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> Issue 35 > Page 47 - Gwen LeFort, War Bride in WWI

Page 47 - Gwen LeFort, War Bride in WWI

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/12/1 (1686 reads)

Gwen LeFort, Vfer Bride in WW I I was bom in Southampton, England, in the year 1902. I came to Canada in 1918, lived for two years in Halifax--my husband was working at the shipyard, and the Depres? sion, got laid off. So we came up to Cheti- cam.p where his parents were living. And they had a farm there, so we'd be okay there. Stayed in Cheticamp for 15 years. And then, I was very, very lonely when I went there. I didn't speak the language, and I was not used to country living--I'm a city girl. I went to school in England until I was 14. And then, of course, the First Great War broke out, so I quit school and went to work. I was delivering milk. The men were all gone to war, and the women were doing the men's work. It was conscription in Eng? land at the time. My dad didn't have to go because he had a large family, he was able to stay home. But the majority of the men were at war. The only young men around were like the Canadian soldiers who were stationed in Shorncliff, which is about 84 miles from Folkestone. A lot of Canadian soldiers. And there were a lot of wounded Canadian soldiers that used to come into town, because Shorncliff--there was a big military hospital there. So, we were very attracted to Canadian boys because we loved their accent. I always say I fell in love with an accent. My father had a restaurant, and there's where I met my husband. He was in hospital, and he was in my dad's place, and I met him there, took him home. My mum felt sor? ry for the boys from Canada because they were so far from home. So that's where we met. And when he had to go back to France, we were corresponding. And then he came out to Canada once he was discharged. I didn't follow until a year after. I didn't want to get up and leave like that; I wanted to know what I was coming to. He mentioned Cheticamp. I said, "Well, what is it like?" He said, "It's a nice place." He said, "It's country." I said, "Okay, we'll go, and if I don't like it there, will I have to stay?" "No, you won't have to stay." But once he got to Cheticamp, there was no use saying, "I don't like it-- can we move?"--I had to stay. So we lived there for 15 years. (How was your husband wounded?) Actually, he wasn't wounded. He was shell-shocked. The effects of the war, being in the trenches, it had worn down his--his nerves were gone. He was very, very nervous. He was discharged on those grounds. In fact, he got a pension for that reason. (When you met him, could you tell this was the case?) At times. He dwelled on what had happened. I used to say, "It's not happen? ing now. Why not try to forget it?" (He dwelled on it....) Yes. And he did for years after. In fact, I was living in Che? ticamp, married, and had about 8 children-- I had 11 altogether--and he had a nervous breakdown, and it was the effects of what he had gone through during the war. Mental? ly, he was wounded. (And yet you wanted to (47)
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