Veteran Stories:
Graham “Graham” Goodall


  • Graham Goodall on watch on the Bridge. Winter 1944-45.

    Graham Goodall
  • Graham Goodall's ship, HMCS St. Thomas in dry dock, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Spring, 1945.

    Graham Goodall
  • Photograph of Stern depth charges, winter 1944-45.

    Graham Goodall
  • Photograph taken in the spring of 1944 at Graham Goodall's graduation from Kings College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Mr. Goodall is on the left.

    Graham Goodall
  • Ice buildup on the ship, Winter, 1944-45.

    Graham Goodall
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"“I wouldn’t mind getting out.” He said, “You’re not getting out. See out there in the middle of the harbour? That’s where you’re going.”"


We went to HMCS Montreal. There were two divisions in Montreal, HMCS Montreal was the English division and HMCS Cartier was the French division. We went down, both of us determined to join the Navy mainly because two of my older friends had joined the Navy and we were very impressed with those bell-bottomed trousers! The next thing we knew, we were called Officer Candidates. We got shipped back home. Instead of going off to sea in 1943 I went back home, I think this would have been in July, on a 28-day leave and they gave me $250.00 to buy an officer’s uniform. I can remember going down to Morgan’s [store] with my parents and getting the uniform. Of course, my parents were so proud; here was this kid getting a probationary commission. When that was done they shipped me off to HMCS York in Toronto for a sort of basic officer training. If that Officer Selection Board hadn’t come through at that time I would have been out in the North Atlantic all through 1944. The tide had turned by that time but there was still a fair amount of submarine activity going on. But instead of that, I spent pretty much the whole year of 1944 in school. I went back to [HMCS] Cornwallis. By this time the war was winding down in Europe. I go down there on a two-week ASDIC [Anti Submarine Detection Investigation Committee] - anti-submarine detection refresher course - and during that time the war in Europe ended. So I thought that I was going to get out and go home. I finally ended up in Halifax and I said to the Placement Officer, or whatever he was called, “I wouldn’t mind getting out.” He said, “You’re not getting out. See out there in the middle of the harbour? That’s where you’re going.” It was a brand-new castle-class Corvette [Allied war ship] that had been built in England. It was absolutely new! Lo and behold we were taking this ship to the Pacific. It was supposed to be going to fight the Japanese. There I got on board this ship and, of course by this time I had my watch-keeping certificate that said I could stand watch on a warship at sea, which was a bit of a joke because I was just a 20-year-old kid, but that’s the way it was. So we ended up going down through the Panama Canal and up the Pacific to Esquimalt. I still remember, as we were on our way down from Halifax to the Panama Canal, the Americans dropped the bomb on Japan [August 6 1945 Battle of Hiroshima]. So that was all over. We just turned on all the lights and went on a cruise. The war was over! We did single watches instead of double watches. We would be sitting out there in our shorts getting a sun tan. We went through the Panama Canal which was quite an experience for me. The three years I spent in the service, I was only on sort of active, active service for about five months and by that time the tide had turned. I can remember saying to my parents, “Oh God, I wish this bloody officer’s stuff had never come about because I could have been out in the Atlantic.” Well, a number of my friends were out in the Atlantic going across to England and I think it was just bloody awful. I missed most of that because my time was summertime in the western approaches. I tell everybody, in fact, in here I am the luckiest guy in the world. I honestly believe it.
Follow us