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Invasion Scare in Iceland

Heroes Remember

Invasion Scare in Iceland

With those big waves that went over our huts we decided if there was going to be another one that we were going to get out of there. But anyways, it ended up that I was on guard with another fella near the main dock and we had an agreement between the two of us. One of us could get out and go around the big warehouse and make sure that everything was fine. The British operated that as a matter of fact right at the docks. Rations and soldiers came through there and everything. But, I was around the building when got down to the back of it I heard the machine gun go. And I knew that it was ours, the sound, you know you, there’ a difference in sound with the German machine gun than ours. And I said, “What the hell is going on?” So I hurried and went back to the gun pit. And there he is just firing away. So I’m looking through the slit and what had happened when the storm came up, there’s a big break water on the left of the docks with a, a walkway or a vacant way that went to the island and an entrance. They could put about thirty or forty fishing vessels. And by the way their fishing vessels were all the same. They look like a toy at sea. They look like a toy boat with masts, with sails. But what had happened, the storm had uprooted this one particular guy. I guess his mourning was broken. And it was right, it was coming at us the wind was pushing it right towards us and that young lad, I call him young lad because I think I was a year or so older. He’s from Ottawa and I remember him very well I, I met him a few years ago. He thought the Germans were landing and he was firing this god damn thing, this thing rather. And well I said, “Stop, I said it’s a boat that’s broke off, from the, from the others.” Well, I tell you the first thing I know a jeep came up and red caps in their and one of our officers wanting to know what the hell was happening. They, they thought there was going to be a stand to a standby for everybody because the Germans were landing. No, (inaudible) oh that was a big goof. But it turned out that, you know, we told them the story, and, that we never heard anymore about it. But I imagine our government had to buy a boat anyway.

Mr. Champoux recalls how a case of mistaken identity was taken for the beginnings of a German invasion..

Robert Arthur Champoux

Mr. Champoux was born in Hull, Québec on March 21st, 1921. He lived there until the age of 8 when his father, a First World War Veteran, moved the family to Ottawa. Mr. Champoux had three brothers and four sisters; he was the third oldest child. When the war broke out he was attending Ottawa Technical High School. He left school, after his first year, to join the Army after failing to join the Navy and the Air Force (who were not yet recruiting). He left for Europe July 17th, 1940 and ended up stopping in Iceland where he remained for the next 10 months. Mr. Champoux’s wartime service saw him fighting on D-Day and in the Falaise Gap. He also fought in Calais and later on in Holland where he was wounded. Mr. Champoux got a job with the Mint upon returning to Canada. He joined the army again in 1948 retiring in 1965.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Robert Arthur Champoux
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
13 Platoon - Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa

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