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Remembering the War Years When war was declared in 1939, Edward Saulnier was 24 years old. He was married to Julienne and had two sons, Gerald and Paul. At that time he lived on Fifth Street in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. At 24 he had been a tradesman for some years and was a painter and decorator. During those years it was sometimes difficult to find work. For those who could find work wages were low. Edward joined the Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Canadian Air Force in June 1941. At the time of his enlistment the RCAF was looking for tradesmen for their ground crew, men who were painters and workers for repair and maintenance on bases. Basic training included drill, use of weapons, use of gas masks and general military procedures. The men of the ground crews only had to go on parade once a month for inspection. They were also in the parades. But, those of the ground units, like Edward, did not have to continue to learn drill. “Out of them all, only the bigger and hardier men were sent overseas. The rest of us stayed here”. The first posting was in Trenton, Ontario. It was there he was trained to lay battleship linoleum. “I was the only one who could do it since I had worked with it before”. The second posting was at Valleyfield, Quebec. From there he was posted to St. John, New Brunswick and then to East Camp at RCAF Station Yarmouth, NS. While at East Camp, Edward never attended any of the dances but he did spend a lot of time with the soldiers, airmen, and Telegraphist Air Gunner trainees, based in Yarmouth. “They were all quite friendly, but the British were the friendliest. The sailors and soldiers seemed to be quite jealous of the airmen.” “One night, the soldiers almost got into a fight with the police. But the officers at the camps recalled the troops before any real trouble started. The incident frightened the local residents so much that they went into their houses and locked the doors.” After the posting at East Camp, Edward was transferred to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, his fifth posting during the war. This was to be his final posting. The war was finally drawing to a end. Edward was discharged when his services were no longer needed. He was a Corporal when he was discharged after his four years of service. Edward returned to Yarmouth. He recalled, “It was hard to find a place to live in town. Most of the soldiers who had wives and children took up a lot of the rooms in town”. He did find a house on Kirk Street and at one time rented a room to a family. As for his recollections of Yarmouth during the war, Edward said the people in Yarmouth knew that the camps were necessary and for protection “from U-boats that would attack the ships”. “People disliked the Germans. They had heard the horror stories about what Hitler had been doing in Europe. The people in Yarmouth were always fearful of a German invasion. But, positive things were also heard from overseas during the war years. “People believed that Canadian soldiers were the best, way ahead of the American soldiers. They heard that Canadian soldiers were welcome anywhere they went. When I certain country heard that we were going to assist, boy, were they happy”. Edward lived to the age of 83. He passed away February 15, 1999. [Edward shared this information with his grandson, Dyson Smith, in April of 1990. Dyson was at the time a history student at Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School]
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Remembering the War Years Louis Edward Saulnier
SAULNIER, Louis Edward - 83, 15 Kirk St., Yarmouth, passed away February 15, 1999, in Villa St. Joseph du Lac. Born in St. Anne du Ruisseau, he was a son of the late Edmond and Sarah (Bourque) Saulnier. He was a painter. He was a member of Knights of Columbus Council 2181. He was in the RCAF during the Second World War, and served four years in Canada. He was an usher at St. Ambrose Cathedral. Surviving are his wife, the former Julienne Isabelle d'Entremont; sons, Rev. Gerald, Berwick; Paul, West Pubnico; daughters, Jean (Mrs. Neil Smith), Arcadia; Jeanette (Mrs. Donnie Southern), Lower Sackville; 10 grandchilden; five great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by three sons and two daughters, all in infancy; brothers, Archie, Narcisse, Camille, Jeremy, Francis; sisters, Irene, Ida, Antoinette, Loretta. Arrangments are entrusted to H. M. Huskilson's Funeral Home, Yarmouth. Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. today, February 18, in St. Ambrose Cathedral, Rev. Gerald Saulnier officiating. Burial in Our Lady of Calvary Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to Our Lady of Calvary Cemetery Fund.
Edward Saulnier (1997)