Amélie, our Canadian guide is honouring both her Acadian heritage and the service of Acadians who fought in the Second World War.
Amélie Goguen, 25, from Moncton, New Brunswick is spending several months as part of the guide team at the Juno Beach Centre. She arrived just in time to mark Acadian Week. It’s an especially moving opportunity for her, as she is able to honour her grandfather, Aristide Goguen, a veteran whom she never had the chance to meet in life. Mr. Goguen, who was 21-years-old when he fought through France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany during the final year of the war, passed away in 1980, long before Amélie was born.
“My father has always told me stories about my grandfather. I learned about his wartime experiences after reading letters he wrote to his family during the war,” said Amélie from Courseulles-sur-Mer, Normandy, where the JBC is located. “His ancestors were Bretons from Morlaix, who left for Acadia and a great adventure. One of our ancestors was a fur trader who was able to escape into the woods during the deportations, thanks to the help of a local Indigenous community.”
Amélie was thrilled to speak at the ceremony in honour of all Acadian soldiers held at the JBC on Tuesday, August 11.
“I am incredibly proud to represent my family and my origins here on Juno,” said Amélie. “Learning more about Canada’s role during the Second World War and being able to pass that knowledge along to visitors has made my connection to my grandfather so much stronger. His story, and the stories of other young Canadians just like him who gave up years of their lives to fight for what they believed in is brought to life on Juno. Having the chance to share and celebrate my Acadian heritage in France during the Festival this year has been an experience I will never forget.”
“This experience has deepened my identity as an Acadian,” said Amelie about her participation in the Acadian Week Festival. “What does it mean to be Acadian? You won’t get a precise answer to that question today. You’ll hear about colonization, deportation and Francophonie, of August 15th, “fricot” [a popular Acadian dish] and stories of resilience. But not of our service during the Second World War. It warmed my heart to see so many French citizens honoring them today. I thought of my grandfather, who participated in the Battle of Groningen in the Netherlands and liberated the town from Nazi occupation, of the atrocities experienced by Acadians, and I thought of the fact that so many of these people were younger than I am today. It makes me very proud to be Acadian and to carry on my grandfather’s legacy at Juno Beach.”
Aristide Goguen was born in Notre-Dame, New Brunswick in 1920 to a family with 12 children. After the death of his father, he worked with his brothers on the family farm. In July 1941, 21-year-old Aristide enlisted in the army and was sent to Quebec to join the Fusiliers du Mont Royal. During the winter of 1945, he landed in France and fought throughout Northwestern Europe until the end of the war. He participated in critical battles in France, Belgium and Germany. In April 1945, he took part in Battle of Groningen during the liberation of the Netherlands. He earned the France and Germany Star for his service and returned to Canada from Europe in 1946. In 1949 Aristide married Aline Babineau and they had five children. Amongst other roles throughout his career, he spent time working at the Canadian Forces Supply Depot in Moncton. Aristide died in 1980 at the age of 60.
Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.