Photo by: Theodore C
Not every war veteran in the Second World War was able to experience the frontlines of battle, though each played a vital part in fighting for their respective country. Russel Goad, 94, was one of many Canadian war veterans who did not serve overseas, but stayed in Canada to fulfill other duties.
With Remembrance Day on Friday, it is important to recognize all veterans and current members of the military who did or still do contribute to make Canada and the rest of the world a safe place.
Goad started his service in the military on August 25, 1942, at the age of 20. He enlisted in Toronto. He was sent on an 18-week training course on wireless equipment theory and wireless telegraphy in Guelph, Ontario. Following this, he was sent to the Royal Canadian Air Force station in Lachine, Quebec for basic training. Lastly, he finished his training at the No. 1 wireless school in Montreal on May 22, 1943.
“There was 66 of us in two flights, and of the sixty-six of us, 64 went overseas, and two of us went to the west coast. The reason being, they expected you to take wireless, sending and receiving at 18 words per minute,” Goad said.
While working in Vancouver at the Western Air Command, Marine Section, Goad developed an ear infection from the different earphones he would wear, so he was transferred to Bella Bella, B.C. on April 1, 1944, and worked as a code and cypher clerk.
“We would send secret messages, though I can’t tell you even though it’s been 70 some odd years. You signed a secret pact and I don’t break it,” Goad said.
About a year later, he was able to apply for a medical discharge due to the fact he could not operate the skills for which he was trained in, so he was discharged from the R.C.A.F. on March 14th, 1945.
But, Goad’s journey did not end there. Just a month later, he received a call from the army; he’d been drafted and assigned to the Royal Canadian Corp of Signals, at Barriefield Office. He was discharged again; this time on January 22, 1946. He was 24.
“Looking back my time in some of the stations in the air force, they got an awful lot of pasta, and I’ve grown to the stage where since I left the air force, I never had a pasta meal, and that’s over 70 years,” Goad said and laughed.
After the war, Goad worked as an accountant for Dominion Oxygen Company, later to be called Praxair. Later he worked for Supreme Welding Supplies in Richmond Hill
Goad is thankful for his time in both the Air Force and the Army. He couldn’t even imagine the living conditions that the men overseas had to endure. He was given proper meals, and was able to go home to visit his family once in a while. Though he speculated his time in the west coast was a lot more important than people brought it out to be.
“I always thought they wanted two fast operators on the west coast, was because they never knew what the Japanese were going to do. They could have invaded B.C.,” Goad said.