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A Three Day Battle in Holland

Heroes Remember

A Three Day Battle in Holland

We were getting closer to the east side of Holland, where they reclaimed the sea with these dikes. And dikes all over the place. The Winnipeg Rifles tried to get in over to the, what we thought was an island. There was an awful lot of firing going on between our side and, like the artillery firing, between our side and the German side. So the, the Winnipeg Rifles sent a patrol over there and there was only two out of ten that came back. The others were either killed or taken prisoner. We found out later that they were prisoner. But there were two of them, the two that were killed. So, what they decided, what the army decided to do then, the Canadian Army or whatever, or Eisenhower, that they were going to send troops to encircle them, go by, by landing craft with the Bren carriers and the mortars and the Vickers. But that meant going across a very large piece of water. And, now they had the ship from the, the English Channel, and also the big guns and we, our people put a, fired with the artillery smoke bombs. But the Germans weren’t crazy, they knew what was happening. And, they start firing on us when we were, a small beach that was picked and everything for us that we were going to land there. And, and then the smoke screens were not first class. They were, like the wind would disperse and make... you could see outside of the smoke screen. There wasn’t a good enough smoke screen, and that’s why we felt that the Germans were able to range on us. And when they found out about the place where we were landing, then they laid their guns on it. And Jesus when we landed there was just hell all over again. Like the D-Day... second D-Day, I tell you. It was that terrible. The firing was all over. And on my left, I saw one of the carriers.I never even found our who it was. One of the carriers that was hit and they had ammunition, mortar ammunition on it. And they just went and that was that. They were sending in infantry coming in with the, with the landing crafts. But the landing crafts, a lot of them were being hit, and our ammunition was running low, out. And for a long time, well what, an hour or so, what I figured is a long time when you’re engaged, you know, firing, and you don’t have any ammunition. So, anyways by this time we had lost some some men, and we got our ammunition back, and we were firing, and by golly I tell you we ran out again. So by this time its getting night, so there was a chance for them to get some more ammunition and bring it up. We were there for three days.

Mr. Champoux describes how, after the Winnipeg Riffles lost a lot of their men (on what seemed to be an island but was actually just across a wide river), the Canadian Army decided to send troops by water to encircle the Germans.

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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