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Before, On and After VE-Day

Heroes Remember

Before, On and After VE-Day

Somebody came in when I was in the hospital, that was before I... in the recovery room. A woman came in with her daughter, with the daughter and they were stopping at the beds. They would be very nice, and when they stopped at my bed they asked me if they, if I could get some leave, they’d like me to go to their home for the weekend. Well I said, “I don’t know.” I said, “I’d have to ask the doctor or my nurse or the doctor.” So that’s what they did and you know something, they approved it for the weekend but they had to bring me back. We had to jump on the train and go for about a half an hour to where these people lived. And that was very nice, a little village, they were making parts. They were making parts for the military in the small little place, a garage somewhere hidden out in the small village. No kidding, I met the daughter again and that’s where she was working, doing war work. I joined the crowd. We had drinks and we were singing and dancing in the streets. It was quite a thing. I was, actually where I was in that village, I was the only Canadian. So, that didn’t make any difference because they knew me at the pub and the corner anyways because I went back again after. It wasn’t the only time I went there. They said if you can come back next weekend then we’ll go and pick you up again. So that, that carried on. I was given thirty days leave. Everybody that came off that draft from overseas, thirty days leave. They gave us a complete discharge. Any of the rest of the British money I had changed into Canadian. Then, a desk was set up with an officer and he wanted to know what I wanted to do. Did you want to go to work? Did you want to take your leave now, your thirty days leave? And we said, “Well, work. I don’t know if I want my thirty days leave.” But I said, “I want a job before that.” "Well," he said, “We have openings” he says, “at the Mint.” He said, “They want several people there. They’re going to mint the medals in the near future. In the meantime, they want people that can operate the machines and what not.” So I told my friend, I said, “Jeez, what do you say we... the hell, we’ll go on leave later.” So he gave us a note, we went to the Mint, we went and seen the manager and he insisted that we took our leave. We said we don’t want to, we want to go to work. But, anyways, we eventually, we did take. We were employed, he guaranteed that we were employed.

Mr. Champoux describes how he developed a friendship with a family in a village about 30 minutes away from the hospital where he was recuperating. He also describes how he and the villagers partied on VE-Day and how he decided to go work for the Canadian Mint instead of taking leave.

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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