Veteran Stories:
Georges Bernard

Army

  • RCA, 4th Medium Artillery Regiment, Camp Borden, Ontario, April 27, 1942. Georges Bernard is in the back row, 8th from the left.

    Georges Bernard
  • Christmas Mass for Canadian soldiers in Holland, 1944.

    Georges Bernard
  • Pictured here is a book about France and French civilians that was given to each soldier before landing in France so they would know how to properly conduct themselves while in the country, 1943.

    Georges Bernard
  • Georges Bernard in Rimouski, Quebec on July 15, 2010.

    Historica Canada
  • Pages from the book on France that was given to each soldier before he landed there. It talks about what to do and what not to do while in the country. The book is dated from 1943.

    Georges Bernard
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"There were sailors’ bodies in the sea, those that had arrived before us. The corpses were floating in the water. Bodies float, swollen, like balloons."

Transcript

I received a letter [under the National Resources Mobilization Act] via my mother telling me I had to go to Rimouski [Quebec]. There was a military camp over there. Pretty much everyone who received a letter had to go. I had a brother who also received the same letter, but he never signed. I signed as a volunteer. You had to be single to do that. That’s how I enlisted [in 1940].

I became the first mechanic for our platoon [M. Bernard served overseas with the 4th Medium Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery]. I took care of the trucks and all of the mechanical problems that I could solve. We weren’t in the big cities; we were in the south of England. We were bombed, but then things calmed down. After that, the V-1s arrived [German flying or "buzz" bombs]; planes without pilots. It was the quantity of fuel that determined where they would fall; it was all set in advance, months earlier. At a specific moment, the fuel would run out. There were a lot of them, but especially in London.

We were trained. The trucks had to be prepared. In France, we were ready. We were on the coast in England days in advance [of D-Day, the Allied Normandy landings of June 6, 1944] to be sure that we would be there. American ships brought us over. They were ships [Landing Ship, Tanks] built especially for that, with big doors in the front. The trucks could offload onto land.

We weren’t the first. Everything went well. There were sailors’ bodies in the sea, those that had arrived before us. The corpses were floating in the water. Bodies float, swollen, like balloons.

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