Photograph of Jean-Marcel D'Aoust, 1995.Jean-Marcel d'Aoust
Photograph of Jean-Marcel d'Aoust on a motorbike, England, 1943.Jean-Marcel d'Aoust
Soldiers on the march in Saint Jérôme, Quebec 1943.
Jean-Marcel D'Aoust was responsible for the soldiers' training.
A convoy of military vehicles, 1945.Jean-Marcel d'Aoust
Jean-Marcel D'Aoust, with his mechanical engineers, England, 1941.Jean-Marcel d'Aoust
"It was never forced, it was always voluntary, that each soldier responded to the call to invade Dieppe or to invade Normandy."
My name is Jean-Marcel D’Aoust. As everybody knows, at 21 years of age, one absolutely had to serve their country! And as for myself, I was brave, no more so than any others, but somewhat brave, so I enrolled and was invited to take a soldier and second-lieutenant course at camp Saint Jérôme, which you all know of. After having received good grades at the camp, being the attentive student that I was, it was suggested that I become an officer, and I happily accepted. However the leadership asked me to march with a group from Saint Jérôme to Brockville, Ontario. It took us seven days and seven nights do it all, eat and everything, which took place outdoors over seven days. Our goal was to take the Brockville military camp, which was mostly English-speaking, to prove it to ourselves and to teach them what a military officer was, and would become.
After my course in Brockville, which I successfully passed, I became a second-lieutenant and I was sent to Farnham in the province of Québec to qualify as a lieutenant, a full lieutenant. After several months of training in Farnham, I was sent to England. In England, I was a lieutenant and [then] captain in the 6th CITRU Regiment [Canadian Infantry Training Regiment], in French it was called the French Canadian Regiment of the 6th Brigade (Régiment canadien français de la 6e brigade). There, I became qualified to prepare the troops to suffer, and possibly die, on the beach at Dieppe. As you all know, Dieppe was unsuccessful. But due to our experience at Dieppe, we learned a lot of things. This is what led us to win the war in Normandy, on the beaches of Normandy.
I was the Captain of the camp at Saint Jérôme and this is where I showed soldiers who had enlisted voluntarily or who were called by the government how to walk with their heads held high, their hands low at their sides, looking straight ahead and how to walk, left, right, left, right all together. And it was these paces that helped me become a captain and to be transferred to the military camp in Whitley which was not far from London. I always loved being a teacher. I always liked showing others how to speak, what to say, how to walk and how to be a soldier. If you aren't a good solider, whether it is while working or at attention, you cannot win a war. Fortunately, all of my soldiers were well trained and, and they really wanted, I believe, to participate in a war which was well done, they listened well and for which the warriors were volunteers. You know that, as a warrior, you have to want it. Maybe we were pushed; the government expects Canada serve during a war. But to go and fight against an enemy, it's this guy who decided, who was asked and who accepted to go to the front line and fight the enemy. It was never forced, it was always voluntary, that each soldier responded to the call to invade Dieppe or to invade Normandy.