Veteran Stories:
Charles Marinier

Air Force

  • Booklet from Wing - Map of Travels.

    Charles Marinier
  • Official Programme of the Victory Celebrations, June 8, 1946.

    Charles Marinier
  • Charles Marinier at St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, January 29, 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"I was a truck driver. I had 1600 gallons of gas behind me. I was pretty tense when we crossed over and got off the barge!"

Transcript

I was 17 and-a-half years old. I knew that they would call me up for mandatory service when I turned 18. When I found that out, I went to Montreal to enlist in the army, in the [Royale] 22e Régiment. They didn't want to take me since I was only 17 and-a-half. So I went to Bishop Street to enlist in the air force. They accepted me right away. I took my exams and all that. I joined up on February 19, 1941. There was an opening in the air force because they needed air gunners. So I applied. They accepted me. I went to Mont-Joli to take the air gunner training. Everything was going well until I went to take the test; I didn't speak enough English and they didn't take me. So since I was GD [General Duties], they transferred me to weaponry. When I was in Toronto, I received the call to head overseas to England. I spent a week in Toronto. I had a girlfriend. So I spent a week there and then afterwards I returned to St-Jean to spend a week at my parents' place. Then I reported to Halifax. I went over to England on the [SS] (Louis) Pasteur. From there, we arrived in Bournemouth, England. From there, we went by train to Portsmouth. We stayed there. After, we left there – it was a week, 15 days. Then we went by train to form our 128th airfield, or in other words, our squadron. From there, we crossed over to France, three or four days after D-Day, I believe. We arrived at Saint-Côme [de-Fresné], near Bayeux. We crossed over from there. I was a truck driver. I had 1600 gallons of gas behind me. I was pretty tense when we crossed over and got off the barge! From there, we travelled through France, Belgium, Holland and we ended up in Lüneburg, Germany. That's where Montgomery signed the peace treaty in 1945. I had signed up to go to Japan and then to Korea. I returned to England by plane. In the meantime, the Americans dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. So I stayed in England. I had a girlfriend and we got married. Her name was Jocelyn Cook, she was from Grove Park. We met in Reading, England. She was on vacation there. We met and corresponded and I went to visit her in London a few times, so on and so forth. We got married. When I asked her father for her hand he said, ''You'll have to wait until she's 16''. I said, what? She was so tall for my height and she was so well-built, I had assumed that she was about my age. So I was surprised when they said I had to wait until she was 16 but I waited and then we got married. I was 22 at the time and she was a bit older than 16. I returned to Canada and she followed shortly thereafter. It's at that point that I left the air force because she was coming here to St-Jean. My parents couldn't speak any English and she didn't speak any French at all. I spoke English because I had learned quite a bit from her, more than French!
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