Veteran Stories:
Margaret Agnes “Billie” Harvey (née Anning)

Air Force

  • Billie Harvey (on the far right) and comrades on leave near Ottawa, Ontario, 1945.

    Billie Harvey
  • British Commonwealth Air Training Plan cadets at Moncton, New Brunswick, date unknown. John T.M. Godfrey (circled), who was Billie Harvey's boyfriend during the war, was killed serving overseas with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

    Billie Harvey
  • Royal Canadian Air Force, Women's Division personnel serving at Brantford, Ontario, February 13, 1942. Billie Harvey's sister, Jean Anning, is second from right.

    Billie Harvey
  • Royal Canadian Air Force, Women's Division training group in Toronto, Ontario, 1942. Billie Harvey is eighth from left in the top row.

    Billie Harvey
  • Ottawa Choral Union Program for Haydn's Creation, March 13, 1945. Corporal Anning (Billie Harvey) sang as a soprano in that performance, and many others.

    Billie Harvey
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"But so they had, they made me start writing letters to families and I’m telling you, that was not easy to do."

Transcript

When I was in school, I used to be first with another girl, a friend of ours. We were always the two that led. That worked very well when I went to get a job. Well, I wanted to get something up in Saint John and so they just wanted to see what I’d had in school. And they discovered I led everything and won, very good. So they gave me a chance to start with the services. They had the service stuff of the different ones and they wanted me to look at it, and then talk to them. So that was the first time I really found out about the war. And that was very scary. Once I joined into the services, I was happy because I was working hard and I knew I was doing something for … Well, you know, when you’re up in Ottawa [in Canadian Military Headquarters], you know that what you were doing is being, where I was, they put me right up with the head there. Because they knew that I had a lot of brains, which I did have. Well, just the normal, you know. But so they had, they made me start writing letters to families and I’m telling you, that was not easy to do. I didn’t sign them. I had two officers, because I still wanted just to be a secretary. And the two, they would sign them. And they’d say, you’ve got to sign. I said, I don’t, I don’t want my name there, but I will help you. So that worked that way. Because I did for one [letter] and I got phoned. My mother and father got phone calls. So that didn’t work out well. See they were in St. Andrews [New Brunswick] and I was in Saint John. So I said, no more, I’ll do it but no name. So you’ve never see my name in some of the stuff, which I think was the smartest thing I ever did.
Follow us