Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Interview With A Veteran
All days he is with me, and here today on Remembrance Day, I can state that I will never forget.
The picture is of my Dad when he was 17 years old. I can’t help but well up with tears because I love when I see a family face. I see all of my brothers in tiny little pieces, Harry, Dwain, Gerry and Joey. I love how in the family face I am getting glimpses big time of my nephews Jamie and Zac. Nathan and I laughed the other day when looking at this picture because he and I both always have our fists clenched just like that. Nadalene always screams ‘you guys are going to get arthritis.’ How the family face goes on and what a wonderful thing that is.
How many of you guys are with me when I think that Nana probably placed Dad's little cap on his head so jauntily just before they took the picture?
Probably about 10 years ago, I asked my Dad some questions about his time in the military. I had one of those question books about your life and your parents’ lives.
What made you decide to join the military? Were you drafted or was it a personal choice?
I joined the military for two reasons, the first was patriotism and the second was for adventure. It was a personal choice as I joined when I was 17 years old. As an appendix to why I decided to join the military was because I went to see the movie ‘Captains of the Clouds’ and the theme song was ‘We’re off to the big show.’ That movie made me want to join the Air Force.
Were you concerned about the world situation at that time?
Yes, I had grown up during the depression, so I was concerned more about people having jobs. At 17 years old the war seemed far away, while men being able to support their families were more of an immediate concern.
Were there other family members also in the military when you joined?
Yes, I had cousins in the military.
Where were you living when you joined the service?
My parents lived in Winnipeg, but I was working and living in Calgary, Alberta when I joined the service.
What branch did you join?
I joined the RCAF which stood for Royal Canadian Air Force. I said it stood for Really Caught and Fucked.
Where did you undergo your basic training? Was it tough?
I underwent my basic training in Manning Pool RCAF No. 2 in the old Brandon arena in Brandon, Manitoba. The training was strenuous. My training officer was Corporal Turecki and he was a tough miserable bastard.
Did you have any further training? If so, what?
I went to No. 3 RCAF Wireless School in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I was trained to be a gunner.
What was your area of expertise in the military?
I was a gunner in the planes.
What rank did you hold?
I held the rank of Leading Air Craftsman.
There are many things I know about my Dad’s time in the military, here are a few.
*He turned 18 the day he landed in England.
*He met the love of his life at a dancehall in Aberdeen, Scotland.
*He married the wee lass from Aberdeen within a month and after seeing her only three times.
*His first child (Harry) was born in Scotland.
If anyone can shed light on this one, go for it.
*I am not sure about this one, but I always thought he was shot in the leg during the war. Then I talked to him and I think he said shrapnel hit him. I talked to Shelly about this awhile ago and I can’t remember if she had a different version of it.
I always laugh at this story and honestly, I think it is true. When my Dad went for his physical and had to get checked there was a doctor and a few older soldiers along with other new soldiers getting checked out. He said the doctor looked at his penis and called the other soldiers to come take a look. They then said “Well here he is lads, God’s gift to women.”