As written by great-grand-daughter Raegan, at age 8, Pincher Creek Canada
Our family treasure. By: Raegan Goasdoue
Grade 3 1998
Our family treasure now belongs to my Grandpa, Raymond Rene Goasdoue. My Grandpa (Raymond Goasdoue) was born Nov. 1, 1922 on the Island of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of France. He is the second oldest of eight children born to Yves and Celestine Goasdoue. Their house was a two story stone building with stone walls approximately two feet thick and that is where my Grandpa was born.
My Great Grandfather, Yves Goasdoue, was born in 1887 in Saint Malo, Brittany, which is in France. He moved to Guernsey in 1895 with his parents and later joined the French Army in 1907. He was already in the army when World War I broke out in 1914 – France and England were at war with Germany. He served in the war for four years from 1914-1918 and in 1926 was awarded medals for service and military action.
These medals are definately a family treasure. My Grandpa owns them now and they are special because they are part of our family history. The medals are made of bronze with a cloth ribbon and pin attached so the soldiers could pin them on their uniforms. The medals were stamped out manually with a press by the French Army and are now 73 years old. Ten years after my Great Grandfather was awarded his medals (1936) he passed away due to the after effects of gas poisoning which he received during the war. The Germans used a gas like “tear gas” against the French soldiers and they were exposed to it so much it eventually killed them.
My Grandpa Ray was still living in Guernsey when World War II broke out. The Island of Guernsey was occupied by the German’s during the war from 1940-1945 so my Grandpa wasn’t allowed to leave. He was a P.O.W (prisoner of war). The schools were evacuated and the children were sent to England to boarding schools until the war was over. While my Grandpa was held there he had to follow rules laid out by the Germans, worked for them and had curfews. By the time the war was nearing the end
(1945) food and clothing were scarce but eventually supplies from the Red Cross came in on a ship from Sweden.
In 1948 my Grandpa immigrated to Canada. He flew from London to Toronto and spent two years working on a farm near St. Catherine’s, Ontario. He then travelled west as far as Saskatchewan and a year later found himself in Calgary, Alberta. He had a job working on the Banff/Jasper Highway. He spent nine years in Calgary before moving to Pincher Creek, Alberta in 1961.
Before my teacher gave me this project “Family Treasures” I didn’t know about the 73 year old medals that my Grandpa had or how the Goasdoue family made their way to Pincher Creek all the way from the Channel Islands. Our family treasure makes me feel proud to know that my Great Grandfather was brave and served his country in the war; but is also makes me sad because lots of soldiers were killed, and my Great Grandfather did die because of the war. It makes me happy that my Grandpa has the medals and pictures and they are still in good shape….because they are a part of OUR family history.