Veteran Stories:
Isabella MacDougall

  • Isabella MacDougall, Mary Oatway, and Cottie Gillis at a Prince Edward Island War Brides reunion in 2006.

    Isabella MacDougall
  • Roland and Isabella MacDougall's wedding photo, November 1945.

    Isabella MacDougall
  • Isabella and Roland MacDougall, Dundee, Scotland, 1945.

    Isabella MacDougall
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"There was a bunch of Canadian boys, of course, and we were just young girls, of course, and he fell at my feet, I think! I didn’t think he was a very good skater for a Canadian."

Transcript

I was only 12 years old, and of course when you’re young it seems kind of exciting, but I was still in school and all of a sudden, we were taken out of school and evacuated out to the country. We had to go home and gather up a few belongings and our little gas masks and away we went on the train. We didn’t really know where we were going. Everybody was crying and the mothers were crying. Anyway, we were sent to Aberdeen [Scotland], that’s about sixty miles away from Dundee, onto a farm. Of course, I had never been on a farm in my life. But anyway, my young brother went too. We weren’t there for too long when there were some bombs dropped not too far away from where we were. Oh, my mother came up and we thought we might as well go home, take our chances at home, I guess. Dundee? Well, life went on as normal except there were an awful lot of different nationalities there from every part of the globe, I guess – Australians, Canadians, Dutch, Norwegians. My father was a World War I veteran, and he was a sort of semi-invalid, but my mother worked in the shipyards, riveting I think. My father died before the war was over. I worked at a grocery store. Well they had Lipton chain stores over there, I worked there. It was kind of sad to see people, you just got so much rations. Old people would come and there would be two ounces of this and two ounces of that. It wasn’t very much when you gathered it all up. Well, we didn’t starve or anything. Everything was rationed, even soap and everything. I should have taken my ration book with me, but I still have it! If you were a mother and had babies you got a little extra fruit and stuff like that. But anyway, we survived. My husband, he used to come up on leave. Some of the Canadians, I don’t know how they got all the way up there but they got there. Well, I met my husband one night at the skating rink, Dundee Ice Rink. There was a bunch of Canadian boys, of course, and we were just young girls, of course, and he fell at my feet, I think! I didn’t think he was a very good skater for a Canadian. I thought Canadians were all good skaters, but I guess they just rented these old skates. That was how we met. That’s where I met my fate. He was in the army. He was in Italy for quite a while. Then they went from Italy and crossed over to North Africa, I think. Then they joined the rest in Holland and Belgium. We were married in November 1945. I was 18, but I was almost 19 in February I guess. Then my husband was sent back home then, they were starting to send them back home. So he went home in March, but I didn’t get over until the last of July the same year, a few months later. He met me in Halifax in a 3-ton gravel truck. I think he thought he had a Cadillac! That’s how I came to P.E.I., in a 3-ton gravel truck and the roads weren’t very good at that time either. When I came first, we moved in with his parents for a short time and went to Tyne Valley. It’s a little village you know, but still it was a nice little village. Then we moved out right to the centre of the village to his grandparents’ old home and got to like the place, I guess. We had everything there that we needed – a couple of stores, a library and all that kind of stuff. I don’t think I could have stayed if I had been living way out in the country probably, after coming from a city. I had one sister. She married a Canadian, too, but she was up in Ontario, in Kitchener. I don’t know why we didn’t pick men that lived a little closer together!
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