Veteran Stories:
Isobel Annison Summers (née Hafekost)

Air Force

  • Isobel Summers' exit permit and travel document permitting her one-way passage to Canada. She arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia on April 3, 1946.

    Isobel Summers
  • Portrait of George Summers, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), Isobel Summers' husband.

    Isobel Summers
  • Portrait of Isobel Annison Summers (née Hafekost) in her Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) uniform.

    Isobel Summers
  • Isobel and George Summers' wedding photo, taken in Harden, England, on February 24, 1943.

    Isobel Summers
  • Isobel Summers in London, Ontario, July 12, 2010.

    Isobel Summers
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"And I thought, how thoughtful he is. And I just, I could have married him within a week."

Transcript

I joined up [with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF)], I wanted to be an MT [Mechanical Transport] driver and I was doing fine on my course but then I had a test and I put on a clean uniform and forgot to take my driver’s licence. So I was washed off the course. I felt disappointed. So then we went to Gloucester [England] for our uniforms and everything and we were there the weekend and I was on the fire list, fire duty. But there were a dance on at the camp. And my girlfriend said to me, Isobel, why don’t you go to the dance, I’ll do your fire duty. So I said, okay. So I went to the dance and the corporal came down in the room and asked for me and so my friends said, well, I’m sitting in for her, she gone to the dance, well, I was on a charge. I was scared, you know what. Marched me in and I got taken off. There was another girl that did the same thing but she’d already been posted. So she got off. So I had to report to the guard room every hour with full kit and it was pretty awful. This was in November [1941], yeah. So then I was sent to Scotland to a place called [RAF] Leuchars. And it’s near St. Andrews. And I met my husband. I went to a dance and met my husband there. And on our first date, we went to Dundee to see Gone with the Wind. I had a terrible cold and he went in the drug store, chemist there, and got me cold cough candies and Vicks Rub. And I thought, how thoughtful he is. And I just, I could have married him within a week. We never did see the end, well, we didn’t see the end of it [the film] then because we had to come back or we’d have been too late, come back on the train. So 25 years later, we saw Gone with the Wind and saw the end of it. When I got back from my honeymoon, one of the batmen asked me, where did you stay when you were in London? So I said, the Strand Palace Hotel. He said, oh, he said, they’re going to erect a monument there after the war for all the fallen women. I liked London, we had pictures taken on St. Paul’s Cathedral there. It was amazing, all these buildings were all shattered all around St. Paul’s Cathedral and it wasn’t touched. And then I got posted where my husband was in Scotland, near Newton Stewart [RAF West Freugh]. And to get attached to his squadron, I’d had to re-muster as a waitress, so I was working in the sergeant’s mess. We rented a cottage with another couple and unfortunately, this couple, he was killed. But we lived there, well, we lived there until I was seven months pregnant and then my husband was a little nervous, so he wanted me to go home and have the baby. So my son was born in Sunderland Infirmary where I was born. When my husband was posted back to Canada, he was on the ship when it was the end of the first part of the war. It was 11 months before I got over to Canada. They went down to Liverpool with me, my parents. And they saw me off on the ship. And to see my mother, a step behind my father; it was 12 years before I got back.
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