Veteran Stories:
Alicia Chambers

Air Force

  • Betty (Harris) Bauer and Alicia (Kent) Chambers on leave in Montreal, Quebec, while on an RCAF Photography Course in Rockcliffe, Ontario. All of Betty and Alicia's postings coincided throughtout service life and they now get together for WD reunions.

    Alicia Chambers
  • Graduating class #34 of the RCAF School of Photography. Alicia (Kent) Chambers (back row, extreme right) was posted to #3 Ground Reconnaissance School, Summerside, Prince Edward Island. photo taken on June 2, 1944, Rockcliffe, Ontario.

    Alicia Chambers
  • Wedding group picture with Alicia Kent and husband Percy Chambers at their reception at the YWCA in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They were married between postings with WD friends in attendance. September, 1945.

    Alicia Chambers
  • RCAF Women's Division recruits boarded CPR train enroute to #7 Manning Depot, Rockcliffe, Ontario, with names, home towns and trades published in The Calgary Herald, September, 1943.

    Alicia Chambers
  • Alicia Chambers operates the lantern slide machine producing silhouette copies of various aircraft to be used for the teaching of aircraft recognition to aircrew trainees. Lantern slides were early transparencies used for projection. September 1943.

    Alicia Chambers
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"We would send the trainees up with aerial cameras, and they were supposed to literally pick spots - in later years when they became active - that they would be able to recognize from the air."

Transcript

My name is Alicia Chambers. In the Air Force I picked up the name of Kenny. When I enlisted I was Alicia Kent from New Dayton, Alberta. I enlisted in Calgary. I went to Calgary to go to normal school to become a schoolteacher. In those days the new teachers were sent to the rural areas, or to places that would even be unattractive – a Hutterite colony. So I wanted to shy away from that, and when I read in the paper that RCAF Women’s Division (WD) were taking on women as photographers… this involved a training course of three months. When I enlisted it was September 1943. When we arrived from Manning I think there was three hundred of us in the Squadron. There were many wanting photography, so they sent us out to Dauphin, Manitoba for what they called ‘Contact Training.’ We were there from October until March. By March, they had openings in the photo school – which was also at Rockcliffe – so we took the course in photography. We chose to go to Summerside, Prince Edward Island. We were stationed there for fourteen months. Summerside was a ground reconnaissance school and they sent in aircrew. And we, more or less, helped with the training. We would send the trainees up with aerial cameras, and they were supposed to literally pick spots – in later years when they became active – that they would be able to recognize from the air. We’d give them the camera and we’d give them these various points to take pictures of. We would pick up the film from the hangar and develop it, take the film to the course instructor and he would see how well these students were able to pinpoint places that, in theory, they were to be bombing later.
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