GE­ORGE GOUDIE

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - NEWS -

Apa­per-mill time­keeper in the com­pany town of Grand Falls, Ge­orge Goudie was 18 when he headed to St. John’s to en­list in the New­found­land Reg­i­ment in March, 1916. By the fol­low­ing spring, just a few kilo­me­tres south of the fight­ing at Vimy Ridge, Cor­po­ral Goudie’s unit at­tacked the Ger­man lines in the Bat­tle of Ar­ras – and were met by a bru­tal coun­ter­at­tack. The reg­i­ment had gone to bat­tle with 521 men; it suf­fered 487 ca­su­al­ties. Cpl. Goudie was re­ported miss­ing.

A month later, a glim­mer of bit­ter­sweet news ar­rived at his par­ents’ door: He had been cap­tured – af­ter be­ing hit, in both legs, by shrap­nel and bul­lets. Ac­cord­ing to later re­ports by other cap­tured New­found­lan­ders, in­jured pris­on­ers were treated roughly, and some­times even robbed.

And food was scarce. “We had just enough to keep us alive,” re­called Pri­vate

Fred Di­a­mond, a fish­er­man from Flat Is­land, in Pla­cen­tia Bay, who was taken to the same Ger­man hospi­tal as

Cpl. Goudie.

At the end

1917, Cpl. Goudie was among thou­sands of pris­on­ers trans­ferred to neu­tral Switzer­land, un­der the aus­pices of the Red Cross, to wait out the war. Just af­ter Christ­mas, he ar­rived at the re­sort town of In­ter­laken, and for the next 10 months he re­cov­ered enough from his wounds to take up sports, in­clud­ing row­ing, with in­terned sol­diers from across the Com­mon­wealth.

By late Oc­to­ber of 1918, hopes were grow­ing that the war would soon end, when an­other calamity struck – the Spanish flu, a pan­demic that would ul­ti­mately kill up to 100 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide. In­ter­laken was quar­an­tined, and Cpl. Goudie and four of his row­ing mates would suc­cumb. The first was a pri­vate from New Zealand; then an Aus­tralian sol­dier; and soon af­ter, the New­found­lan­der.

In early November, a let­ter from a healthy Cpl. Goudie had reached his fam­ily in New­found­land. Then, on Nov. 9, two days be­fore Ar­mistice, a tele­gram fol­lowed, an­nounc­ing his death.

COUR­TESY OF THE FAM­ILY

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