Veteran Stories:
Jacques Louis Tremblay

Army

  • Jacques Louis Tremblay, 2010

    Historica Canada
  • Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (on left) and the War Medal (1939-45).

    Jacques Louis Tremblay
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"I’ll admit that it was prompted by my father [Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas-Louis Tremblay], who had fought in the First World War. He had commanded the 22nd Regiment [22nd Battalion, French Canadian]."

Transcript

I was in the general reserve during the war. I wasn’t immediately part of the [Royal] 22nd Regiment. I wore the unit’s badges, but I wasn’t actually part of the regiment. When I joined the Canadian Army in 1945, they immediately sent me on an officer’s training course. I became a lieutenant; that was my finishing rank. I’ll admit that it was prompted by my father [Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas-Louis Tremblay], who had fought in the First World War. He had commanded the 22nd Regiment [22nd Battalion, French Canadian]. That was a very hard war. For them, it had been trench warfare at Courcelette and Vimy, and places like that. When I got overseas, I had to join a reserve unit, the I had to Régiment de Joliette. When they arrived in England, they disbanded all of those units like the Régiment de Joliette and the Fusiliers du St-Laurent. They called us [conscripts under the National Resources Mobilization Act] "zombies". It wasn’t a very easy name to accept, but we were "zombies". I went overseas at the beginning of 1945, after having spent some time in Debert, Nova Scotia. I was stationed there for a long time and in Valcartier for a bit. The rest of the time I was taking courses. I went to Kingston and I went all the way to Vancouver to take a special course on camouflage. I considered that as a bit of a jaunt, since our real training took place in England. My first real experience with the war was with the V-2 [German rockets]. If the Germans had had those V-2s at the beginning of the war, oh! It would have been hard, especially for the British. I often spent my weekends in London. They dropped some V-2s when I was there. They caused quite an explosion. I remember Hyde Park Corner, they dropped a V-2 there and it made a big crater. All of the windows in the adjacent buildings were blown out. Our training was good, very realistic with tanks and machine guns. I was in the infantry at that time. It was the last training we had before heading to the front. I ended up not going to the front because the war ended. Because of the amount of time I had been in the Army, I was allowed one month of free education, paid for by the government. I managed to complete three years at Queen’s University. Of course we think of those who sacrificed their lives. As I had read a lot about the history of the 22nd Regiment [Royal 22e Régiment] during both world wars, I thought about them. I admit that it impressed me a lot. I belonged to the 22nd Regiment’s mess at the Citadelle [of Quebec] for about ten years, and those are wonderful memories.
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