Veteran Stories:
Cecile Re-Jeanne Houle (née Lemieux)

Army

  • Cecile Houle, 1943.

    Cecile Houle
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"We weren’t allowed to wear slacks yet. So it was skirts. February in Vermilion, Alberta in March is pretty cold, in a skirt, on the parade square."

Transcript

I’m Cecile Houle, I was born in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan in September the 9th, 1922. Well, I was working as a practical nurse. I enjoyed it, I loved nursing. I went back to it after I came out of the army. But I wanted to do something else, I wanted to try something else, so I took, they had a course after basic, I took basic training in Vermilion, Alberta in February 1943. Oh yes. We weren’t allowed to wear slacks yet. So it was skirts. February in Vermilion, Alberta in March is pretty cold, in a skirt, on the parade square. There were parachute packers, like the girls, quite a few girls there already and then I was one of the first in the offices, and they had somebody else by the name of Agnes Carlson, who went to the, I went to the pay office, she went to the post office, and they had another girl by the name of Williamson who went into quartermaster stores. So there was three of us posted to that unit. We had our own barracks, like the CWAC [Canadian Women’s Army Corps] barracks, and they used to pick us up in a truck in the morning and bring us back after work. I was hoping I’d get sent overseas, but when I was interviewed by the consular at the time, she figured I’d do better here because I was bilingual. So they put me someplace where I could be useful, and that was in the pay office. You know, you would see them jumping out of airplanes. You don’t know how much I wished I could do it too. But at the time, we didn’t, women weren’t allowed to. The one major thing that really hit me was I hadn’t been with the unit too long when quite a few of our men, like from the unit, went overseas, and I can’t remember now exactly what jump they did, but most of them were killed in that one parachute jump overseas. I can’t remember which one now it was. I wouldn’t say it was the best time of my life. The best time of my life is when my children were born. But it was, you know, something that I can reflect on and say, I did my part, I was happy in the army, what more can I say, you know. Like, I never had any regrets that I joined.
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