Mlle Gabrielle Huneault

This story is submitted by Nicole L'Espérance, a Counsellor with the District Office in Montréal. Mlle Gabrielle Huneault is a client of Nicole's and Mlle Huneault has related her story to Nicole.

"Ms. Huneault worked for more than 4 years as a butcher during her military service in the Second World War. She was a member of the Women's Corps of the Canadian Army stationed in Montréal (St-Sulpice Barracks, next to the Atwater Market). She was the only woman to hold this job in the army and was therefore referred to as "The Butcher."

She is pictured in a photograph published in the newspaper La Presse during her military service. The article is entitled "Tout s'apprend" (One Can Learn Anything).

The author writes: Cutting up a quarter of meat is an art that can be learned and one that Corporal Huneault masters with great skill.

Gas Mask Girls

According to Ms. Huneault, she sometimes had to don a gas mask to work for the entire day just so she would be ready if her unit were called upon to go to the front (overseas). She says the equipment was very uncomfortable and hot to wear, but that she had no choice but to obey orders. She has a photograph of herself and two friends (the Provost sisters) wearing gas masks. She has stayed in touch with these women to this day.

Ms. Huneault also acted as a military police officer on many occasions. She was charged with transporting (often, by train in Ontario) women deserters who had been found. She says this was not an easy task.

This woman is now 90 years of age. She has a treasure trove of wonderful memories and a very interesting life history that is worth sharing. In spite of the wartime situation, she says she has many good things to look back upon."

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