Canada in the Second World War

People

Gilles Gamache

Gilles GAMACHE (Joseph Jean-René Gilles)
Born April 7, 1920 in Montreal, Quebec
Deceased July 9, 2008 in Longueil, Quebec
Son of Adolphus Gamache and Marguerite Beauchamp
Married to Olivette Charron on October 17, 1942 (Deceased February 1, 1994) – Life partner of Huguette Miron
Father of Suzanne, André and Anne

Known Norman Origins
Paternal: Nicolas Gamache, born April 17, 1639 in Saint-Illiers in the Yvelines, arrived in Quebec around 1652. He became the Seigneur of Cap St. Ignace and in 1676 married Elisabeth Ursule Clouthier, born in 1660. She is the daughter of Charles Clouthier, born in Mortagne-au-Perche on May 3, 1629, and who emigrated from Dieppe on April 10, 1634.
Gilles Gamache belongs to the tenth generation of Charles Clouthier’s descendants.
Maternal: Gilles Gamache’s mother, Marguerite Beauchamp, is the daughter of J.J. Beauchamp and Elisa Décarie, whose family comes from Normandy.

Education
École supérieure Le Plateau – Science courses
Military courses studied: Physical Training in Long Branch, Ontario; Chemical Warfare in Long Branch; Field Security and Espionage at the Royal Military College in Kingston; Battle Drill in British Columbia; Small Arms in England; Company commander in Bernard Castle, England.

Military Service
Service number: D-615530
Final rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Gilles Gamache joined Fusiliers Mont-Royal Regiment in December 1941. In Canada he was an officer instructor at the Sherbrooke and St. Jerome training centres, as well as at the Brockville Officer School. He carried out various functions in a battalion and an infantry brigade. In March 1942 Gilles Gamache left for England where he held different battalion functions: Information officer, company warrant officer and commander. He landed in France on July 6, 1944 and won the Distinguished Service Cross (U.S.) during the July 20, 1944 attack on Beauvoir farm in Normandy. He continued to fight in Holland, Belgium and Germany. He then volunteered for service in the Pacific, and was on a troop ship heading towards Japan when the war ended on August 15, 1945, VJ Day (Victory over Japan Day). He was demobilized on January 3, 194. He subsequently belonged to the 4th Battalion Royal 22nd (Chateauguay Regiment) supplementary reserve.

Medals and Decorations
1939-1945 Star
France-Germany Star
Defence Medal
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal
War Medal (1939-45)
Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee Medal (1977)
Canadian Forces decoration
Distinguished Service Cross (U.S.)

After the War
Before the war, Gilles Gamache held a first job as a trainee salesman in the sporting goods section of Omer DeSerres Ltd. Hardware store. He then became a representative for the insurance company Travelers. He played different sports like tennis, hockey, and football.
After the war:
1946-1955: Group insurance and pensions manager for the insurance company Travelers
1955-1960: Director, group insurance and pensions for Marsh & McLennen
1960-1970: Life Insurance Director for Union Canadienne
1970 until retirement: Founder of G.R. Gamache & Associés (financial management)
President of the Provincial Tennis Association; Founding member of the Laurentien Optimist Club and Lieutenant Governor of the district; Member of the Canadian Legion (Section Jean Brillant, VC); Member of Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal officers’ club; Life Member of the Beloeil Golf Club; Member of the United Services Club; Member of the Canadian Davis Cup Committee.

In 2007, as he was portrayed in an exhibition at the Juno Beach Centre, Gilles Gamache declared:

“I modestly contributed, like thousands of Canadians, Americans, Brits, Poles, French, and other Allies, to the mission to deliver France and Europe from the Nazi scourge. I responded to my country’s call to serve the army. This experience brought me the spirit of discipline, the sense of obedience and of commanding.”