Veteran Stories:
Leonidas Lemaire

Army

  • Leonidas Lemaire's Medals: (L-R) 1939-45 Star; Italy Star; France and Germany Star; Defence Medal; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal; War Medal (1939-45).

    Leonidas Lemaire
  • Pin awarded to Leonidas Lemaire for General Service.

    Leonidas Lemaire
  • The Netherlands Thank You Canada Medal awarded to Leonidas Lemaire.

    Leonidas Lemaire
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"I felt that the battle of Monte Cassino was the toughest! We went 48 hours without sleeping. I fell asleep standing up."

Transcript

I participated in the Italian Campaign. I arrived in Sicily, crossed over to Naples, and from Naples, up to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Afterwards, we went down to the other side, in Monte Cassino, Burma and then Monte Cassino. Those are the two battles we fought there. Well, we fought all along the way but for the most part, it was alright.

It was hard but we did what we had to. The hours were long. I was there for four years. It was hard!

I felt that the battle of Monte Cassino was the toughest! We went 48 hours without sleeping. I fell asleep standing up. I fell over and then blacked out. We shot the cannon ourselves, 12 miles away, except that we were only 5 and not 10. But among them, you had the sergeant, the corporal and the lance caporal. I was in charge of firing the cannon. I had to learn everything in order to be able to do it. I also maintained the cannon.

In Burma, we almost crossed the mountain but then we couldn’t go any further. That’s why they sent us over there and we fought quite a bit. It was hard! The Americans were there for three months and they lost 1000 men per month, so 3000 men total. So we took that, and it took us a long time to get there and set everything up. Then we opened fire at 11 at night. It went on all night long and the next day as well. It was hard! It was then that I fell asleep. They fired the cannon but I don’t remember anything.

I never watch war movies, since they always show one side of the coin, but never the other side!

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