Veteran Stories:
Herbert Swinkin

Air Force

  • Mr. Swinkin pictured in uniform circa August 1945.

    Herbert Swinkin
  • Mr. Swinkin's Certificate of Service, November 1945.

    Herbert Swinkin
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"And apparently when they went down, he went down to dip his wings, everything kept going on; and they went right down and got killed."

Transcript

Well, my name is Herbert Swinkin. I was born in Toronto on 8 November, 1921. My dad had had a problem, a medical problem. He had an internal goiter, for which he had to be hospitalized. After he got over that operation; well, not after he got over it, during the time that he was recuperating from it, I was unable to go into the service at that time. However, when he finally got back to normal and was able to operate the business, that was how I got into it and my first love would have been the air force in any case, no matter what. And that’s what happened, that’s why I joined the air force. Primarily you’re there to operate the radio, between yourself and the pilots, or the ground. When you’re up in the air, the whole idea is to try and shoot down anybody who comes seeking you, or if you go after anybody else, you shoot them down. Unfortunately, or I don’t know, fortunately or unfortunately, but I never did get overseas, so I never had that experience. But I did fire machine guns over Lake Erie in the training process. One day, we came back from one of our daily sessions up in the air and this was out west. One of the chaps in our flight had gotten killed. He was flying with a pilot. The pilot who was doing the flight with him was flying over his family home, which was like a farm, out in the middle of nowhere. And apparently when they went down, he went down to dip his wings, everything kept going on; and they went right down and got killed. And I remember coming back from my flight for the afternoon and hearing about that; and that was really a very sad thing because this was a man who had, I don’t remember, he had two or three children. And to hear, to hear him getting killed, it was really shocking. But you know, you get over those things after a long period of time.
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