By Jules Xavier, Shilo Stag
Shilo, Manitoba — An alumnus of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery (RCA) has been given a special honour by his comrades to mark an eventful 27-year career.
Paul Gauci, 92, received a special artillery commemorative coin during the RCA reunion held at Canadian Forces Base Shilo Manitoba during the weekend of June 28 to July 1, 2018.
Mr. Gauci, the longest-serving artillery officer in attendance, shared many stories from his 27-year career during the event, including the reason he chose to undertake paratrooper training and earn the title of Airborne Gunner.
“When I returned to Canada after the Second World War, we were asked ‘who wants to jump?’ I put my hand up when they said we’d be paid an extra $30 a month.”
The artillery coin was presented to Mr. Gauci by fellow Airborne Gunner Bill Tremain of St. Albert, Alberta.
This was Mr. Gauci’s third RCA reunion, and the Winnipeg-born soldier said he enjoyed returning to the Shilo base, where he took artillery training following his basic training at Fort Garry, Manitoba in 1943.
“It’s fun meeting other jumpers, and retelling stories at these reunions,” he said.
Mr. Gauci enlisted as the Second World War raged so he could serve his country, just as many of his friends had done.
By the time he was sent overseas, however, the war was over. He retired in 1970 and relocated to his current home in Gibsons, British Columbia.
Mr. Gauci, who will be 95 when the next RCA reunion takes place in 2021, could not say if he’ll be able to attend.
“If I’m alive, and healthy, perhaps you’ll see me again,” he said, with a mischievous grin.