Veteran Stories:
Roy Ogburn

Air Force

  • Roy Ogburn at ITS (Initial Training School), Regina, Saskatchewan.

  • Roy Ogburn on leave from Air Gunner School at McDonald, Manitoba. Showing off flight suit at home farm, Rabbit Lake, Saskatchewan.

  • Roy Ogburn in front of a restored Fairchild Cornell Aircraft at Tillsonburg Airport. This aircraft is of the same type than the one flown by Mr. Ogburn at Assiniboine, Saskatchewan while being at the Elementary Flying Training School.

  • Roy Ogburn at a Royal Canadian Legion meeting for Rememberance Day Ceremony on November 11, 2010 in St. Thomas, Ontario.

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"I know at 21, you had to automatically get called up, so I didn’t want to go into the army. I wanted to go into the air force. So I joined up at that time, although dad didn’t approve of it at the time."


Well, in enlisted in Saskatoon in the spring of 1943. I did nothing to enlist earlier due to dad requiring help on the farm, and my brother, Jim, had been in the army for three years at that time. I know at 21, you had to automatically get called up, so I didn’t want to go into the army. I wanted to go into the air force. So I joined up at that time, although dad didn’t approve of it at the time. Where I started from was [RCAF Station] Brandon at landing school. And that I was selected there for air crew and I ended up being in the hospital there, just at the end of my basic training. I went in on a Friday to complain about a sore throat; and the next day he said come back and see what’s going on, and I had mumps at that time. So they sent me up to the Brandon airport in the isolation hospital the next day. The next day they discovered I had pneumonia and after that, pleurisy [inflammation of the linings of the lungs and/or chest cavity]. So they started treating me with sulfa drugs, which I believe was prior to penicillin. Unfortunately, I was unconscious, I guess, for the next two weeks. My brother came up from [Camp] Shilo [Manitoba], he’d been stationed there after Fort Benning [near Columbus, Georgia, United States] training, and I have no recollection of him being there at all. I know I came to a couple of weeks later, they said. The nurse was suctioning all the phlegm, I guess, out of my throat and mouth, but after that, I was in that hospital, I think, for at least a month or six weeks, I don’t know. They sent me back home for six more weeks on sick leave. From then, I returned to Brandon, Manitoba and they said my basic was completed anyhow, so they sent me up to [RCAF Station] Edmonton to further my education up to air force standards. We went to the, we called it ‘Wet- P,’ but it was WETP [War Emergency Training Program]; and I still don’t know what that stood for. But we lived out there and we boarded out, but we learned the rapid calculation math, physics just to bring up my education. I guess we also took English and whatnot. From there, I was transferred to [RCAF Station] Regina, out to ITS, initial training school. We had, well, a little bit of everything there. Of course, everybody knows about that, anyhow. But one of our last exams was in navigation and it was a three hour air plot. They passed out the night before a few of the old air plots that we had been doing for practice and stuff. And fortunately, the plot that I had refreshed myself on the night before came up on the exam. And I got a very high mark naturally, just everything flicked right into where it should be. My ETA [estimated time of arrival] was right on the button when I got done. Anyhow, I graduated out of ITS, but I had to wait another six weeks there, due to a backlog for pilots going to elementary flight training. They sent me with train tickets to [RCAF Station] Mount Pleasant, PEI, for operational training, which was basically a rehash of what we had done in [RCAF Station] MacDonald, except it was advanced bit more. And we were back on [Bristol Fairchild Type 142M] Bolingbrokes [maritime patrol aircraft] again and whatnot. That winter in PEI was terrific for snow. They had put the bulldozer right through one of the drifts and you could go through it as a tunnel, it was so bad. Anyhow, we were waiting to be selected for overseas after that and the medical officer, when we went up to the last review, he discovered I had a hernia and he operated on me the next day. When I was in there, the whole draft was cancelled because it was VE [Victory in Europe] Day and some of the boys came back to the hospital to see me. Of course, they brought a little booze along and I don’t know, just everybody was celebrating anyhow. I got pretty well loaded up, I think, and I fell out of bed, but they got me back in anyhow.
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