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From Canada to England to France

Heroes Remember

From Canada to England to France

I didn't really feel bad you know or anything like that. No, I was quite contented. I got sick on the way. I was over on the Empress of Scotland, I went over on. Interviewer: Did that vessel sail in convoy or was it sailing alone? All alone, no, no help. Interviewer: Where did it land Mr. Letendre? I think we went to Liverpool, I'm not to sure now but I think it was Liverpool. Interviewer: Do you remember the month and year that it landed? Yep, that was just then end of June. Around about the end of June, maybe the first of July, somewhere around there, around that time. Interviewer: 1944? 1944 yeah. Interviewer: D-day landings had occurred earlier that month. They were about a month old. Interviewer: What was the mood in England when you arrived now that D-day had...... Well as the English would say, chirpy you know. Yeah, everybody was in high spirits that we had taken a foot hold and we were progressing, were advancing. Everybody seemed to look forward to victory I guess. Interviewer: From Liverpool where did you new recruits go, or new replacements go? Well we went to Aldershot and we stayed there for about ten, twelve days or something. Til I guess they got some boats to get us over. Then we went to France, went on a little tug-boat, we were all caved in, in that little boat. Interviewer: Where did you land? Some place in France I don't recall where it was but. I don't recall where it was but it wasn't too far away anyway from the front. Interviewer: At that time were you aware of which unit you were going to reinforce? No, no I didn't. Interviewer: After you landed in France, where did you go? That's where I was posted to a unit, that was the Calgary Highlanders. Interviewer: What did you know about the Calgary Highlanders? Nothing. Interviewer: When you got there, what was your first impression? Well I looked around, and put me to a platoon. And a platoon consisted of 39 men, fully equipped and there was nine. And there was two of us reinforced to platoon. And that's the way it was all the way through. One-third strength all the time. We were short all the time. Interviewer: Did the men that you joined, did they tell you how they lost the other two-thirds of their platoon? No, they said, "Just be careful, this is the real thing."

In the Spring of 1944, the Empress of Scotland sailed from Halifax with 15,000 members of the Canadian Army on board, including Mr. Letendre. He recalls having no strong feelings on leaving Canada for England. Once there, he quickly finds himself heading for France.

Hugh Victor Letendre

Mr. Letendre was born on March 4, 1925 in the small hamlet of Lac Ste-Anne, Alberta. As a Métis, he grew up speaking Cree, French and English. He came from a large family with one brother and eight sisters. His father was a trapper and did a lot of commercial fishing. Mr. Letendre learned how to hunt and fish from his father.

When he was 11 years old he became the janitor for the one-room school that he also attended as a student. He would sweep the floors, make the fire in the morning, and haul water and coal. For all that, he was paid $4.00 a month which he gave back to his family because they had very little money at the time.

He enlisted at the age of 18 and served during the Second World War as a rifleman with the Calgary Highlanders. His overseas deployment included time serving in the Normandy Campaign after D-Day. After the war he became a leader of Canada's Aboriginal Veterans Association.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Hugh Victor Letendre
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Calgary Highlanders

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