We have very little information about Yves, and this page contains information about him and his brothers.
Yves Marie Goasdoue was born in Begard in Brittany on the 25 August 1887. He had two sisters (Marie Renee and Olga) and 2 brothers (Jean Louis and Jean Baptiste) . His father, Francois Louis had been in the French Navy (we think as a submariner) and traveled quite widely, including to Senegal. [I am presently researching his life, as we have some of his old navy documents]
We aren’t sure when the family came to Guernsey, or why. We know that Yves’s youngest sister Olga was born in Guernsey in 1904 (S: her passport) and in his father’s navy documents there is a change of address declaration dating from 1895. Perhaps they left Brittany to find work. If they arrived in 1895, Yves would have been 8 years old.
Of his life up until the war we know very little. This photo of Yves looks like a typical military service photo of the time, so we assume he did national service like all young Frenchmen. We think he was engaged to a girl named Le Prevost before the war but she died of TB [S: PMG].
Yves served in the French artillery during the First World War and though lucky to survive (three million Frenchmen did not), his lungs were damaged from a gas attack, perhaps contributing to the TB he later suffered. He received a medal for his bravery during the war, the Croix de Guerre , which is the highest honour an enlisted soldier can be awarded. This was for fixing signal wires under artillery attack (needs confirmation). He was at Verdun for the entire campaign (for more information, see http://war1418.com/battleverdun/ ) We can only imagine what this must have been like. His daughter Renee told me that he often had nightmares in the years after the war.
His younger brother, Jean Baptiste, also fought in the war but was taken prisoner by the Germans, and unfortunately caught TB whilst imprisoned. He was exchanged for another prisoner during the war and after treatment for some time in Switzerland [Source: letter ], returned to Guernsey where he died in 1922 [S:note from Celestine in her papers]. His sister Olga is also said to have died at a young age, again from our family curse, TB. Marie Renee (known as Renee) migrated to New York at age 36, where she met a Swiss national, Paul Sherer, with whom she settled down and had a child. It appears she ran a guesthouse in Long Island, while her husband was an engineer. Raymond visited her in the 1950’s when he first went to North America. It doesn’t appear that she ever returned to Guernsey, and she died in Flushing, Long Island on 2 February 1963
Of Yves’ other brother, Jean Louis, known as Gros Jean, we know very little. Paul remembers that he and Yves did not get along. He had a farm called “Sous L’eglise” in St Saviors, married Adele Laneau and they had a number of children (she already had one child, Walter, when they married).
It is clear from Celestine’s diary that she and the Goasdoué’s were childhood friends. She and Yves were married at Notre Dame de Rosaire church in 1920 and honeymooned in Dinard [S: post card from Dinard marked “souvenir of our honeymoon” ]. The photo below, from his passport, was taken that year, 18 Feb 1920.
According to family friend, Jack Keen, Yves was a charming man, even a bit of a flirt. He was very mechanically minded, and trained as a blacksmith and wheelwright during the war. He had a motorbike, a Red Indian, the first one imported into the Island. It had a pillion and there is a story about him roaring off on it one day, thinking Celestine was seated behind him, when in fact, the pillion came loose and she was left standing with the seat between her legs! [S: Paul Goasdoue]. Celestine’s niece, Yvonne Guegan, remembers a visit from them, when she was very young and living in Brittany, arriving on a smart red motorbike with sidecar. [NB: we have a document allowing him to take a motorbike to France in 1928, possibly this was the occasion Yvonne remembers]
They took a lease on the farm Les Prevosts in 1921 and ran it as a dairy. There is one letter from Yves written to Celestine, who has gone to Brittany. Though the year is not indicated, we think it may have been when she went to visit her ailing mother in 1924.
Yves writes “I fret when you are not here …. the little ones are very well. It’s a pleasure their health is very good” and finishes with “a big kiss from afar, while waiting to do so up close. Yves, who does not forget you” (It’s much prettier in French, so excuse my clumsy translation: “je termine en t’embrassant bien fort de loin en attendant de le faire de pre. Yves qui te n’oublie pas.”
After fathering 8 children, and successfully running the dairy for many years, Yves contracted tuberculosis (TB). This was a very common illness amongst the general population at that time, and of course very common in dairy workers. We know today that it is passed in unpasteurised milk. After a long illness, the bedridden Yves eventually died in 1937, aged 50.