Veteran Stories:
Leonard Collin

Army

  • Picture of Léonard Collin taken in 2010.

  • Picture of Léonard Collin taken during the war.

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"You mean, how did I join the police? They chose me. I couldn’t refuse, you had to say yes – it’s the army. So I went and I liked that."

Transcript

They passed a law; at 21 years of age, you had to enlist in the army. They came to get you, even if you didn’t want to go, they came to get you anyway. You had to go. Then I had my training. I became an MP [member of the Military Police]. I went to Valcartier [Quebec], [and] Lac-Saint-Jean. I was in a corporal’s platoon. They showed us how to […] We had a commander. We wore white [winter] work outfits in the snow. It was just to show them. They didn’t talk about us. We marched in the snow. I was in Lac-St-Jean, there was a small camp. In December and January, it was so cold that we slept entirely clothed. I spent two months there. You had to keep your arm in the machine. Then they told me that the next day we had to go to Ottawa to do some testing. I couldn’t refuse. I got dressed and followed them. There were about forty of us. I spent a month there [in Ottawa]. We went to the hospital every morning. They took good care of us, very good care of us. If we got sick, it didn’t take long for them… But you didn’t get sick, we were young. You mean, how did I join the police? They chose me. I couldn’t refuse, you had to say yes – it’s the army. So I went and I liked that. We had to keep the peace. If someone was behaving badly, they called us. We had to take care of it and take him away. We put them in the “clean” [a word to designate a jail]. That’s what the police called it; the “clean”. They went to court and we were the witnesses.
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