Veteran Stories:
Maurice Philippe “Bill” Bilodeau

Army

  • Mr. Bilodeau while stationned in Northern Germany in January 1945.

    Maurice Bilodeau
  • Picture taken shortly after the end of the war, while Mr. Bilodeau was temporarily assigned to Le Régiment de la Chaudière.

    Maurice Bilodeau
  • The Governor General of Canada Michaelle Jean awarding Mr. Bilodeau with the "The Governor General's Caring Canadian Award" in Ottawa (January, 2006).

    Maurice Bilodeau
  • The Prime Minister of Canada Paul Martin with his wife Sheila Ann Cowan attending a ceremony. Seated next to them, Mr. Bilodeau and his wife Jeanette.

    Maurice Bilodeau
  • Mr. Bilodeau in June 2011.

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"And then my friend was there, just as quick as it went from me to him, he hit, the bullet hit him and the bullet was sideways when he hit him, sideways, it was not straight because it would have went in."

Transcript

When I went in, he said that there was an officer, he comes to me and he says: ‘You’re going to be with us, with the Maisonneuve Regiment [Le Régiment de Maisonneuve]. And he explained to me what it’s all about. That’s where exactly, I didn’t even know anything about that. Because when you’re 18.5, you don’t know nothing. You just think whatever comes around. So we just refill. And when I refill, and I would say I was about two weeks that I had learned whatever’s going on. And you learn quick because the other guy doesn’t know anything either. That’s the way I figure, I just pick it up myself. And the officer comes around and he says: ‘Two weeks you’ve been on and we don’t see no problem.’ And he says: ‘We’re very short and we want you to be in charge of a platoon.’ I said, if I had another choice, I’ll take another choice. He said: ‘Okay, he says, you’re going to be a runner.’ In those days, to be a runner, you know why? Because they didn’t have no cell phone or anything like that, so he says, that’s what you’re going to be. I said: ‘I don’t mind.’

Well, being the runner, nobody knew that I was a runner. The officer said: ‘You cannot tell anybody that you are a runner, because if that goes into the ear of some, they’re going to kill you.’ So they don’t know that you are a runner. So you know, I said, as far as I’m concerned, I’m going to keep quiet, for sure. But he says: ‘You’re doing good, he said, don’t worry.’ In fact, he says, right now, I’ve got …

There was a hill, let’s say the hill start from here and it goes up and the tanks and all that, they were going up on top of that and there was houses and everything there, until they get to the other side. And it was way up. So he said: ‘There’s one house, there’s three houses together and there’s one house in the middle that’s giving us problem, it’s on the right side. He said, just go and tell the guy the tank was at the end, then go uphill.’ And he says: ‘You go and tell him that we have problem with this.’ So, and I run, not walk or anything like that, you run. You had to.

So I go there and I run and the guy, I was only halfway and he said: ‘What’s the matter’, he was yelling at me. So I said to him, I says, listen, I can’t hear you, so I’ll get closer. Well, because I didn’t want to show that I was a runner. And when I got there, I told the guy, I said: ‘The third house on the right giving us problem.’ He said: ‘Okay, I’ve got it. He said, you go ahead.’ And he said, when I run, you see, they couldn’t see me because I’m over the hill, the hill is going up, so I was at the other end. So when I got about halfway, I hear boom, boom, boom, the three houses were gone. This is one thing about, this, they ask you. If I would have been the age, not the age I’m now today, but if I was maybe 40, I would have been scared. But I was not scared because it seemed like that everything was going good.

There’s another one, when we went into, we got through this and we were reloading the platoons, and it was at Groesbeek [Holland]. We were there to refill. So we didn’t go around and pick up the guys, they met us there. And while I was there and I said to the officer, I said: ‘I’ve got to go to the canteen.’ He said: ‘You know, it’s a walk to the canteen. And you’re still at war.’ And I was with a friend and he said: ‘The idea is, put your helmet on because you’re still at war.’ So anyhow, I told the guy, I said: ‘Go and get your helmet and we’re going to go to the canteen.’ So he went and put his helmet on and we went outside and we started to talk because we had to bury where is the canteen. So I knew it was on the right side.

When I was there, it was just like you are and I was talking to him. And my helmet, I have mesh on the top of it and I had first field dressing about an inch and a quarter take on the side. And a bullet hit my helmet on the first field dressing. And my hat went crooked and I thought, but that was okay. And then my friend was there, just as quick as it went from me to him, he hit, the bullet hit him and the bullet was sideways when he hit him, sideways, it was not straight because it would have went in. So sideway and he yelled ouch and I knew right away, I said: ‘It’s a bullet that just hit you.’ He said: ‘Oh my God, did it ever hurt.’ I said: ‘Open it up and look.’ It was all red. I said: ‘You’re alright, you’re lucky because that bullet just hit my helmet’, he said: ‘Holy geez, we’re lucky’. I said: ‘Yes, it’s there and I don’t want it.’ And after a while, I just stand there and I said: ‘You know what? I’m going back to the camp, I’m not going down to the canteen, to hell with that.’ It might have been a sniper but it might be just a ricochet.

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