Some of them told me about the terrible way they had been treated after being caught. It wasn't funny.
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I was born in Saint-Paul, Saint-Paul-du-Button as we called it in those days. My father had a lumber mill. We worked in the woods, between Saint-Fabien and Saint-Paul. We transported the wood by truck to Québec. When they enforced conscription, they made me do two months of training once Camp Montmagny was built. I had been called up once earlier but the post office had returned the letter since I was gone, working in the woods. I was called up again to join the Army on August 31, 1941. I never regretted having been a part of the Armed Forces.
I received training to go to war. I took two courses; a carpentry-woodwork course in Rimouski and a mechanic’s course. They sent us to Quebec City and to Lauzon. They sent us to Cove Field Barracks on the Plains of Abraham, where there were buildings for the soldiers.
I had heard that I was receiving my discharge. The corporal needed five men to go wash dishes. I said to him, "I don't want anything to do with washing dishes." He asked me what I wanted to do. I had already guarded deserters. Some of them were depressed. We went to guard them at the Roy-Rousseau clinic. When we guarded them for 24 hours at a time, we would then be off for 24 hours afterwards. We would go to the cafeteria at Saint-Michel-Archange hospital. We would take the fugitives out walking. We would go to sleep at night fully clothed. There were two of us working as guards.
Some of them told me about the terrible way they had been treated after being caught. It wasn't funny. They would make them wash the floor and then they would kick over the pail, spilling the water on the floor and forcing them to start over. The punishment they received wasn't funny at all. I had heard that a sergeant was beat up in Montreal because he had treated some soldiers poorly. No more war.
My cousin, Réal Boulet, had landed in Normandy on D-Day [June 6, 1944]. He came back physically intact, but he would walk, often stopping to look around. People thought he had gone mad. They didn't understand that he had promised to do a pilgrimage to Sainte-Anne. He did it on foot, leaving from Saint-Paul. That’s 75 miles, there and back.