I was working in the nickel mines in Sudbury, Ontario, and I was only 17 years old; and I just did not feel comfortable working there, so I tried to join the air force. They had recruiting at the time. I was just 17, but they told me I had to wait until I was 18. And then when I was 18, they notified me that I was accepted if I wanted to join. So I did that.
And I had to go to [Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment] North Bay, Ontario at the time. Being a young 18 year old, I thought it was pretty good. We were sent to [RCAF Station] Brandon, Manitoba for our training. From Brandon, I went to Vancouver and it was right down on [RCAF Station] Jericho Beach, and I was only there for about three months. We did a lot of training, marching and what have you, there. And then from there, I went up to [RCAF Station] Prince Rupert. I stayed at Prince Rupert for about maybe seven, eight months. And then I was transferred down to [RCAF Station] Boundary Bay; and I stayed at Boundary Bay for, oh, just about a year and a half, I guess. And then from there, I went to [RCAF Station] Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. From Port Hardy, I went to the Queen Charlottes [Islands] at [RCAF Station] Alliford Bay. Then I was transferred to [RCAF Station] Edmonton and that’s when my discharge was in.
My duties was, when I first started off, I was general duty. I got into works and buildings, and I took a fancy to the plumbing and heating that I worked with. Finally, I wrote a test and I got my, let’s see, it was C Group. And then I wrote the test again about a year later, and I got my B Grouping. So I was considered a fitter general, that’s what they called us at the time.
Looking after all the heating system, the registers, doing in the steam tables in the mess hall; and if there had to be any plumbing to be done, we were doing the plumbing. Other than that, it was, you know, I was stationed up at Port Hardy and the war with Germany was over, but the Japanese were still… And then the Americans dropped the atomic bomb and then the Japanese surrendered.
When I was stationed on the Queen Charlottes, it was strictly a maintenance job. There was only five of us the whole station and we looked after that station. We did our own cooking, everything; and we didn’t have that much to really do.
We were invited at times to go over to the Indian [Native Canadian] village. There was either a big wedding going on or something like that. And what amazed me about the Haida Indians on the Queen Charlottes, that we went in there and they got a 13 piece orchestra all of their own, playing for the dance. And they were just great people. They were just the nicest people. Yeah. I thought they were just good. We would have dances over at Sandspit; and we would take the boat over and bring a bunch of the girls over for the dance. And they were really a good class of people.
The Queen Charlottes was great. Then when I got, they transferred me, they were going to send me up, now, I can’t remember where it was, but it was someplace north in Alberta. But I had to go to Edmonton first. But I stayed in Edmonton, my discharge was in; and I stayed there for about three or four days, and then I went to Winnipeg and got my discharge.