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Camaraderie

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Anchor: When spending long periods of time away from home and family, dealing with constant bombings and witnessing death all around you, a friend is sometimes all you have...

Raymond Tremblay: We were like our own little gang. We all knew one another. We knew what each of us was capable of… or not. That's how it was.
(Image of soldiers sharing a meal and a beer around a table)

Gérard Dauray: We were good buddies. We tried to help one another, and... to have fun, to smile, to laugh. But there were some … who were really down. But we always tried to pick their spirits up.
(Image of three smiling soldiers holding each other over the shoulders)

Jean-Émile Paillé: There was one little Newfoundlander with us. He was really funny. He would have made a good living if he had been on TV. When we were on "stand to" . . . we all had to be awake and quiet, and it was boring. No talking, no nothing. But he just couldn't help himself. He used to tell jokes. Good jokes, y'know, not dirty ones. He made us laugh. He had a way of making us laugh no matter what was going on. A guy like that was worth his weight in gold!

Arthur Lortie: We were given a beer a day in Korea. That's what they gave us, one beer a day. It was Japanese beer.
(Image of three soldiers standing up in front of a mountain. Two soldiers hold a bottle of beer and the middle one holds a camera)

Raymond Tremblay: The rations truck drove right into where they had built a fire and got stuck there! In the fire! The guys were yelling, "Forget the truck! Save the beer! Forget the truck!" To hell with the truck, we had to save that beer!

Arthur Lortie: What we used to do was buy a few bottles of beer from the guys who didn't drink. We gave them a buck a beer. We had money, military money called script money. We gave a dollar for a big bottle of beer. When we had two, three and started getting tipsy, then we'd say, "I won't be guarding tonight. Take my shift, and I'll return the favor. Next time it'll be your turn." We had a little arrangement amongst ourselves so that we could get a good night's sleep, a little down time in one of the dugouts.

Raymond Tremblay: We used to play cards. We loved to play cards! That's for sure! It was all we had to fight boredom.

Noel Knockwood: Christmas Day all activities stopped. We used to play Christmas carols over the wireless sets and over the systems that we had. And you could hear Christmas carols on the front lines and that kind of made everything kind of quiet and I kind of remember that particular time when the moon was shining bright.

Charles Trudeau: I remember that at midnight on Christmas Day, the planes dropped flares and it was as bright as it is in here. Y'know, flares with parachutes? They burn for about 10 minutes. They dropped a whole bunch of them over our positions. And after that, they dropped different coloured phosphorous bombs . . . blue, red, yellow . . .

Noel Knockwood: That kind of made you feel nice that it was Christmas Day. At least we're not fighting, at least it's peaceful today.

Jean-Paul Savary: We used to go on leave to Japan. They called it R and R. Rest and Recuperation.

Raymond Tremblay: In Japan, we chased women, we drank and we had fun. We had money because we hadn't spent any. That's how things were done!

We played hockey against the Australians. I think we beat them 100 to 0. They couldn't skate!

Ronald Guertin: When we played, we Canadians would grab a guy by the arm and play with him, y'know? When it came time to change nets, we went to get the other team's goalie and drag him over. We had a lot of fun!

Charles Trudeau: The best friend you have in the army is the guy next to you, because he might be the one to save you. Even if he's the person you hate the most, you still respect him when you're in the line of fire. He might be the one to save your life.

Gerald Edward Gowing: At that moment they're the best friends that you have, okay. Don't matter family, others, they're the best friends that you have. They do the same for you as you do for them.

Luther Ferguson: Your primary responsibility as we understood it, and I believe this to be true today, is to your fellow members and these people, the people that you were with are brothers.

Roland Boutot: We were a family. If one of us had something it was..."Hey, what's eating you? Can I help you?" There was a lot of camaraderie. There was no problem in that respect. And losing just one made us sad. It made us really sad.

Jack Mackay: When you lose friends in action, when you're overseas and they're buried in a foreign country that affects you.

Gerald Edward Gowing: To see somebody shot is not a nice thing. If you hear somebody holler, you know how bad they were hurt.

Jean-Émile Paillé: When he got shot, it was like a punch hole...

Gerald Edward Gowing: It's a tough situation to be in when you lose a buddy, a good buddy.

Luther Ferguson: Even today I have more feeling for my comrades than I have for family. They are, these guys are more my brothers than my biological brothers. I don't know if you can feel that or understand that but that's how it is.


Did you know ...

A Canadian infantryman carried 100 rounds of ammunition, 3 grenades, and a pick or shovel.

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