Veteran Stories:
Germain Nault

Army

  • Mr. Germain Nault in Levis, Quebec, on June 5, 2010 .

    Historica Canada
  • Mr. Germain Nault in The Netherlands in June 1945.

    Germain Nault
  • Mr. Germain Nault in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, on January 1, 1945.

    Germain Nault
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"I often compared it to being in a huge rain storm and not being hit by a single raindrop."

Transcript

I was transferred to England, on a ship called the [SS] Letitia. We got off at Glasgow [Scotland] and were transferred to Aldershot [England]. I absolutely wanted to get into the transport company; I was no good at marching. They told me that I couldn’t join the [Royal] 22nd Regiment – I had signed up with the 22nd - since they didn’t need drivers. If I joined the Regiment de la Chaudière, there would be a place for me. So they transferred me to the Chaudières and I did the rest of the war with them. The entire time that I was in England, I was with transport. I studied. I took mechanics and driving courses so that I could drive all of the vehicles. I took advanced mechanics courses to be what they called an “MM” for ‘Motor Mack’ [mechanic]; we learned how to work on the motors. I’m skipping over many of the details. They sent us on a course to learn how to waterproof the motors so that they could be completely submerged. That training took a few months. We were on an island during the holidays, I remember it still; an island north of Scotland. I boarded a barge with a Bren Gun Carrier loaded with ammunition. I landed at Bernières-sur-Mer [in Normandy, France]. We had some work to do on our vehicles in order to get them going on land. I got out of my vehicle and the Germans were firing at me from all sides. I have always been very optimistic and I truly believe in destiny. I got out of my vehicle and I was completely exposed. I couldn’t stay there for the rest of the war. I had to do something. So I got out and I did what I had to do. I could hear the bullets whistling past me. Some hit the vehicle; I could hear them hit, but nothing hit me. When I used to speak in schools, I often compared it to being in a huge rain storm and not being hit by a single raindrop. The day continued; there were attacks and all sorts of things happened. At night, around 12:30 or one o’clock, I got out of my vehicle to deliver some ammunition. The Germans had decided to counter-attack. They thought they could push us back to the sea. They failed. I was taken prisoner by five Germans during the night, at around two o’clock in the morning. At daybreak, I saw that the Germans were heading in the wrong direction. We might be seen and we were in our lines. We entered a house that had been bombed, but its basement was still intact. Among the five Germans, one spoke French perfectly. They didn’t rough me up, they didn’t hurt me. They simply smoked my cigarettes. When night came, we went out once it became dark. They were talking amongst themselves but I couldn’t understand anything. The one who spoke French told me that they were lost and didn’t know which way to go. Luckily, I am able to orient myself quickly. I explained, using several landmarks, where we were and where we should go. They believed me and started heading back. We walked for a good part of the night. The next morning, we were in front of one of our regiments and I recognized them. I gave the password and they recognized me. I told the German who spoke French that these were my friends and I led him to believe that the war was over. I told him that I preferred to die than to be their prisoner. They had to surrender or I would yell and my regiment’s troops would come out. So they gave themselves up as prisoners. I took them to the boats, since there wasn’t a designated area for the prisoners. We shook hands. They said that their war was over and they wished me good luck with mine. I returned to the front line and it continued.
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