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SemperParatus

a WW2 Royal 22e Régiment Medal and Souvenir Group

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Hey Folks,

I thought I'd share a souvenir and medal group which belonged to my great uncle Robert Bleau, a Sergeant in the R22eR who served from the outset and fought in Italy and the Netherlands. He died when I was young but I remember him as always being the life of the party at family events. He passed down his war souvenirs to my uncle who in turn passed  them down to me - turns out my uncle had everything jammed into a ziploc bag! Everything is now appropirately stored.

 

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This  is how it arrived... :wacky: 

 

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His medals group. Sadly the Defence Medal is missing.

 

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Postwar cap badge for veteran events.

 

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ID Discs.

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The CVSM ribbon from his battledress.

 

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War trophy - A German Naval Artillery War Badge (Kriegsabzeichen für die Marineartillerie).

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War trophy - an Italian map.

 

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An excerpt Robert kept from his field message pad from the Italian Campaign.

 

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Army training manuals.

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A Demobilization booklet and a patriotic British empire magazine in French - Robert who was French-Canadian through and through was a staunch Canadian Federalist and hated the Seperatist movement until the day he died.

 

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And finally, the man himself.

 

 

 

 

Edited by SemperParatus

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Tres bien!  The notepad page is a nice touch.  Are the crossed off names casualties or...?

My first girlfriend at uni was the daughter of a Canadian soldier stretcher bearer.  One of his tales was of almost getting 'done up' by some Vandoos in a taverna in  Italy.  He had been recently attached to the North Novas [I thinkl] who apparently had an historic feud with the 22nd and, all unknowing, walked into a bar full of Vandoos but was rescued in a nick of time by his new comrades! ;)

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Hah nice story Peter. 

I can only recall 2 often repeated stories of Robert's but in minimal detail as I was a kid at the time.

During one of the most intense artillery barrages he endured, at Cassino, he ran into a what he thought was a foxhole. He quickly found out it was a latrine, but couldn't leave it. It was funny later in life but not at the time...

Another is that at one point in the war the boys were fed up and burnt out. So, while inside a church, they put some uniforms helmets and rifles up on statues and other debris to act as "sentries" and they all went to the basement and raided the wine cellar.

As for the message pad excerpt - the crossed out names were men who were struck off strength for various reasons, which are noted beside the name:

Evacué is wounded.

Transf. short for Transferée is, of course, Transfered. 

And we all know A.W.L

The notations (c) and (m) beside the names are marital status:

(c) = célibataire - Single

(m) = marrié - Married.

Out of that list, E/11051 Private Pierre Gosselin was killed in action during the Liberation of the Netherlands. 

And now for my most prized possession out of the lot; this is a Catholic Virgin Mary icon Robert kept with him throughout the war.

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(Matchbook included for scale)

There is a handmade metal case for it, and it was blessed by the Pope when he held an audience for the Van Doos in July 1944. He credited this with keeping him safe and getting through the war in one piece. When he died in 1997 it went to my grandfather, who in turned passed it on to me when I became a policeman - I carry it in my body armour... so far so good!

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by SemperParatus

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Lovely relic!  I just saw another religious icon on a different site: a small staue in a carrying cazse, apparently picked up in France in war One.

'Dr. John', as he was known, had a story about getting shelled while reading a letter about  his brother, who'd been blown up by shelling because he sheltered to near an ammo truck.  Dr. John was reading the letter when he got mortared and rolled under the nearest soild object for shelter, thinking 'What a silly way to die!'.  After 2-3 random shells the stonk stopped, at which point he realized he was under a petrol bowser!

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TacHel   

Nice stuff, great family history.  If you haven't yet visited the R22R museum in the Quebec citadelle, I urge you to do so in the future.  When you do, bring your uncle's items, especially photos and the note books, I guarantee you the curator will be interested.  The medal collection at the citadelle is the largest I've seen to date.

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Peter, a great story as always.

Frank, glad you like it. Sadly, I've only seen the Citadel from outside when I was a boy. I went back to Quebec City a few years ago for Carnaval but I spent most of the time drinking Caribou out of a hollow cane... My plan is to go back in the summer time in a couple years and take my family to the Changing of the Guard and then checking out the museum. I hope I get to see Batisse!

 

P.S. does anyone know what organizations these lapel pins belong to? They were also in with Robert's things.

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Edited by SemperParatus

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TacHel   
1 hour ago, SemperParatus said:

Peter, a great story as always.

Frank, glad you like it. Sadly, I've only seen the Citadel from outside when I was a boy. I went back to Quebec City a few years ago for Carnaval but I spent most of the time drinking Caribou out of a hollow cane... My plan is to go back in the summer time in a couple years and take my family to the Changing of the Guard and then checking out the museum. I hope I get to see Batisse!

 

Might I suggest that before you do visit, drop an e-mail to the regimental museum, they might have info on your uncle.  I've seen a few buddies of mine return from their visit with a treasure of previously unknown info on relatives including photos.

1 hour ago, SemperParatus said:

 

P.S. does anyone know what organizations these lapel pins belong to? They were also in with Robert's things.

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It is an older model lapel pin from the American Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Edited by TacHel

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By a complete coincidence, I spent an hour on Saturday having a beer or three with a lovely Scot, now Canadian, whose daughter has enrolled at RMC and is at St Jean this year.  He did 33 years in the British Army's Ordnance Corps, as a bomb disposal expert, I think, but has been to the Vandoos Mess at least once.

We were discussing how successfully the British Empire had exported its military traditons and he mentioned at least twice how much he loved the fact that the 22nd Reg't looks just like a British unit, and uses the same customs, but in French!   Funny what takes people's fancy!

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