There were lumber mills. There were 200 men in each company. In the Forestry Corps, I didn’t have any complaints. We were comfortable. We had better rations than the companies that were in the line of fire. We got leave every three months. We went to France and Belgium. In March 1945, they transferred us to the Black Forest in Germany.
The war ended in May . In Germany, we weren’t allowed to fraternise with the Germans before July, 1945. We weren’t allowed to speak to them and they weren’t allowed to speak to us either. Sometimes we would go out. We weren’t allowed to go out alone. We would always go out in groups of three or four and we had to take our rifles with us. After July, they allowed us to fraternise. From time to time, we would go out in groups. There were dance halls. We would go to dances in a group. The Germans were very happy to see us, except for the SS [the Schutzstaffel, one of the main organizations of the Nazi regime]. The SS were dangerous. The civilians were happy though because the war was over. They had suffered a lot, towards the end of the war.
You could sell anything; cigarettes, soap, chocolate. I went to Paris. I arrived with a kitbag full of cigarettes. I didn’t smoke then. We had Canadian cigarettes. Everybody wanted to smoke Canadian cigarettes! The children hadn’t seen chocolate during the war. There were a lot of young children that had never seen it before. There was a lot of misery during the war.