Growing up, Geoff Goodship didn’t hear much about his father’s military background.
He knew Laurence Albert Goodship served in the Canadian Army during the First World War, but very few details were ever related from the experience his dad underwent as a young man.
A few months ago, the 88-year-old Campbell Riverite came home to find an interesting message on his answering machine.
The caller introduced himself as an amateur historian, and explained he was researching the actions of the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles Batallion after acquiring a German machine gun the unit had captured during an action in Belgium.
In addition to the reclaimed weapon, the caller said he has also bought Goodship’s father’s old uniform.
At first Goodship was a tad suspicious, but curiosity won out, and he called the amateur historian back.
During the telephone exchange the historian explained he is a retired RCMP forensic scientist.
“After 30 years as a researcher he still had his investigative skill, and for some reason or another he was using it to discover more about the British Columbians who fought in the First World War,” Goodship said.
By poring over official records, and the diaries written by soldiers on the Western Front, he has been able to piece together an assault Goodship’s father was involved in, which saw the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles take the German machine gun he now possesses.
He hopes to include his findings, the machine gun and Laurence Goodship’s uniform in an exhibit at the Okanagan Military Museum in Kelowna.
Before he does that, however, he has agreed to pack the memorabilia up and make a trip to Campbell River. The historian has prepared a PowerPoint presentation, which he will give on Aug. 16 at a local restaurant for around 20 people with ties to the Goodship family.
“I think he will be able to give me some understanding of the things my dad would never talk about,” Goodship said.
“I hope to come away from that with an understanding of my father and what he went through as a young soldier out of British Columbia.”