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An Unexpected Feast Near Calais

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An Unexpected Feast Near Calais

We found a nice little farm, there was a courtyard, which was a lot in Europe. A lot of people have courtyards, privacy. So we, we went in there and the farmer and his wife was, were there and they were, they weren’t too happy. Because, I’m sure they thought that we were going to be firing weapons or whatever, engaging the enemy, and the Germans, the Germans were going to fire back. And they, they were quite concerned about losing their farm. Anyhow, we stayed there and that night, I was on guard duty, and I, I walked around the farm and everything. We had our carrier, our carriers hidden in the barn and everything, camouflaged. And I was going by that, that barn near the door and I heard, I heard a jerry can. This civilian was going to steal gas. When I heard that, it was one of the empty gas, so I, I went right in that door and I figured I’d see him. But he was there. And right away his hands up and everything. I said, “Ok quiet down, you come here.” I’m talking to him in French. So, he came and I said “What are you doing?” I said “What I can see there you were trying to steal some gas.” He went on to explain to me that he has a tractor and for five years that tractor never went. Maybe he was shooting the bull I don’t know, but anyways it made sense, you know. And I let him know that I wasn’t mad at him, and he showed me the tractor, he had a tractor. And he was quite glad I said “Look,” I said “Don’t worry about it. I must talk to my officer about this, see what we’re going to do with you.” And he said “Look,” he said “I have a couple of pigs.” and he said “If you’re here long enough your, you and your friends” he says “I’ll kill a pig and we’ll have pig meat.” Between the farmer, myself and the officer, we decided, you know, that would be a good thing, it would be something nice, something different. And the farmer had told me that he had the pig and he was ready to scald him and you know do him in. So, that’s what he did. It was a fair size pig. I would say probably a hundred and fifty pounds or, you know. There’s some bigger but that was a nice size. The first thing we know, the next morning, there was no word that we were going to move. He brought out the wine, different liqueurs, even had some of the French younger people. Some of them, one of them played a saxophone, the other one had a violin, what else, oh, a trumpet! And they were at the house, and by jeez we were chewing away on the pig and they were playing music for us. Just like that. It wasn’t for long, but then we jumped in our vehicles that day and went closer to Calais.

Mr. Champoux describes what happened when he was on night patrol on a farm near Calais and caught a civilian stealing their jerry cans of fuel for his tractor.

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
November 9, 2017
Person Interviewed:
Robert Arthur Champoux
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
13 Platoon - Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa
Machine Gunner

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