Private Alexandre Sexton (in uniform) celebrating with friends.Alexandre Sexton
Private Alexandre Sexton at the time of his military service with the 2nd Battalion of Le Royal 22e Régiment, 1951-1953.Alexandre Sexton
Private Alexandre Sexton, Royal 22e Régiment.Alexandre Sexton
Mr. Alexandre Sexton, April 2012.The Memory Project
Private Alexandre Sexton.Alexandre Sexton
"Then I had to go to, with the same nurse, there [from a hospital in Japan]. She had a car, and she asked me one day to go with her to Hiroshima, where the atomic bomb went off, I went there with her. But when I got in this hospital I got out of there so fast, you can... I was crying. All these little babies all, they all “banged up,” you know, with this bomb - the effect afterwards. Radiation."
I grew up in Montreal, and two of my friends wanted to join up the army, so I got in with them. And in 1951, January of 1951, I was in the army. During these times the work, they had no work for the young people, you know. So, everybody was joining up on account of the manpower, you know, to go to a work site. The thing it was, salaries very low, you know. Maybe about $50 a week, you know, 50, maybe $35 a week even, in 1949 and 1951. So we joined up, and my friend went up with the Van Doos [nickname for soldiers of the Royal 22e Régiment]. And I went up to Borden [Ontario] for my basic training. And, the 15th of January, I went up to Borden; they sent me up to Borden because I speak English, you know, my name was English, so they sent me up there.
So I stayed about three months up in Borden. I liked the training they give me and everything like that; it was very good. And when I came back, they sent me back, I wanted to be a truck driver for the army, but they said I had to go back to the 22nd [the Royal 22e Régiment] and come back afterwards to Borden to try and get the, my licence with driving trucks and big trucks or bulldozers and things like that, you know. But I, it didn’t happen.
The first day I was in there [at the front], I was with Monsieur Dubé. We had this frontline here, and the “moraine” [accumulation of earth and stones] run like that. And over here there’s a machine gun start firing across, you know. But, not to hit nobody, just so, so... and, down in the gully on this side, there was one with a rifle shooting. So I opened fire on this guy. But, I then fired two, the bullets start coming, it cut the two guys I could see here, who cut it. I went down in my dark hole and I sat down there. And the other guy said, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” Okay, I not shoot no more.
Then I had to go to, with the same nurse, there [from a hospital in Japan]. She had a car, and she asked me one day to go with her to Hiroshima, where the atomic bomb went off [on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 at the end of the Second World War], I went there with her. But when I got in this hospital I got out of there so fast, you can... I was crying. All these little babies all, they all “banged up,” you know, with this bomb - the effect afterwards. Radiation.
It took me about 15 minutes. And she had a small mickey [small bottle of liquor], so she give me a couple [drinks]. I went back in there, but I didn’t like what I see. I didn’t like what I see.
And, even in Korea when I was up, changing mountains [defensive positions], and I came up to a base where the woman was laying down, and her little baby was in the ditch, all full of flies and everything. The little baby with- that I remember. She had shrapnel and she just pulled out the thing and she had all the breasts, all eaten up with the flies and everything. She had a [piece of] shrapnel around there. And I think, this is things I remember because I seen it, you know. And I, it comes back very often. Mostly for the little babies, you know.
And another thing when I was up there, in the, [Hill] 166, Monsieur Morin, he died, he’s dead already. He came back – he came past, Sergeant Morin, he came past me. Because he wanted to go on this spot and get some stuff that he forgot. That one day I was saying, we were down there and he sent the other one. So he wanted to go down so he says, “I’m going to get all these blankets” and things like that - he forgot his booze. So Monsieur Morin went by and after that, as soon as he came down, bang! - the explosion. Ah, I started running down, I went down, I was up in the minefield right up to him. I went up to him, I didn’t blow up. But right next to me there was one mine there, right next to me. But he blew up. He then, he got his two legs busted, but there, to Côté, “Get out of there! You’re in a minefield.”
And we didn’t know there was a minefield there. We never knew there was a minefield. As soon as we went, we came back by this road, and Monsieur Morin blew up in there. But I was there, I wanted to bring him out myself, you know. They said, “Don’t touch him, don’t touch him, get out of there, you’re in a minefield.” I was walking like a rabbit, you know? Trying to get past the minefield. I finally got out of there. But I was the first one that was with Mr. Morin when he blew up. But his two legs were finished. They’re not gone, but banged up, you know. He was walking with canes and things like that.