The Wartime Memories Project - Canadian Army - Fusiliers Mont-Royal

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Fusiliers Mont-Royal cvan be traced back to the Mount Royal Rifles raised in 1869 in the French part of Montreal. It was a "bilingual" regiment, French being the native language, with English being used for training and fighting. At the outbreak of teh Second World War, young French speaking Québécois flocked in great numbers to volunteer for service with Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal as they expected that in this unit they would not be hindered because of their language as they may have been in English speaking units.

My father was with the Fusiliers Mont-Royal regiment. He landed in Normandy on July 8th, 1944. On Aug.10, 1944 he was listed as missing in action, later reported POW , number 70754 in Stalag 357. He was liberated by the British in May 1945. Then sent to Scotland for recuperation before returning to Canada. My father passed away in October 1992. He, like so many others did not talk about his war experiences. My husband and I in 1990 visited Normandy and only then did my father talk about the war. He told us where he saw action and where his best friend was killed. We visited the cemetery and showed my father pictures. He was quite moved and I am so happy we went before my dad died in 1992. My father's war records do not give us much information, and I have requested more information from them and I hope to learn more.

Thank you for this wonderful site and for your work and dedication. Also thank you to all the men and women who served our country with pride and valour.

My father, Georges J. Rollin, enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1940. He underwent basic training in Farnham, Quebec. On June 26, 1942 his unit was transferred to le Regiment de Chateauguay. On August 29, 1942 he married my mother, Louisa Jean Downey in Montreal, Quebec. After a 3 day honeymoon he was transferred overseas. He set sail from Halifax aboard SS Athlone Castle on 30 Sept 1942, disembarking UK on Oct 7, 1942.

My father was posted with the Second Canadian Division, near the town of Lewes, East Sussex, UK. At this time he was transferred to the Regiment Fusiliers Mont-Royal [FMR]. It is of interest to note that two French Canadian Regiments, Fusiliers Mont-Royal and Le Regiment de Maisonneuve were stationed in that area of East Sussex. Like my father, many of the French Canadian soldiers were direct descendents of the Normans who settled in New France in the 16th, and 17th centuries. These French Canadian boys were preparing to invade their ancestral homeland.

From Oct. 1942 until July 1944, in my father's letters to my mother, it is clear he was proud to be with the Canadian Forces and endeavored to do his best. Although he never complained and seemed to be in good humour, it is quite clear that he missed everyone back home in Montreal. On July 6, 1944 he embarked for Normandy, France. My father saw action in Carpiquet, Tilly La Campagne, Varriere Ridge and Falaise. On Aug 10, 1944 my father was reported Missing in Action.

He officially became a POW, number 70754 in Stalag 357, on Nov. 2, 1944. He was forced marched through France into Belgium, passing through Trier into Germany, heading towards Poland. He finally ended up in Stalag 357 in Follingbostal, Germany. There he managed to survive the winter, the lack of food and extremely harsh conditions. He told my brother he tried to escape while working in the potato fields but was caught hiding in a railway car. After spending time in solitary confinement he never tried to escape again. He said the food was extremely inadequate; the boys lived for the Red Cross packages and the occasional package from home. By March 1945 the guys knew it was just a matter of time before they would be liberated. My dad said one morning they woke up to find their guards were gone. He was liberated by the British and on May 11, 1945 was sent to a farm near Kilmarnock, Scotland, for rehabilitation before returning to Canada.

Dad sailed home on the SS Acquitania, arriving in Halifax on June 26, 1945. My dad returned to civilian life and was employed by Stelco Canada for over 35 years. He and my mother raised 4 children on Angers Street in Montreal, Quebec. My dad passed away in 1992.

Landing Beach Arramanches NormandyMonument Carpiquet Normandy

My husband, daughter and I visited France in 1990 and toured the landing beaches in Normandy and the towns where my father had engaged in battle. We visited the Canadian War Cemetery at Bretteville sur Laize where my father's friend Cpl Albert Fortin FMR H-17910, from St. Boniface, Manitoba, died on Aug 8, 1944. May he rest in peace and lest we forget.
War Cemetery Bretteville sur Laize


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