|William (Bill) Hurteau with his recognition cheque|
World War II Métis Veteran William Hurteau received thanks from the Métis Nation, a $20,000 Recognition Payment and an apology from the Government of Canada in Sudbury, Ont. on June 2, 2020.
The Recognition Payment and apology are part of the Métis Veterans Legacy Program established in partnership with the Trudeau government to commemorate forgotten Métis soldiers who have fought for Canada.
Métis Nation of Ontario Veteran Council (MNOVC) President Brian Black and recently elected Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) Chair Hank Rowlinson were on hand to present a message from President Margaret Froh as part of the ceremony.
Bill joined the Canadian Army Medical Corp in 1942 when he was 16 years old. He lied about his age in order to join and fight earlier and did so without his parent’s knowledge.
Bill spent his 17th Birthday in London during the Battle of Britain and his group landed on Juno Beach with the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.
Bill spent is 18th birthday on the battlefields of France and served throughout the European theatre in the countries of Belgium, Holland (the Netherlands) and Germany.
Near the end of war after Germany’s surrender, Bill volunteered to join the Pacific campaign against Japan to fight alongside Canada’s American allies.
However, before he could be redeployed to the pacific, Japan surrendered.
Young Bill says he had seen the human toll of war and what he saw during his time in combat left him with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Not until the Vietnam War in the 1970s was PTSD properly diagnosed and treated. It was initially known as “shell shock.”
Bill met and married his wife, Nina in 1945 in Ottawa. They soon moved to Sudbury where Bill worked for the International Nickel Company (INCO) for the next 35 years. Nina passed away in 2015 and Bill has two children, David and Patricia-Jean as well as four Grandchildren, eight Great-Grandchildren and three Great-Great Grandchildren.
William (Bill) Hurteau with his recognition cheque