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Keeping the Peace

Heroes Remember

Well, there was firing every night on the line. And I mean a lot of it was, you know, reactive. The Turks were probably more disciplined than the Greek. The Greeks were basically, the officers it seemed left the line at night and everything was in charge of a corporal or a sergeant and one incident that happened was my driver and I were on the line and machine gun fire opened and you could see the tracers going from the Greek side to the Turkish side. So we're approaching and you see the tracers. So I start, I told him, “honk the horn, honk the horn,” and we're lit up. It's the UN flag is lit up and so on. So he's honking and as we're approaching the intersect line the firing stopped. We drove through and I went to the Turkish check point and I told them, “just keep thing in check, I'll get back to you.” Drove over to the Greek side and I asked, “What's going on?” and they said, “Well, one of the soldiers, his last night on the line and he's intoxicated and he's going to kill all the Turks before he leaves. That's his last night and he's out of the service after tonight.” And I said, “Well, what are you going to stop him?” “Oh, nothing.” I said, “Well you better or else you'll all be dead by morning!” So one of them took a rifle butt and clamped him on the side of the head and knocked him out and that's how they stopped him from firing. That is one little story that you know, you wouldn't think something irrational like that would go on but it did. And there were stories every night of something going on in the line. And our young soldiers were phenomenal in quelling, quieting, and coercing the individuals to stop because sometimes there were only fifteen feet apart. And they'd be throwing rocks at each other and yelling and all this. It was quite, '75 was quite active.

With incidents happening every night between the Turks and the Greeks, Mr. Gallant often had to intervene in order to keep people from getting killed.

Fred Gallant

Born into an Acadian family in Mont-Carmel, Prince Edward Island, Mr. Gallant joined the Army and rose to the rank of Captain. He served two tours in Cyprus as part of the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) during the 1970s and 1980s as Battery Captain. His methods helped many soldiers and his interventions most likely saved the lives of his own, and many Greeks and Turks. Years later, now a Major, he became a UN Military Observer as part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), maintaining the peace between Israel, Lebanon and Syria. He worked in all three middle eastern countries and has some eye opening stories to tell.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Fred Gallant
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Montreal Regiment

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