Veteran Stories:
Joan Dumaine

Army

  • Joan in training. England, 1944.

  • Photo of the marriage of Paul and Joan Dumaine. In the photo: mother, father, sister and Joan's maid of honor.

  • Certificate allowing Joan and Paul to wed. Signed 18 June 1945.

  • Photo of Paul and Joan in Montreal after a year of separation. March 25, 1946.

  • Photo of Joan, Royal Army Service Corp. 1944

Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"I went to Aldershot to see him in the hospital, and I had the shock of my life when I saw him. He was so small, so thin and so sick."

Transcript

My name is Joan Dumaine, and I volunteered for the army in May 1944.

My fiancée was then a prisoner of war, so I had joined the army thinking I could help the war. He was missing for two months, and then I found out that he was alive though he was reported dead.

The day I joined the army my grandfather died, so it wasn't a happy day. I went to Guilford for training to be a soldier. It was the ATS, Auxiliary Territorial Service, which is the women's army in England. From there I went to Camberley where I learned to drive. I drove ten-tonne trucks, ambulances and staff cars.

The day that Paul arrived back in Canada from being a prisoner, he sent a telegram to my mother. My mother sent a telegram to my Commanding Officer. I was supposed to be shipped out to Europe the next day, and my officer called me in to her office and she told me to sit down, and I thought maybe my father or my mother... something had happened to them. But she said, "No, it's not your family. Your fiancée is back in England from the prison camp." I was so surprised, because I didn't expect him to be back in England so soon.

She gave me seven days compassionate leave and I went home. From there I went to Aldershot to see him in the hospital, and I had the shock of my life when I saw him. He was so small, so thin and so sick. A week afterwards he came home and my mother looked after him, but I had to go back to my unit. He had to get permission to marry me, because the soldiers had to get permission to get married. He came back at the end of May and we were married July the 4th. We had two weeks together and then he was shipped back to Canada again.

Follow us