Paul Goasdoue

As told to daughter, Jeannine Goasdoue

I was born on July 22, 1932 at Les Prevosts and christened Paul Michel Julien Goasdoue, the eighth child of Celestine and Yves Goasdoue.

I remember little of my early childhood, it has been said that my mother, Celestine, suffered post-natal depression after my birth. Her neighbour and friend May Talbourdet looked after me for some months in her home (actually I slept in the top of her chest of drawers. You could say I am out of the top drawer! )

I have no memories of this time but was told of being cared for by my paternal grandmother, who lived in the parlour of the farmhouse.

In 1937, my father Yves died of tuberculosis. I don’t remember him at all, possibly due to being kept away for fear of contracting the disease.

Paul with his older sister Denise

I attended the small local catholic school, La Chaumiere, and was evacuated with them in 1940. WW2 took a turn for the worse that year, and it was possible the Germans would invade the islands. The decision was taken for children to be sent to the north of England until the worst was over.

At the time it was thought they would return within 3 months. At the tender age of 7, in the company of my older brother Robert (9), I was sent off to England by ship, with one set of clothes and a gas mask. The children of the school were luckily all kept together and in the company of nuns who knew and loved us. Other children evacuated were sent to live with families, sometimes separated, as was the case for Renee, Denise and Henry

We first were sent to a Mrs Brooks in Cheshire (Knutsford) and before returning home to Guernsey in 1945, spent time at Moseley Hall, then in Gloucestershire and then Shrigley Park (both schools run by Salesian Fathers). We were well cared for during the war by the nuns and brothers, being well-fed and schooled, and shown care and affection. They were good people and I will always respect them for what they did.

The Chaumiere school in Cheshire – arrow points to Paul

I was 13 when I was repatriated to Guernsey and returned to live at Les Prevosts. I was still of school age so I was sent (the only one in the family) to the Vauxbelets College, a boys school run by the Christian Brothers (De la Salle order). I was there for 3 years but was pulled out just before taking the School Certificate. I assume my mother ran out of money. They were good teachers but the emphasis on religion was very strong leaving the practical sciences rather neglected. I was captain of football (soccer).

Paul with Raymond Le Noury (husband of Denise Goasdoue)

I then went to work as a labourer for the Vauxbelets farm, run as an agricultural college for French students, who also learned English. This is when my French improved and I made friends of some of the students. Probably as a result of this I ended up taking a cycling holiday in Brittany. I helped out at a farm near Rennes, getting up at 4am and working till 10pm as it was harvest time. A death occurred in the family and I remember sitting with the family around the corpse.

Paul and friend, on a cycling holiday in Brittany

The whole process lasted 3 days! Very very morbid (typical Breton) I was glad to get away. I was somehow introduced to a taxi driver in Rennes, by the name of Morand, whose wife ran a tobacconist. They had one son Michel and we became firm friends (he eventually became a school teacher). They took me on a tour of Brittany in a taxi. I was also introduced to their friends, the Le Breton family. They had a daughter Marie-Therese, and we were paired up, my first girl-friend.

Sometime that year [1948] I cycled from St Malo to Belle Isle en Terre to visit my cousin Jean-Marie Goualan, who was Dean of the Parish. When I arrived he was working in his walled garden, digging potatoes, dressed in his cassock which was hitched up under his belt. It was a hot July day and he was sweating profusely. He was glad to see me, partly no doubt as it meant a break and a drink! The Church which was in the middle of the square had just been fitted with an electronic bell ringing system. Although it was the middle of the afternoon he insisted on demonstrating it, much to the surprise of the parishoners. He showed me round the pretty village, and it was obvious he was very popular. He studied the Breton language and it was he who told me that Goasdoue means “man of God” or “supernatural man” (superman?).

Korea

When I returned to Guernsey I worked for 3 years on the Vauxbelets farm. I left in 1951 and took several jobs until in September I joined the British Army, enlisting in the Royal Armoured Corps. I should add that when I was 15 I tried to join the Royal Navy but as it was a requirement to have at least one parent of British stock I was ineligible, to my great disappointment. I went on a 3 month training course to Caterick in Yorkshire. At the end of which I was found to be colour blind (red-green). I was given the choice of either leaving the service or joining another Corps. I choose the Royal Army Service Corps and then had to do another 3 month training at Aldershot in Hampshire. I was very well trained! I got my marksman badge with a Sten gun.

corporal_PMG

 

I was then posted to South Korea where the United Nations were fighting Communist North Korea. This was early 1952 and I was posted to the 29th British Infantry Brigade on the front line near the 38th Parallel. I was trained as a clerk in the Operations Office but soldier duties take first place. We took our turns on the usual patrols. We were mortar bombed on one occassion. We lived in tents, which were very hot in the summer and could get to -40C in the winter. We didn’t have proper winter gear but we treated it all as a big adventure.

When the Armistice was declared in [1953?] I served with the Americans at the Freedom Village at Panmonjon, repatriating prisoners of war. I remember Turksih soldiers kssing the soil as they came across the border. A lot of North Korean prisoners were not keen to go back home. During my time in Korea I went on a five day R & R leave to Tokyo. We stayed at a place called the Kookaburra Club. This is when I met my first Australians. They were drunk and had a lot more money than we had, which they readily spent on beer and women (probably in that order!) They seemed less disciplined than we were but were great soldiers nevertheless. I wasn’t impressed with Tokyo, no doubt still in a bad way after the war. I went to a tea ceremony and did the usual tourist things.

After Korea I was sent to Singapore, stopping in a Hong Kong on the way. I liked Hong Kong, it’s in a glorious setting with a marvellous harbour. In Singapore I was posted to FARELF (Far East Land Forces) at Tanglin where I stayed for 6 months. I should add that regular soldiers did a 3 year tour. I worked in the Intelligence Section, vetting local newspapers for informtion about Communist activities etc. There was what was called the Emergency in Malaya. Communists were infiltrating into Malaya. My next posting was to a town called Muar, near Malaca in Malaya where I served with the 63rd Gurkha Infantry Brigade. Gurkha units have British Officers and some NCOs. We got on very well with the Gurkhas whom I admired for their soldierly qualities. By this time I was a Corporal. In Malaya I ran for the Army in the one and three mile races, achieving some success and seeing a bit of the country in the process. I remember the Malayans saying there thought we were mad running about in the hot sun (only mad dogs ….).

Paul with a Gurkha In October 1955

 

I returned to the UK and was promoted to Sargeant whilst on a three month leave in Guernsey. On a Sunday in November I met my future wife, Lulu Tardivet. She was a French girl working in Guernsey and was introduced to me by my brother Robert, as I spoke French and she didn’t speak English. We became engaged on Christmas Eve much to my mother’s delight (being French herself). No doubt the best decision I ever made.

Paul and Lulu Tardivet

In January I was posted to Edinburgh Castle the HQ of Scottish Command. It was snowing when I arrived and I remember dragging my kit up the hill from Princes St Station all the way to the Castle. I was Commander of the Guard at the Castle guarding the Scottish Crown Jewels and doing clerical duties. At the weekends I travelled about and once went as far as Loch Lomond. I met many Scots people in the Army and always got on especially well with them. I even like bagpipes! I think they are a fine race.

I served here for nine months before deciding to leave the army. I liked the Army life as a single man but I didn’t think the lifestyle was suitable for married couples. Too much separation and disruption to children’s education. In Malaya I had witnessed married men behaving very badly, being unfaithful to their wives. On returning to Guernsey in September 1956 I happened to meet an old school chum, Ted Enevoldsen, who suggested I join the Guernsey Police. At the time I was doing a 3 month course of tomato growing with Jack Keen, a neighbour at Les Prevosts. One of the reasons I had joined the Army was to get away from labouring jobs in Guernsey.

Constable Goasdoue

In January 1957 I joined the Guernsey Police and was sent on a training course at Sandgate, near Folkestone in Kent. This lasted 3 months and I did reasonably well, coming in 10th out of 30-40 people. The course covered English law and police procedure. I had somehow passed the colour blind test!

I stayed in lodgings in Guernsey until Lulu and I got married on 2nd September 1957. We honeymooned for 2 weeks in St Jouan, Brittany, near Lulu’s parents, when I met the family for the first time.

Paul and Lulu wedding. Left to right Raymond his daughter Yvette, Denise, Henry, Celestine, Paul, Lulu, the priest, unknown, unknown, Jules le Pretre, unknown, Anne, Monica.

 

 Date  Event
 22 July 1932  Paul Michel Julien Goasdoue born, at St Saviours, Guernsey
 1937  Father died
1939 War announced
1940 Evacuated to England with La Chaumiere school
1944 Attends Shrigley Park Salesian seminary
1945 repatriated to Guernsey
1945-48 Attended Les Vauxbelets School
1948 Trip to France in school holidays
1951 Joined Royal Armoured Corps. Trained 3 months at Caterick, Yorkshire. At end was found to be red/green colourblind. As a volunteer he was given option of getting out or joining another branch of the Army. Joined the RASC (Royal Army Service Corps) Transport-Supply division
Feb 1952 Graduated. He repeated basic training at Aldershot, Hampshire
25 Oct 1952 Posted to Korea. Left from Liverpool
9 July 1955 Returned to the UK
Nov 1955 Met Lucienne Tardivet in Guernsey and engaged on Xmas Eve
Dec 1955 Transferred to Scotland, posted to Edinburgh Castle
11 Oct 1956 Returned to Guernsey. Worked at Jack Keen’s farm
14 January 1957 met Ted Envolson who suggested Police training
2 September 1957 Married Lucienne Tardivet
22 November 1957 Moved to Au Coin, Grand Maison Road, Richmond Corner
1961 Had planned to emigrate to Elizabeth in South Australia but his monther Celestine fell ill
June 1961 Posted to Alderney for a month
August 1961 Purchased block of land
28 Sept 1962 moved into Loc Maria
1 March 1967 Family emigrated to Australia
January 1969 Leave Hostel

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