Assigned to the Regina Rifle Regiment on May 21, 1943.
I am C/30813 C.S.M. Tait, T.B. No. 1 First Canadian Army. At about 0800 hrs on the 5 Nov 44; I accompanied the commissaire of No. 8 Commune, Gent, Belgium to Terneuzen canal in the vicinity of Terneuzenlaan, Gent, Belgium.
Enquiries were made regarding a Canadian soldier who was alleged to have drowned in the canal at that point. At the cafe 'Dordrecht', 76 Terneuzenlaan I learned that about 2100 hrs 4 Nov 44 a Canadian soldier alleged to be a member of the Regina Rifle Regiment had left the cafe hurriedly stating that he wished to catch a tram. A short while afterwards a splash was heard in the canal by a bargeman at a point almost immediately opposite the cafe in question. This bargeman searched the surface of the water thoroughly but found no trace of the man. Later a beret was found bearing the Regina Rifle Regiment badge. The canal was thoroughly dragged at this point, but no trace of the body was found. One 27 Nov 44, the body was found floating on the surface of the canal. L/84682 Pte Kahan, J. HQs 2 CBRG (Canadian Base Reinforcement Group) investigated the removal. I examined the body later and saw no signs of violence on it.
L/28236 L/Sgt Bellegarde, V.J. 10 Bn., CBRG (Canadian Base Reinforcement Group). On about 5 Dec 44 I was informed by Lt. Varty, J.W, Assistance Adjutant 10 Bn., CBRG, that a soldier's body had been found in the canal and I was required to identify it. I went to the hospital and was shown the body and I identified it as my cousin L/64684 Rfn Bellegarde, M. There were no identity discs, pay books or other identification available, but his features were quite distinguishable.
Q: When did you last see your cousin, L/64684 Rfn Bellgarde, M. alive?
A: I saw him on 4 Nov 44 at about 4 or 5 o'clock in the evening. He was in good spirits, and promised to meet me at 2000 hrs 4 Nov 44 at cafe 'Lovendsure' I waited there until 2130 hrs and he did not show up. As he had not been sure whether or not he had to do guard duty at this time, I assumed he was on guard and left without him.