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The Machine Gunner

Heroes Remember

I was in number one on the machine gun, we went on ranges and everything. We had competitions to give you training in what we call traverse. You know you hit the one side of the gun, the handles and just to move it a couple of degrees. You didn’t want to go like this, this is not Hollywood. You are trying to save ammunition, to kill somebody really, let’s face it. So we learned how to operate and do that. Interviewer: How many members were there to a gun crew? Four, and there was a driver, he helped to bring up ammunition with a number three. I had a number two. He’s the one that fed the belts into, into the machine gun. Now when he wanted more ammunition you get used to what, what is required, how much is fired. The number three, number four would carry some of the ammunition up and the driver if needed. But he would, usually he would go back further with the Bren carrier away, just so that you don’t have everybody at the same place. Interviewer: Would there normally be four guns to a platoon? All the time. There were two sections the senior section with two gun and the junior section with two gun. But it was only a division still you were all together. But it could be, like when we were in Iceland, we only, we only had like the senior division, the two guns, that’s why I mentioned only the two guns there. But further down the ocean beach, the other two guns were there, but they, they belonged to the same platoon number thirteen.

Mr. Champoux describes the duties of a machine gun crew.

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
North Atlantic Ocean
13 Platoon - Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa
Machine Gunner

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