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The Haystack Sniper

Heroes Remember

There was a big haystack to the side of us and also one of those windmill - the word evade me. We were looking in there and we found some butter. We hadn’t seen butter since way, way back. England had give us margarine from the First World War. So anyways we had a little treat. Unknown to us, there was a German sniper on top of that, on top of that haystack. And of course, the big thing there, the wheel, was next to that but about fifteen feet or so. Now he fired, no they very seldom miss. A sniper very seldom misses. They’re dead aim. The person we feared the most, you know is the sniper because the German snipers, I guess all of them. They climb trees and they tie themselves to the tree, and if if they’re hit then they don't crash down and kill themselves, if he’s wounded. And he’s got a rope maybe six feet long or whatever it is,and he’ll probably recover and get back in the tree. But this guy was on top of the haystack. Well I tell you. All he had to do was fire a couple of rounds and to my knowledge nobody was hit. But, to the side that I was, there’s the windmill there and there was the haystack And I’m, I see these two things falling from the haystack. I thought the German was going to be right behind it, but it was his rifle. And when it hit the ground, the telescope went one way and the rifle went another way. But I was thinking fast. I can, I can always get a German rifle but I may never get a telescope for a rifle. And that was, I love hunting. So, it was a sergeant that got it. “Well,” he says “you know,” he says “that scope,” he says “is no good for you, you know,” he says “unless you have the gun, the rifle.” “Ah, ah,” I said, “that rifle, I can get a rifle any day but I can’t get a telescope.” So, he says “I tell you what I do. If you, if you get killed or wounded before you,” you know we were speaking about each other, “whoever’s recovered gets the scope and the rifle.” Well, I’m the one that wasn’t lucky. That’s the place where I was wounded that day.

Mr. Champoux describes how, after finding a rare treat in a windmill, he and his comrades were the victims of sniper fire.

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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