It was late October 2006 when we first came to look at McNutt's Island, before we made an offer on the house. Everyone we saw in Nova Scotia then, it seemed, was wearing a deep red poppy pin made of some velvety material. Eventually we learned that it was for Remembrance Day, November 11th. They are commonly worn for a couple of weeks before that date. I have never seen anything like this in the U.S.
At first, Remembrance Day was for the vast losses suffered by Canadians in the First World War. Later its scope widened to include the deaths of Canadians in the wars and peace-keeping missions that Canada has committed itself to since.
David King Goulden was born in this house in 1919 and grew up on McNutt's Island. There's an account of his family here.
He attended the McNutt's Island School. We found his fourth grade graduation certificate in the house when we moved in.
David was a young fisherman, working out of Lockeport, when he enlisted in 1940. He arrived in England with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders in July 1941.
A year and a half later, he married Barbara Lynette Redding of Bournemouth.
He landed at Normandy on June 6, 1944 and received special mention when, during the fierce fighting, he mounted the hulls of two Sherman tanks to rescue the commanders. He was killed in action on October 9, 1944 during the Battle for the Belgian Channel Ports. He is buried in Adegem Canadian War Cemetery, Maldegem, Oost-Viaanderen, Belgium in Row E, Plot 1, Grave 11.
On Remembrance Day I think of this young fisherman with a gentle face and smile who grew up in this house and died so soon. Sometimes war becomes very abstract. Knowing a little about a particular person's story makes it less so.
For the account of David's military history I am quoting and summarizing from a wonderful virtual exhibit, Shelburne County Men: Second World War and the Korean War, assembled by Eleanor Robertson Smith for the Shelburne County Archives and Genealogical Society and included in the Virtual Museum of Canada. This is a remarkable exhibit of local history for the Shelburne area.