Wartime photo of Joseph Gautreau.Joseph Gautreau
Joseph Gautreau's Service Certificate (January 3rd, 1941 - January 30th, 1972).Joseph Gautreau
Joseph Gautreau.Joseph Gautreau
"I had met a young girl ...I took her to our kitchen, and I gave her a piece of bread with some ham ... In 1995, I returned to Belgium and I found her."
My name is Joseph Gautreau. I live in Dieppe, New Brunswick. I was part of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion during the Second (World) War. I parachuted during the landing of June 6 (19)44. About an hour after I jumped, I was injured and I returned to England for six weeks. Then I met up with the battalion in France. We stayed in France until September 1st (1944) and then we returned to England to participate in the great Battle of Arnhem (September 17 to 26, 1944). However, we didn’t end up going, we ended up staying in England until Christmas Day, and then we returned to Belgium. We participated in a Battle of the Ardennes (December 1944).
At that time, I had met a young girl in the small village of Marchovelette. I took her to our kitchen, and I gave her a piece of bread with some ham. Then she went home. The next day, she came back but we were preparing to advance on the front lines, and the kitchen was closing. I gave her an entire loaf of bread and a box of strawberries, and she went back home. I met her father and after the war, my mother received a letter with her picture. Behind the picture, only her name and age were written. She was 10 years old and her name was Madeleine Copée. In 1995, I returned to Belgium and I found her.
Finally, toward the end of the war, we landed in Germany and we pursued the Germans to the town of Wismar on the Baltic Sea. We returned to England and then I went back to Canada. I joined some engineers and then I did…a year in Korea and then I continued my army service. I retired from the army in (19)72, after 30 years of service. That’s my story.