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Better to Wound than to Kill

Heroes Remember

Better to Wound than to Kill

When we was training, it wasn't to kill, it was to wound. Interviewer: That's an interesting concept. Well, the idea was that a wounded person was hard to look after. It cost them money to look after them, you know. It's a lot of time and every thing to look after a wounded fella. If a fella was killed, you just buried him. That was it. So it was better to wound them than to kill. Interviewer: And you learned that as part of your training? Yep. And there was some of us, you know, another thing . . . were pretty good shots anyway, you know, cause when I was a kid I was always in the woods with .22s something hunting like that. There were some that were pretty darn good shots. Interviewer: Quite an experience. Yeah, you get in some funny places at times. One time there, we was in this house we called the ghost house. It was . . . there was a village ahead of us and there was some houses come out, like in most of those little towns you see the houses come out the side a little ways, you know, up one side there . . . well on both sides there was a little street like going in and there was one house there. It was the only house that had a roof on it. And we used to go out there before daylight. And there was three of us then that would go out. There was two snipers and a fellow in the intelligence section. They had a telephone wire right out there. We'd go out before daylight and stay there till dark and then send a section out to stay in that house over night So we didn't go out everyday. Every second or third day we'd go out and they'd stay over night. So they wouldn't go out in the morning and the Germans would be in the house. They would make sure you didn't run into Germans. But, we were that close to them. Upstairs, it wasn't a very big there was a bedroom in the back and it had a door open a little ways and I could stand on my toes and look right down on their trenches. Oh sweetie, I'd say we was a good quarter of a mile ahead of our companies to get out there. Interviewer: So what happens then? Well, you just had to be very careful that you know, you didn't do too much shooting because if you did, you'd give yourself away, give your position away. It's a wonder. I don't know yet, why they never come into that house.

During training Mr. Gouchie was told it was better to wound the enemy than to kill him. He tells us why and also tells us of the house they referred to as the "ghost house."

Earl Gouchie

Mr. Gouchie was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia, on February 21, 1917. He comes from a family of four sisters and three brothers. His father was a part-time farmer and mill worker. Growing up during the depression and having a Grade eight level of education, Mr. Gouchie had very little opportunity for employment and worked in the local lumber woods until he decided to join the army. After the declaration of war, Mr. Gouchie was one of the first men to join the North Nova Scotia Highlanders. His regiment sailed to Southern England and received three years of training in preparation for the landings on D-Day in Normandy. The North Nova Scotia Highlanders have been recorded as being known to have fought many bloody battles during wartime. Mr. Gouchie was part of the 2nd wave during the D-Day invasion and admits he would never want to go through it again. After the war, Mr. Gouchie returned home to Amherst to be with his wife and family. He became very involved with the construction of a mural recognizing the contributions of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment. Mr. Gouchie coordinates the parades each year for Remembrance Day celebrations in Amherst. He has never allowed his service in the army to be forgotten and the contributions given by himself and his fellow soldiers. Mr. Gouchie feels the young people of today should experience army life and realize the true meaning of discipline.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Earl Gouchie
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
North Nova Scotia Highlanders

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