Veteran Stories:
Claude Paul

Army

  • First photo of Mr. Paul in uniform as a new recruit in Stratford, Ontario, October 1942.

    Claude Paul
  • Sergeant C.B. Paul in Yorkshire, England, 1943.

    Claude Paul
  • Claude Paul (far right) and Marie Dalmont (second from right) in Caen, France, 1944. This is the first picture of Claude and Marie together.

    Claude Paul
  • Claude and Marie Paul in Paris, France, January 1945. The inscription on the back of the photo says "Honeymoon in Paris - Here's one to put in your pocket Dad - Paris, France, January 1945".

    Claude Paul
  • Newspaper clipping about Mr. Paul and the story of how he met his wife in France, from the Toronto Daily Star of April 5, 1946.

    Toronto Daily Star
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"So I told her a bit about Canada... we had a little chat and I kind of took a liking to her, but we had no time for chit-chat. So we moved away and I never thought I’d see her again."

Transcript

And then when we did land [in Normandy, France, shortly after the Allied D-Day landings of June 6, 1944], then we heard the people speak French and they were waving us on and cheering us, and they were so happy to see us arriving. I was very fortunate because I could communicate with them because I did speak a little bit of French. That’s when I met my wife and I just knew her for maybe a couple hours; and she was mostly interested in my uniform and the insignias on the uniform, showing Canada and my unit. So I told her a bit about Canada and everybody wants to know about Niagara Falls [Ontario]; and so we had a little chat and I kind of took a liking to her, but we had no time for chit-chat. So we moved away and I never thought I’d see her again. I told her that after the war was over, and if I survived the episode, I would write to her and tell her a little bit more about Canada, maybe a few photographs and stuff. She gave me a piece of paper and wrote my address in Canada, which was in Toronto at the time. She wrote that down on the piece of paper; and I took her address and wrote it on an envelope I had received a few days previously from home. I wrote it on the back of an envelope because I didn’t have any papers handy to write her address on. So, anyway, a few days after we left, I got hurt, shot on a [telephone] pole by enemy aircraft or something, and a piece of glass embedded in my skull when I was up on the pole. I landed on my back on the railway track, and I was unconscious. Some British soldiers found me, brought from the dressing [first aid] station to a British military hospital. They were going back to the front in ambulances; and when they were traveling along, the jeep boiled over. It needed some water. They stopped by the little farmhouse to get some water for the jeep. It was at that farmhouse where this girl and I had met, and I’d given her my address, lived. This was just a little small home; and when they stopped at the, they had a big wishing well in front of their house on the grass there, my wife looked out the window and saw these fellows in the water with the jeep with pails and that. So she noticed their uniforms had the same kind of markings as I had on my uniform. So she thought, well maybe, they might know me, seeing that we wore the same kind of uniform. So she grabbed this piece of paper that I had wrote my Toronto address on and went out to see them, and showed them this piece of paper. She couldn’t speak any English and, of course, these chaps, their knowledge of French was very, very limited. So when they saw my name written on this piece of paper, they recognized my name immediately, and made her understand that I was in the hospital. So she left home and tried to find me in these hospitals; and she thought I would be in the Canadian hospital, but that wasn’t the case. So she finally got to the end of the line of hospitals, and it was the British hospital. They found out that I was there, but the guards wouldn’t let her in. One of the guards was sympathetic and sneaked her in. They undid some of the drapes on the ward that I was in; and she crawled in under that and found my bed that I was in, and gave me a big kiss. The fellows in the ward all hollered out, "you lucky son of a gun, get up," because she was quite pretty.
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