Veteran Stories:
Charles Henri Goulet

Army

  • Copy of medical certificate DATED MAY 1941. Note that the forms were written in english but that the answers are provided in French. The CABTC 55 acronym stands for Canadian Army Base Training Camp number 55 in Rimouski Québec, which is commonly referred to as "Le camp 55".

    Charles Henri Goulet
  • Service Record for Mr. Goulet, 1940.

    Charles Henri Goulet
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"I played hockey for the Army. I played defense. We won the championship!"

Transcript

There were seven of us Goulet brothers in the Canadian Army. In 1937, I was 15 years old. No one wanted to join the Army in those days. People were afraid to sign up and go to summer camps. I wanted to join the Navy because we lived near the edge of the river. They didn't want to take me because I was 18 and they were only taking men that were 19 or older. So I joined the Army instead. I stayed with the army but I liked the Navy. I met up with my brothers in Rimouski. There were three of them there. We opened the camp in 1940. It was camp No. 55, which they called "basic" [training centre]. We taught the basics of the Army. I was a lance corporal. I made a career out of hockey; I played hockey for the Army. I played defense. We won the championship. I played for the Halifax senior team in the Army. That's what saved me from having to go overseas, because it was the commander's hockey team. He kept me for six months more, so that saved me from six months on the other side. I could have been injured. In the end, I went overseas at the end of the hockey season. I was the first one to wear a protective helmet in hockey. In 1940, I was the first person in the province of Quebec. Nobody else was wearing helmets. It provided protection since the pucks were often hit high. There were also cross-checks. Sometimes I could hear, "Damn you, Goulet!" from the stands. I played hard, very hard. I remember as an officer we had would have a responsibility to stay with the men. We hit a storm [crossing the Atlantic] and the ship dipped almost 300 feet under water. It should have sank. There were ten thousand men and 2,500 crew on board. We were practicing [amphibious] landings. There were imitation ships with huge nets. We had to land dressed in full battle order. We had to get off the ship in the nets to imitate what it would be like to land on the beach. I fell and got caught. The insides of my thighs were shredded. I had developed three bumps by nighttime. They put me in the hospital and treated me with penicillin for three weeks. When I got back, the regiment was gone. So they sent me to a regiment in Ontario, near Windsor. I finished out the war there. I was in charge of sports since I was athletic. I played hockey and baseball. We lived in a town.[in England] They had taken over a women's prison. There were 3,000 of us men. I was in charge of tours and sports. We went on more tours than we played sports, since it was more interesting to visit the castles. I always had about 24-25 trucks to take the men around. They came from the front lines and we had to look after them. I continued in the Army. That's why I was promoted to captain when I came back in 1946. I continued to serve as chief instructor for the Fusiliers du St-Laurent, and I stayed on until 1969.
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