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Destruction on the Falaise Gap

Heroes Remember

Destruction on the Falaise Gap

Anyways, we finally got down the road quite a distance and we had to stop because all of a sudden there was a shell that blew up just behind our carrier somewhere, in the field, maybe twenty-five feet or so away. I didn’t stop to measure, both the officer and I we jumped out of that damn and, and the driver jumped out of that thing and it was a gully, a little gully. And boy we landed on our stomach down in there I can tell you. And the Jerry wasn’t, I don’t know whether he was a gunner that was doing this. Well, I mean a real anti-tank gunner. Because, he didn’t hit our vehicle. No, the Bren carrier is sitting down on the road. If he could see us when we came up there, he could still see that. So we’re waiting because he’s firing, but he’s not hitting. And along, I glanced in the back. We couldn’t hear, but I saw this jeep in the corner of my eye. It was an officer with a driver in a jeep, yeah. Now he stopped about twenty-five yards or feet ahead of us and he jumped out and he dove into the, into the thing. But the driver was on his way out and by golly he got hit. You know, his, his head wasn’t in the same place. I should probably not say that, but, it was just hanging. And I tell you, when there was a break in between we soon jumped in our vehicle and we got the hell out of there. But eventually, at the mouth of the closure, we found that there was still a lot of Germans and they were getting out. But up to that point, before, just before we got there. You know the prisoners were coming out with their arms up. You didn’t know whether they had a weapon and you had to watch. And then, some of the people, some of the soldiers, after being caught up there with their own people were taking bets that this time they’d probably get, “Oh I bet you I can get ten of them.” Take prisoners, not shoot them. But he says, “I bet you I can capture ten of them.” And then one says, “Oh no I can beat that.” No kidding! They’re betting invasion money against who’s going to bring in the most. No kidding, that’s what it was. And that’s why all that destruction all the way down that road that was, that followed along that area. But when we got to the top the opening was still very wide and there was several thousand that got out of there.

Mr. Champoux continues to describe the destruction on the road of the Falaise Gap. Many German soldiers were taken prisoner at this time and Allied soldiers were betting “Invasion Money” on how many prisoners they could capture.

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
Machine Gunner

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