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Starving in Holland

Heroes Remember

If you ever go over to Holland, make sure you got a Canadian badge or something on. Interviewer: Great respect for the Canadian soldier. Yeah, and for two reasons, you see. Canadians liberated the country and then they fed them. They were starving to death then they got food into them and that was one of the biggest things. Even after the war was over, we came back down into Holland in a little town not too far from Amsterdam. There was people there looked like walking skeletons. Just a little bit of bone left hardly. The place we stayed, was quite a big house there and the woman told me they were using it for a hospital and there was 16 of them died in one week there, starved to death. Seeing little kids like that you know . . . the first morning we was there, we had this, it was like a back shed on this house and had a driveway come in on the house and it was kind of hedged liked all along the side. Everybody has these hedges kind of shrubs there. And there was a back kitchen on there and that is where we had the cook stove set up. And we come out of there and look they just run and grabbed the mess tent right out of our hands just clawing for anything that was left in the mess tent. The sergeant major, he tried to keep them out so he put me on guard on the gate to keep them out. I told them, I said, "Go around the back and go in."

Mr. Gouchie describes the conditions in Holland when it was liberated by the Canadians.

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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