Veteran Stories:
Marie Verna La Rue

Air Force

  • Marie La Rue, 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"I thought I was doing something for the country. I was very patriotic; I really, I felt that way, even as a young girl, I did."

Transcript

We had a store and post office out in the country. They used to bring these posters in advertising joining up. And I said to my mom, gee, can I join the air force? She said, sure, if you want to. And that’s what made me think about it, were all these big posters encouraging the girls to join up. And that’s when I decided to join up. The air force girls [Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division], we had to be twenty-one to go overseas and I was not old enough. I was only eighteen, so I was not allowed to go overseas. I did all my service right in Canada, so. It used to get me mad sometimes. I said, how come the army girls [Canadian Women’s Army Corps] can go but the air force can’t? You know. The air force girls can’t go overseas until they’re twenty-one. Now why the difference, I don’t know. And we always had the impression that the army girls were kind of tough. No, I’m serious. Like, we had to have a little bit more education to get the air force. Not a lot but a little bit more. With Grade 4, you could get in the army but you couldn’t in the air force. Like, you had to have a little bit more education. Not a lot but a little bit more. I had my Grade 12 by that time, well, I had Grade 11. All the air force girls took their basic training in Ottawa. I think it was a three-month course and then we got transferred to Calgary, No. 3 [Service Flying Training School] out by Currie Barracks. Currie Barracks is army but the air force, we were next door to Currie Barracks. And I was there for, oh gosh, how long? Over a year I think. And my husband and I got married. He went overseas and that’s when they decided to send me down to Saint-Jean, Quebec, and I did store work there. You call it in ‘stores’; you didn’t sell things but issued things. You could either be issuing gas to the ones that were training on their planes at night; you’d get up at night and issue them gas for their planes, that sort of thing. Or you’d be issuing clothes, it depended what section you worked in. I thought I was doing something for the country. I was very patriotic; I really, I felt that way, even as a young girl, I did. And my girlfriend was going home to Edmonton to visit her family, so she asked me to come with her, so I did. And this young airman gets on [the train], I thought, gee, he’s a cute looking guy. So we started talking to him. In those days, you’d go to Edmonton Friday night and you’d come back Sunday on the midnight train. You’d get into Calgary at six o’clock in the morning. He says, save me a seat. So I did. And we started dating after that and that’s how we met and married a few months later. Met him on the train. I saved him a seat. No, he saved me a seat; that was it - it was on the train up to Edmonton. We got married in Calgary. We were both in the air force. About a week later, he was sent overseas, and then they posted me down to Quebec, which I was down in there for quite a while, working in stores. He was gone a year. We were together about eight days and I never saw him for a whole year. Hardly knew the guy, honest to God. But it’s fine, we’ve gotten along well ever since anyway. It was quite something.
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