Driven to Serve

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Nov 05, 2016 12:00 AM

Our mother came into this world as Emily Victoria Goodyear on July 16, 1925, at the Grace General Hospital in St. John's, NL. Little did anyone know until many years later that she shared the hospital nursery with her future husband, William Alexander Luscombe. He had been born on July 8, but his mother had a touch of scarlet fever so his stay was extended in quarantine. 

“Vicky,” as she came to be known, grew up at 6 Walsh’s Square (partway up Signal Hill), the only girl in the family, sandwiched between four brothers, two on either side. Any shyness that may have been part of her genetic makeup was scrubbed away fending for herself amongst all those boys.

When she turned 16, she attempted to enlist in the forces, but was refused because of her young age. So instead she found work at the Royal Stores on Water Street, where she worked for two years. The day after her 18th birthday, she and her best friend, Gert McCumber, headed for the temporary enlistment office at Lester’s Field to try again. While Gert was refused on medical grounds, Vicky was in!

Next, Vicky headed off to Kitchener, ON, where she requested and was permitted to complete a driver’s course and was the only volunteer designated to Chilliwack, BC, as a proud member of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC). She was assigned her duties as a staff driver and courier, and was given her own Jeep. She revelled in the activity and independence of the forces for the duration of the war.

On August 14, 1945, she was delivering a message in downtown Vancouver and was stopped at a red light, when suddenly people started piling onto her Jeep yelling and screaming and waving flags. It had just been announced that the war in Japan was over and the celebration had begun! A photographer from the local paper snapped a great shot that captured the moment.

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Vicky and Bill celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in June.

The war was over and so was the big adventure. After the dust settled and the paperwork was done, Vicky was released from duty and headed back home to Newfoundland. She travelled by train from Vancouver to Sydney, NS, to catch the ferry home. On board the ferry, which turned out to be the SS Kyle, she met her nursery-mate Bill Luscombe, who was returning from fighting his way through Europe and taking part in the liberation of Holland. Love blossomed and the rest is history as they say. They married the following year and raised a family of five children in St. John’s.

Vicky and Bill both turned 91 this past July and celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 25 at their residence in Tiffany Village. By Rob Luscombe