Veteran Stories:
Rene Gallant

Army

  • An unidentified trainee riding a Norton motorcycle during a despatch riders’ training course, Bordon, England, 1 May 1942.

    George A., Photographer, Mikan Number: 3225476
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"And then we went different places. But the places I remembered the most would be like Nijmegen, where we slept again in the woods. We spent a winter in the woods there."

Transcript

… went up by the trains of Aldershot and took the train up into … France ... And that’s where we got off. It was raining that day and it was night time. And there was a lot of guns going off and I witnessed some trees fly up in the air from the bombs and stuff like that. And that’s where I went, I kept asking where I was. And they told us that we were at Martin-Eglise was the name of the place. It was also Calvados. I got familiar with somebody living in that place and I went inside and because I could talk French, I was able to talk with the guy. And he gave me some, we called that white whiskey then, you know. And the name of the whiskey was Calvados. And that’s where I started. And from there, we went into France, we went all the way, we kind of went around, up until Brussels and Belgium. And from Brussels, Belgium, then we went to Ghent in Belgium. And then we went different places. But the places I remembered the most would be like Nijmegen, where we slept again in the woods. We spent a winter in the woods there. So we were hiding in the woods in Nijmegen, we were supposed to, there was a bridge there and we had to take care of it because the Germans wanted to blow that bridge. I guess that’s the reason we were down there, to protect that. And then we got shelled many times there. And I got shelled by the Germans there, like we were on the middle of the crossing with shells about 25 feet away at four different directions from where we were hiding. And I remember this guy that came into the action during the shelling, he came in to where we were hiding in the dugouts and I was under the ground sheet and then he was yelling; he wanted some attention. And his face was full of blood and he had, one the shells exploded near him. And he had all kinds of, I suppose, sand and stuff in his face. And I was afraid, I thought he was a German so I took my gun and then I, his name was Nick …, he knows the story of that one. Nick had just gotten out of the hospital, he had rejoined us.
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