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Injured by a Potato Masher

Heroes Remember

Injured by a Potato Masher

Did a little bit of surgery on my face, plastic surgery, fixed up my hands. I was in the hospital about nine, ten days I guess it wasn't too long. And they gave me a leave, the hospital. I went to Scotland, toured around England for nine days. Reported back about six o'clock that night, look at the draft board and my name is on it. Six o'clock the next morning I was headed back for France. And back in action. Interviewer: Now you were no longer the naive young boy that you were when you went first. No. Interviewer: What was your attitude going back the second time Mr. Letendre? Well it's quite a big difference. When I was in the first time it seemed like I had no fear, it seemed like I was just doing the job that...I wasn't worried about death, nothing. I knew it was happening but it didn't seem to bother me. But when I went back second time, when the airburst start going over and shellfire started going over my head, I find myself hitting the ground when I didn't have to. I was nervous. Maybe because the reality now setting in, I don't know. But it took awhile again to, I never did get back to that feeling of no fear. And I always said to myself or other people. When you hit that stage, you become the best soldier you could ever be. Because you are just there to do what you have to and the fear of dying is not there. It's when you get scared, the fear of dying, you don't become as a good a soldier. That's what I found with me. Interviewer: You rejoined the Calgary Highlanders? Yeah, same company, same platoon, same corporal, he was still there. Yeah we had some boys there from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland in the Calgary Highlanders. They're from all over.

Injuries to his face and hands, the result of a thrown "potato masher," put Mr. Letendre in an England hospital for about ten days. Then, following a two-week leave, he found himself on the way back to the action in 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
Battle of Normandy
Calgary Highlanders

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