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Life Aboard the Louis Pasteur

Heroes Remember

Life Aboard the Louis Pasteur

We came from Shilo directly to Halifax, and we boarded the Louis Pasteur, which was in peace time was a French cruise ship. And the conditions on board ship, well, for the number of people that were there, weren't too bad. The quarters were very, very close and some of us slept on the deck and others slept in hammocks, and so on. You see, there were something like five to six thousand troops on the ship. And like I say we, you know, we all had our wings and so on, so you recognize with who... And a lot of us had qualified together, you see, so it was a rather closely-knit group and we had very little to do with the, the other troops that were on the vessel. I think it took us something in the order of... The Louis Pasteur was a fairly fast vessel, possibly fast enough to outrun the submarines that they were chiefly concerned with, and I think it took us possibly five, five and a half days to go from, from Halifax to England and, but the conditions weren't bad and, you know. It was the usual line up for meals and of course, it was our first introduction to English bangers. A sausage, and 50% of it was made of bread, made from bread. So, it was quite a shock to our systems these English... And other things that we ate while we were going over were quite a, quite a change from what we had been used to in Canada, but other than that, personally, I didn't, I didn't find it uncomfortable or anything like that. We didn't, while we were in, in transit, we didn't have any alerts. You know, we weren’t alerted because of a submarine scare or, you know, a U-boat rather, and that sort of thing. So, no, going over, it wasn't, it wasn't, wasn't bad at all.

Mr. Melanson talks about his crossing aboard the Louis Pasteur as she sailed to England.

Russel C Melanson Sr.

Mr. Melanson was born in Mill Village, Nova Scotia, on August 16, 1922. He worked on a farm and in the woods, and completed his education before his first attempt to enlist. He was turned down by the navy as he was underage. Similarly, after joining the West Novies, an artillery regiment, he was discharged for being underage. He was finally accepted into the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and completed his basic training in Shilo, Manitoba. Once overseas, he was attached to the 3rd Brigade, 6th Airborne Division. Mr. Melanson's first action was at the Battle of the Bulge. His second was the Allied /Russian advance into Germany from the east. After leaving the army, Mr. Melanson became a hydrographer, and retired as the Regional Hydrographer, Bedford Institute of Oceanography.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Russel C Melanson Sr.
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
1st Canadian Parachute Battalion

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