Language selection


Enlisting and Training

Archived Content

Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Media Information


Enlisting and Training

Mr. Jobin was 17 years old in 1939 when war was declared. He was drawn to the sea and wanted to enlist in the Navy. He speaks about his basic training in Québec, on the Plains of Abraham


Guy Jobin

Mr. Jobin’s father was a chemist for a mill in Chandler, in the Gaspé. During the Depression, his father left to go work in Masson, in the Outaouais Region, and the family joined him 18 months later. They settled in Buckingham and when war was declared young Guy Jobin, a lover of ships, wanted to enlist in the Navy. He did his basic training in Québec and then went to Halifax to learn to fire guns before being sent to British Columbia. His group of Canadians left on the British aircraft carrier HMS Nabob. The ship went down the Pacific coast, crossed the Panama Canal and stopped in Virginia before arriving in England, at Liverpool. There they found the remains of a city damaged by 9 days German bombings. The Nabob was active in the British Isles throughout the war. During a mission to Scapa Flow in northern Scotland, the boat was hit by a torpedo. Upon his return to Canada, Mr. Jobin was hospitalized for awhile.


Enlisting and Training

I was too young for the war; in ’39 I was 17. My father bought a house in Buckingham, with a friend from the mill there, a childhood friend, a wonderful man. He charged 10 bucks a month, I think. Then he moved out West, to British Columbia and in the end, we inherited a fine house, five bedrooms, on a beautiful corner lot in Buckingham. So we moved to Buckingham. I said to my father, “I want to enlist.” And coming from the Gaspé Peninsula, the draw of the sea, the open wind, y’know, I always felt that way, I still do . . . My father said to me, “You’re bilingual but not enough. You’re going to go to Buckingham High School.” So, I went to Buckingham High School, I passed my grade twelve,. And then I enlisted. I enlisted here in Ottawa, at Cummings Bridge . . . And since I was bilingual, they put me in the divisional corps. Then three days later, they sent me to Québec because there were French Canadians enlisting in the navy, like me in fact. And there, well, contact with me who was bilingual, made things a lot easier, y’know? I did my military training in Québec. There were no barracks. We boarded in town. My training was on the Plains of Abraham, next to the armoury in the former Quebec Winter Club, that they had rented to the army, then to the navy during the war because there wasn’t time to build training centres.

The training . . . I really liked the training. I’m that type of guy. It was on the Plains of Abraham and next to the armoury. The 22nd Regiment was there and it was a marvellous place. Y’know, you see all the towns nearby, the St. Lawrence River, you see the big ships go by. Our training consisted of running, of course. We ran on the Plains of Abraham, we went down the side of l’Anse-au-Foulon where the monument to Montcalm is, we went around Montcalm’s monument and went back up again and back to the military buildings. Now, there were some who passed out, because there were no barracks there. They’d drink all night and then go train in the morning, y’know? If they could’ve gone to bed at 11:00 that would’ve been OK. So a jeep followed us for those who couldn’t go on any more. They put them in the jeep to go down to the camp buildings. That was good. And they made us go up the side of l’Anse-au-Foulon. That’s steep; I don’t know if you know Quebec City. In our training, that’s just how it was. Then we ran along the . . . I don’t remember the street . . . Grande Allée a ways, then we went back to the Plains of Abraham. I really got to know the Plains of Abraham, y’know. That was good. And once training was over, well, we left by train . . . troop train, yep, to Halifax.

Date modified: