Veteran Stories:
Lavada Beesack

Air Force

  • Lavada Beesack received this Trade badge for Meteorological Observer in September 1944. The Shield-shaped felt badge depicts a severe thunderstorm, and was worn on the upper right sleeve above other badges.

    Lavada Beesack
  • Lavada Beesack's rank badge for Leading Air Woman, given after her promotion in late 1944. A felt propeller embroidered in white and outlined in purple, the badge was worn on the mid-upper sleeve of a uniform jacket.

    Lavada Beesack
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"It was quite an experience, and I look back with fond memories, and many, many warm feelings"

Transcript

Hello, my name is Lot Beesack. That's my nickname, my given name is Lavada, and I enlisted in Hamilton, Ontario, in the RCAF, WDs, in May of '44. At that time, if your Christmas and Easter exam marks were good enough, and you enlisted before the end of the year, you were not obliged to write the provincial department examinations. And I think if I had stayed and written the Latin exam, I would most likely still be in high school.

Anyway, a friend of mine was a Corporal at the RCAF recruiting centre in Hamilton, and her kid sister was younger than I am - at Westdale Collegiate, where we attended school - and Muriel had told her sister that if she saw me, to say that I would be welcome up at the recruiting centre. So I may have cut class. We rode our bikes in those days, and I went up to the recruiting centre, and Muriel said, "We need two women from Hamilton." And I said, "You've got one!" And that's how I got into the Air Force. And she said to me, "We've got two numbers. Which one do you prefer?" And I said, "W31732-oh." We didn't say, "zero," we said "oh" in those days.

And after a few days, I think, I went to Rockcliffe in Ottawa and took my basic training. And there were two weeks to be filled in before the meteorological observer course started in Toronto. So I went to Fingal, Ontario, which was an airbase near London. And in the summer of '44, I attended, with thirteen other WDs, a course to become a meteorological observer. And in September, we all graduated and went down to some office building in Toronto, and we were dispatched. There were six or seven of us sent to Halifax, and I know I got to a phone and phoned my mom in Hamilton, and I said, "Mom, I'm off to the east coast!" And I never really did think how it must have affected her, I being an only child.

Anyway, it was a fascinating trade, meteorological observer. It was essential service. We used to take the weather every hour on the half hour, and then send out the weather - cloud type, height, visibility, precip if any - and every six hours we had a big map that we plotted. It was called a synoptic map. Dartmouth, as I said, was operational. We had Hurricanes that went out on dawn and dusk patrols. And we would phone the tower and give them the weather, and if the winds weren't too high, they would send out the pilots.

I was proud, and I am still proud, that I enlisted. It was quite an experience, and I look back with fond memories, and many, many warm feelings.

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