55th Battalion, New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island Regiment
43rd Battalion, Manitoba Regiment
Private Neils Goodine was born September 28, 1897 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Clement Goodine and Mary White. After returning to Canada with his parents
shortly after his birth, the 1901 Census reveals that Neils was the oldest of three brothers, the other two being Cecil and Norman. Records also show that
they had a younger sister, Ruth, who was born in 1902. Ruth would pass away at the premature age of only two years old a few years later. While little is
known of his early years growing up in Fredericton with his family, by the time war broke out in 1914, Neils had been working as a stone cutter in the area
and records suggest that both his mother and father had passed away.
When Neils formally enlisted in Sussex, New Brunswick with the 55th Battalion on September 1, 1915 his brother Norman was noted as his only next-of-kin
with an address at 475 Brunswick Street, Fredericton. Raised in the Catholic Church and only 18 years of age, Neils stood five feet six inches tall and had
a fair complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair. Neils would not be the only brother to enlist. His younger brother Cecil would also leave for Europe two
years after Neils while the youngest brother, Norman, would reside with the Western Union Office in Fredericton. The young Private Goodine, reported in
newspapers as having a “sterling character”, would not return home to family and friends.
According to his service record, Private Neils Goodine left for Camp Valcartier from Sussex with the 55th Battalion on September 2, 1915 where he would
train for two months. By October 30, his unit had embarked from Quebec for England on the S.S. Corsican and would arrive November 9 disembarking at
Plymouth after a week and half long trip across the Atlantic Ocean. After spending the winter of 1915-1916 with his unit in England for training, by March
24, 1916 Private Goodine had been admitted to the Moore Barracks, Canadian Hospital at Shorncliffe, suffering from pneumonia where he would stay for
thirty-four days until being moved to the Monks Horton Casualty Clearing Hosptial where he would be discharged May 1.
By the early summer of 1916, as Canadians were becoming more active along northern France and in Belgium, Private Goodine would join the 43rd Battalion
after being with the 17th, and 40th Battalions, and leave for France on July 29. The spring and summer of 1916 saw Canadians involved in actions in
northern France and in Belgium, with particular attention on the Somme battles which had started in early July. Newspapers report that throughout the next
few months, Neils would become involved in the Somme battles as Canadians came into the fighting in the Somme region in September of 1916. The Somme
battles saw approximately 24, 000 Canadian casualties over a period of three months.
According to his circumstances of death record, Neils was a part of the 43rd Battalion’s attack on Regina Trench, the second attack by Canadians on a
strongly held German position in the vicinity of Courcelette, France. It is during this crippling fighting that Private Goodine was reported missing on
October 8. A year would go by with family and friends hoping that he would eventually be located in a hospital or prison camp before he would be officially
presumed killed in action during the Regina Trench attacks in the fall of 1916. His brother, Private Cecil Goodine, would leave for Camp Valcartier with
the 236th Battalion a day before news of his brother’s death was reported in local papers. Private Neils Goodine was only 19 years old.
Lest We Forget
Private Neils Goodine is honoured at Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt, France. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the cemetery is
approximately 1.5 kilometers north-west of Courcelette and there are 1,202 identified casualties.