THE CAMP McCALLUM JEEP (14)OK
The camp McCallum jeep (and the jeep Régis Quirion claims having seen) are two more interesting stories. I invite you to read this excerpt from the Brossard report.
Next week, we shall pursue the examination of the McCallum camp jeep (and that Régis Quirion claims having seen.) During the following weeks, we shall terminate this jeep saga in reading the GENERAL CONCLUSIONS on jeeps and the list, drawn up by the Brossard Commission, of the inaccuracies in Jacques Hébert’s books.
IN THE MEANTIME, FOR A DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW, I SUGGEST THAT YOU HAVE A PEEP AT MR. LEW STODDARD’S BLOG:
REPORT OF THE BROSSARD COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY INTO THE COFFIN AFFAIR (27TH OF NOVEMBER 1964) VOL. 1 CHAPTER 5 (Part XIV)
THE JEEP WHOSE PRESENCE IN THE GASPÉ PENINSULA AND IN THE VICINITY WOULD HAVE BEEN « SEEN » BY EYE WITNESSES AT THE TIME THE CRIMES WERE COMMITTED
THE JEEP SEEN AT McCALLUM’S CAMP IN THE COFFIN AFFAIR (14)
(A literal translation by Clément Fortin)
THE JEEP OF THE McCALLUM’S CAMP
In the chronological order of the jeeps whose existence was discovered or revealed for the first time in the fall of 1955, two years after the murders and one year after the trial, while, from a judiciary point of view, Coffin’s situation was becoming desperate, the last one known was the one that might have seen on a shanty road along the Mississippi river and leading to the Gaspé-Murdochville road to Abe McCallum’s camp in the end or beginning of June 1953. The first mention of this jeep was made around the 30th of November 1955, date of the signature by a man named Régis Quirion, a former McCallum’s employee, at the lumber camp he operated, of an affidavit drafted by Mtre Maurice Dussault, attorney at Gaspé, and sworn by John Joseph, justice of the peace at Gaspé; this affidavit was one of those that were sent to the Department of Justice. It read as follows:
PROVINCE OF QUÉBEC
DISTRICT OF GASPÉ
COUNTY OF GASPÉ
I, the undersigned, RÉGIS QUIRION, lumber jack, residing at Bridgeville, county of Gaspé, province of Québec, being duly sworn under the Holy Evangelists doth depose, declare and say :
1. – During the year of 1953 and more particularly towards the end of May 1953, I was an employee at Abey McCallum’s camp, located near the Mississippi Brook, on the York river, at a distance of approximately 22 miles from Gaspé;
2. – Around one o’clock in the afternoon, while I was at the camp, three Americans, driving a new jeep with licence plates from the United States, came to the camp, they asked us information, particularly, if we had seen the Lindseys in the vicinity and if there were many bears in this part of the forest;
3. – They told us that they came from the United States and that they were bear hunters;
4. – With me, at the camp on this date, there was the cook Theodule Lelièvrel, from Ste-Therese and Andrew Girard, from Barachois, county of Gaspe.
And I have signed.
(Signed) REGIS QUIRION
Sworn before me at the village of Gaspe, county of Gaspe, province of Québec, this 30th day of November 1955.
(signed) JOHN JOSEPH
An indisputable proof has revealed before this Commission that at no time between the month of May 1953 and at the end of November 1955, the presence of this jeep in the vicinity of Abe McCallum’s camp has never been made known to whomever by whomever; the proof has established also indisputably that after the signing of this affidavit on the 30th of November 1955, none of those who might have seen this jeep has spoken about it before this investigation made by Mr. Henri Doyon and Mr. Jacques Hébert, in 1961.
To be solicitous of accuracy in order that its enquiry be complete, the Commission has heard, apart from Mr. Quirion, Mr. Abe McCallum and a certain number of his former employees. Of all the witnesses, Mr. Abe McCallum gave the shortest and clearest testimony.
Here are the main pieces of information he gave the Commission:
« That morning, his trucks all loaded, went early to Gaspé. He went with them. On his way back, he met a jeep which stopped to get out of the way. He passed by. »He got out and one of the men got out with him and said to him:”I am hunting bears. Do you know where I could go to get some bears? He suggested some old camps where there was garbage and he suggested, more particularly, the Howard-Smith camp.
The jeep he saw was small with a canvas top, a plywood body, loaded with provisions and the back open. The plywood was yellow, the top was kind of greyish, a faded colour.
The man he spoke to was between 30 and 40, had a khaki suit and kind of boots, like a soldier’s uniform.
The meeting took place between the 4th and the 10th of June. He judges that date from the fact that he first went to his lumber camp on the 15th of May and it was about three weeks after that he saw the jeep.
The man who spoke to him had a lean face and was a small-framed man of about 5’7”. He was not a tall man. He was not heavy built.
He spoke about the same kind of English as the Gaspé English. He did not speak American.
He was kind of dark.
He, McCallum, never went to the Provincial Police and he did not give any information to anyone
Doyon saw him at his home around 1960, 1961, perhaps 1962.
He thinks the Quirions were ahead of him on the road.
He does not remember the Quirions talking about the jeep in 1954.
His men never discussed with him the Coffin trial, ever.
He never heard that the jeep had been met again that day.
He did not hear that Yvon Rehel, another of his employees, had gone to help that jeep.
As opposed to what Mr. Hébert affirms in the English version of his last book, Mr. McCallum denies that passengers of the jeep had offered him a drink and that he drank with them; « not a thing, sir, not a thing ».
GÉRALD QUIRION, brother of Herbert Quirion and cousin of Régis, has given in substance the following testimony :
He saw a jeep at a distance of approximately 200 to 300 feet from him.
He would have seen this jeep about a week before it was decided that the Americans were dead (?)
It was in the month of May, the first or second week. (?)
The cabin of the jeep was made of plywood (veneer) of a grey “colour”, of a grey yellow.
They were two, probably more in the jeep.
They were around 30 to 40 years old; he so judged in seeing their hair.
They might have been in their forties.
One of them wore a « checkered windbreaker » with khaki pants, and the other one was all in khaki.
Gerard Quirion was interviewed by Messrs. Hebert and Doyon in Montréal. He told them that he had seen the jeep in the first or second week of the month of May.
He might have said (June) to Mr. Hebert, but he does not think so.
The passenger of the jeep was dressed in khaki and wore lumber jack’s boots, of coureur de bois, boots with top boots. Even though he was far, he saw him. He was a man of average height and could weight 150, 160 pounds.
Rehel did not say, in his presence, having repaired a jeep, but would have heard that he had said so.
It is obvious that this witness, Gérald Quirion, does not recall, at all, on what date he saw the jeep. On the other hand, he does not appear to have ever mentioned that the jeep he has seen was occupied by Americans.
HERBERT QUIRION, brother of Gérald Quirion, and he too a former employee of Abe McCallum, testified as follows :
He has seen a jeep at a quarter of mile from the camp around 11:20 a.m., in May or June; he does not remember exactly on what date.
There was a box on top of the jeep, but ignores the colour.
There were one or two persons in the jeep, doesn’t know exactly.
He did not see this jeep again; he has spoken to no one about it.
He did not pay attention to the licence plates.
The only statement he has ever made about the jeep was made last fall (1963) to an officer of the Provincial police.
Before that, he had not told anyone and no one had ever talked to him about it.
YVON REHEL, he too, a former employee of Abe McCalum, stated in substance what follows :
One morning, he was at the camp when he saw a jeep. A man asked him if there were bears and he told him yes.
He did not pay attention to the kind of jeep it was.
He did not notice the shape, neither the colour nor the licence plates.
He heard Régis Quirion speak about it not at the time, years later, to neighbours.
Andrew Girard knows no one to whom he would have spoken about this jeep.
No one other than him has ever spoken to him about this jeep.
THÉODULE LELIÈVRE, former Abe McCallum’s cook, at the river Mississippi camp, says never having seen a jeep, as opposed to what affirms Mr. Hébert in his last book.
ROSARIO QUIRION, cousin of Régis Quirion, states what follows :
He recalls having seen a jeep near the camp, on the Mississippi road; he was driving his truck and had to stop to let a jeep pass by; however, the latter stopped before they met and its driver asked if we knew where there were bears.
Rosario Quirion thinks that there was no cabin on this jeep; he ignores the colour and the licence plates.
He never spoke about this meeting with whomever for several years later when two persons came to question him; he denies having been questioned about the jeep licence plate and denies having declared to those investigators that the driver of the jeep had inquired about the presence of other persons.
One of the investigators whom he thinks was Mr. Doyon has shown him three photos and told him that one of them could look like the driver of the jeep; one of the persons appearing on these photos might look like, perhaps, the one he has seen in the jeep; the witness also states that after 10 years, « one does not pay attention, it’s difficult ».
Rosario Quirion says never having discussed with his cousin Régis about this jeep; when Doyon went to see him to question him, he told him that he was coming from Régis’ place, but he did not show him any statement of the latter.
The witness denies, as opposed to what Mr. Hébert says in his book, having stated to Doyon that he remembered having seen a jeep with foreign licence plates, a jeep like the one that his cousin Régis had described, for he ignored the description Régis had given of the jeep..
He ignores if he has seen that jeep in June or in July; he says that it is in the spring.
He ignores if the rear of the jeep was closed, but he believes that it was covered and that the top was completely removed, but it is possible, however, that there had been a top.
He did not hear from other of his fellow workers speak of a jeep and he says that “they had no interest in all of that”.
These testimonies are vague and often contradictory as to the date this jeep of the Mississippi river might have been seen (May or June), as to the description of this jeep (“in veneer” grey « colour », grey yellow, - a box either yellow or grey yellow.. lighter than army khaki – a jeep without a cabin, uncovered and whose top was completely removed) as to the age of the occupants (between 30 and 40 years old); it is however certain that it was not the jeep that Dr. and Mrs. Wilson saw; at times, it could be the one Hackett pretended having seen several days after the murders were perpetrated; at other times, it could be the one seen by the Dumaresqs, that is to say, Dr. Burkett’s jeep whose occupants were searching for bears, and, being accompanied with a guide they surely sought them in the neighbourhoods of the camp; in addition, as for the colour only, it could look like the one Coffin has described in his first statements, but surely not with that he described in his affidavit of the 9th of November 1955.
(To be followed)
THE JEEP OF THE McCALLUM CAMP (CONTINUED) (15)