|Art Bromhead, Mike Mione, Arnold Moore, Bill Ritchie - see note below|
Mr. Tremblay wrote that it was the time of year that students prepared for final exams and the annual inspection of 1181 Chapleau High School Cadet Corps.
However, it was the day that the boys would be fitted with their new uniforms replacing the "archaic World War I uniforms with tight tunics and high military collars with badges, big leather belts, flappy breeches finished off with puttees" around their legs.
The boys were well into the fitting process which started immediately after the usual school morning assembly, when John 'Mac' McClellan, the school principal and World War I veteran burst into the room and announced, "It's all over... Germany has surrendered... the war's over!"
|John 'Mac' McClellan|
"We all rushed to the wide open windows when we heard a commotion coming from the grounds around the school ands stared in astonishment at the sight of the girls doing an impromptu snake dance below".
After one of the boys yelled, "Let's go" they made a dash for the doors to join the girls as they weaved around the school in their snake dance. Classes were cancelled for the day.
Mr. Tremblay mentions Jack Rose, the other apprentice projectionist, who was killed on active service in the Royal Canadian Air Force shortly before the end of the war.
However, Mr. Tremblay did get a taste of military life in the summer of 1945, joining other "school chums" at cadet camp at Niagara-on-the-Lake.
He wrote that "dressed in our smart new cadet uniforms" they assembled at the CPR station and boarded a train for Sudbury. From there, cadets from other communities joined them and they then boarded a special "cadet troop train" for Toronto, including an entire coach for the Chapleau contingent.
Each cadet had his own double seat "in what appeared to be an old converted sleeper. It was in a good state of repair, spotlessly clean and we were comfortable with plenty of room."
From Toronto, they took the steamship Cayuga on Lake Ontario to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
A highlight was a grand parade around Niagara-on-the-Lake..
"We were going to show off and we did! Flags flapping in the breeze, hundreds of cadets from all over Ontario marched smartly behind their bands, encouraged by the enthusiastic applause of the town's people lining both side of the street."
"Heady stuff for youngsters!" Mr. Tremblay admitted, "But we represented the whole generation of younger brothers of the older brothers who had just whipped Hitler.
"Fortunately the war ended before we were needed but if it had continued we would have gone over to help them. There was no question about that. We were getting ready and we were determined to follow in our older brother's footsteps."
I appreciate that George Tremblay kindly sent me a copy of 'Break at Nine!. On a very personal note, I was deeply touched by his comments about the parade, and the feeling of the cadets as I read them 79 years after World War II ended. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE.. Art, Mike, Arnold and Bill all attended Cadet camp at Niagara-on-the-Lake and are wearing the new cadet uniforms but don't know if it was 1945. Anyone recall?