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Marcel Ouimet reports as guns go silent in WWII

The Story

After four resounding booms, the Canadian artillery guns go silent. Marcel Ouimet of the CBC is with the Regiment de la Chaudière near Emden in Germany when he hears the guns' last rumble. A truce has been called in the region, and Canadian Army Headquarters has told Ouimet the war will be over tonight. But with the Germans still holding Emden and destroying the road into town, the regiment's colonel isn't convinced the fighting has finished. 

Medium: Radio
Program: War Dispatches
Broadcast Date: May 5, 1945
Reporter: Marcel Ouimet
Duration: 4:28

Did You know?

• On May 3, 1945, German commanders began to negotiate a surrender with the staff of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, commander of the British and Canadian armies. On May 4 they reached an agreement that German armies fighting in Holland, Denmark and northwest Germany would stop firing at 8 a.m. on May 5.

• At 8:30 p.m. on May 4, the BBC in London reported an unconditional surrender. The Canadian forces had to await official confirmation before they could be sure it was true.

• In this clip, Colonel Taschereau convinces reporter Marcel Ouimet to stay with the regiment as they plan an attack on Emden despite the rumoured ceasefire. Ouimet agreed, and just past 8:30 p.m. on May 4 Taschereau emerged from his room, confirming the CBC reporter's news of an imminent ceasefire. "Ouimet was right," he said.

• The regiment celebrated with champagne and said a toast to fallen soldiers

• "My feelings that morning [May 5] were of relief -- thankful to be alive and whole, and with a deep sense of loss that so many brave boys were not there to see the end," remembered Canadian artilleryman F. Bartlett Watt in the book The Day the War Ended by Martin Gilbert.

• On May 5, 1945, a surrender covering all German forces in Holland was signed between German General Johannes Blaskowitz and Charles Foulkes, commander of the 1st Canadian Corps, in Wageningen, Netherlands.

• The term "V-Day" or "VE-Day" had been used as early as May 1944 in newspaper advertisements for victory loans and Canadian banks.

• In September 1944 the Toronto Star published the results of a Gallup poll asking: "How long do you think the war with Germany will last?" Canadian respondents were optimistic, with 71 per cent predicting VE-Day would come by the end of 1944. Another 20 per cent said it would take until June 1945.



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