Veteran Stories:
Sylvio Lemire

Army

  • Sylvio Lemire and fellow Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders, part of the 3rd Division, B-Company, 9 Platoon, at Nijmegen Salient, the Netherlands, in December 1944. Mr. Lemire was seventeen years old.

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"I got the certificate, and I worked the 1927 to look like a 1925."

Transcript

In the early '40s I had five brothers that went overseas, and I was still going to school. Nothing was going to hold me back because I wanted to join my brothers. By the time I got to sixteen I went in to join up. First I went to the navy and I went through the whole gyration with the navy, and they said, "Well, our quota's filled, but don't call us, we'll call you." So I thought I might as well try for the army. By that time I was seventeen. They asked for my birth certificate, so I went home and went for my baptismal certificate. I got the certificate, and I worked the 1927 to look like a 1925. I joined the army and they sent me to Kingston, and at Kingston I went through the whole gyration of getting the medical and everything else. I was accepted. They sent me from Kingston to St. John's, Quebec, to do my basic training. After the basic training they sent me down to Farnham, Quebec, where I did the advanced training. I think it was about September. At that time I was shipped overseas. We landed in Scotland, and we were in Aldershot for a few days. We sailed over to France. We landed in Dieppe, if I'm not mistaken. Some little place called Martin St. Église or something. From there we were trucked to Ghent in Belgium. I was assigned to the SDGD – the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders. I joined them, and we got to Nijmegen. We were there all winter. Just around Christmas I found out that the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa was attached to the Chaudière, which were our neighbours at the front, so I asked permission to go and visit them to see if I could find my brother. I went to see my brother and the first thing he asked me was, "What?! I thought you were at school! When did they start sending kids over?!" I guess he must have told his Colonel or something like that. Three weeks later, around the 20th of January, I was pulled out of the front line. From there on in I was posted with the Special Employment Company doing all kinds of work everywhere - in the woods, cleaning up after battles. And we were there until the end of the war. At the end of the war, I was trucked to a little place called Zeist. From there, one Sunday afternoon, we were all standing close to this gas stove. The gas stove blew up and I was caught in the fire. I was badly burned. I was shipped to Nijmegen hospital, and that's where they put the body cast on and flew me over to England, and then they put me in a convalescent in Farnborough Hospital. I came home just around Easter time 1945, so I was the last of my brothers to come in. So the six of us were all survivors, with no heroes in the family.
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