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Orphan Children

Heroes Remember

We looked after an orphanage. The sisters, there was a group of nuns from Quebec City. They had some type of a place they used to stay there, and they took over an orphanage. We didn't know about the orphanage. We knew about the place where the sisters lived because they left when the war started. They had a chance to get out so they got out. But they asked, I guess, our, one of the chief warrant officer, they asked him if you could look after our place. So we did. So when we arrived, the first thing we did we went and secured the place. So make sure nobody goes in there. We used that place as the R&R for us. A place to rest. A place where you can go without a weapon, without a flak jacket, without a helmet. That was a big plus, just to go there and relax and there you get up you don't have to wear a uniform, you can wear a t-shirt and a pair of shorts and just a place to, really to let it out, have a couple of beers with the boys. Just next door to it was an orphanage. Must have been about 25, 30 babies in there and we looked after them. We gave them food. I wrote my wife and I said, if you can send me things for the babies, candies, so she went and saw the manager of one of the stores in Kingston whose father was with us, I didn't know that, his kid was working there, and my wife bought, I can't remember how many boxes of candies and she mailed it to me in Rwanda and we took them to the orphanage. To them it was Christmas every day just to have candies. It was sad, really. That stayed with me a lot, the kids and, you know, the way they were, because they had nothing. My god, there they had, the nuns left and how on earth, just day-to-day stuff, and kids die over there.

Mr. Desmeules speaking about their contingent’s unusual circumstance of caring for children at an orphanage who were left alone.

Mike Desmeules

Mr. Desmeules was born in 1950 in Jean Pierre, Quebec. With little work in his hometown community, Mr. Desmeules decided to join the armed forces, considering it as an opportunity to travel. At 18 years of age Mr. Desmeules initially joined the Navy taking up the service occupation of administrative clerk. With this occupation being very generic to all branches of service, Mr. Desmeules later joined with the army and in 1975 accepted an opportunity to travel to Egypt with the Signal Regiment. In 1995, Mr. Desmeules accepted a posting to Rwanda, again in the administrative field of occupation. Upon return to Canada, Mr. Desmeules made the switch back to navy service and retired when 30 years of service was achieved. Mr. Desmeules and his family took up residence in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Mike Desmeules
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Canadian Signals Corps

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