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Poor Conditions of Starvation and Disease

Heroes Remember

Poor Conditions of Starvation and Disease

Up in the front lines, we were okay. We got food like the Germans did, but later I near starved in the prison camp, when I went to the prison camp. All we got was turnips and soup and lots of tea and coffee. It wasn’t regular coffee; it was like (inaudible). And you know the worst thing was louse, lice, and dirt and we weren’t separated from the Russians that were in one part of the prisoner of war camp, hundreds and thousands of them and they were dying. They never had no inoculation for lice, there is a disease they spread, and we did and that saved a lot of us. And they were tough, they were very tough. I’ll tell you one time. They bring them in by truckloads from the front, and this one Russian just lost his leg maybe the week before or days before and they helped him into there. The next morning I seen him stumping around the prisoner of war camp. They whittled a stump; they took a stump, they whittled that down and they put old straps and strapped him and he was walking on that leg. I don’t know how long he lasted but it is just amazing to see him get around there.

Mr. Couture describes the harrowing conditions in POW camp where so many prisoners lost their lives.

George Couture

Mr. George Couture was born in Pennsylvania, United States on November 5, 1924. At three years of age his widowed mother moved the family of five children to Selkirk, Manitoba at a time when Canada was experiencing the Great Depression. Signing up to serve his country, Mr. Couture tried two times and on his third attempt joined the infantry with the Winnipeg Rifles. He traveled overseas on Isle de France and through coincidence this was the same ship he returned home on after the war. Mr. Couture volunteered for service which resulted in him being part of the D-Day invasion on June 6, then on June 8th was captured as POW. Spending time in the prisoner of war camps and suffering the life of starvation and disease, Mr. Couture survived and was liberated on April 23, 1945. Returning home to Winnipeg, Mr. Couture continued to serve in the military and volunteered for the Korean War. After thirty years military service he retired from the Canadian military. He now resides in Calgary, Alberta.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 4, 2019
Person Interviewed:
George Couture
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Winnipeg Rifles
Prisoner of war

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