Veteran Stories:
Richard James

Army

  • Mr. Richard James in July 2011.

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"They wanted to train us (in 1945). We said, we’re not training. We’re fighting the war, we’ve been trained enough."

Transcript

I heard the news, like everyone else, on the radio and then I decided to go enlist. I enlisted in (19)43 on the Plains of Abraham (Quebec). They tested me and then sent me to Petawawa (Ontario) for the cannons. I was trained there. Following my training, I decided to join the 22 (Royal 22e Regiment). I requested it and they sent me to join the 22. We crossed on the Île de France from Halifax (Nova Scotia) in (19)43. When I finished college, I decided that I was going to enlist, that’s all that I had decided. I was from a big family. I’ll enlist. If a battalion was advancing, we didn’t know what was going on. They just gave us orders to launch bombs at such-and-such location. We had vehicles that transported the cannons, same thing for the munitions. The munitions were placed on either side of the cannons on the cart. It was pretty heavy- 25 pounds (25-pound calibre campaign cannon), lengthwise. The men knew that I was firing. I sat on my bench to fire and took my measurements while they loaded (the munitions). We were placed well, that was decided beforehand by our commanders. The only thing I can say, we changed places, we went down to the forest… the Chemin de Napoléon (the Route Napoléon, a part of trunk road 85 connecting Golfe-Juan near Cannes to Grenoble), us in vehicles, but there were people on foot who were also descending. In France, it was pretty quick until Belgium. In Belgium we had a bit of (…). We were able to get to the Rhin relatively quickly as well. I was in the (Royal) 22e Regiment and I was supposed to take the rowboats that were going towards the Rhin. They sent us to England and there, they didn’t know what to do with us. They tried to train us and we didn’t want to. There were a lot of, little rebellions you could call them, among the soldiers. We were in a place called (…). We were stationed there. They wanted to train us (in 1945). We said, we’re not training. We’re fighting the war, we’ve been trained enough. So a group got together and they went into town and smashed windows and all sorts of things. So it wasn’t long until they boarded us on a ship and shipped us back to Canada.
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