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The Walk with No Food or Shelter

Heroes Remember

The Walk with No Food or Shelter

Stalag 11B on the Rhine that’s where they put us in the prisoner camp. From there, we went by train to, I was going to say Lübeck, that’s where I got liberated, to Poland and the Russians come in around Christmas or around there at the time I wasn’t sure, and we went on the road and walked. Now what I considered a lot of people have said we walked over 1200 miles and no food, and the only thing that saved us was wintertime. Went on the road after, about three days after Christmas or even New Years, and over there the Europeans the animals live right close together, with the people. The hayloft here and the building, like they all live together and they had these big pots that they’d cook turnips in, and other things, potatoes.That’s where we’d sleep when we hit come maybe there would be fifty miles, we’d go, and we’d sleep in that farmer's yard and during the night we’d eat all that pig food, and the pigs would have nothing in the morning. One time, I couldn’t eat it, we killed a cat, strangled a cat, and it was so slimy we couldn’t eat it, even as hungry as we were couldn’t eat that. Poor cat. And we’d walk about I’d say roughly thirty, forty miles a day. The guards would have a hayrack and like a (inaudible) tractor pulling it, and you know where they got the fuel for that tractor, from manure. Them Germans were pretty smart, they had developed this system, and the guards got tired they just jumped on the rack and us old guys would walk behind.

Mr. Couture tells of the hundreds of miles walked with little hope for survival.

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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