Veteran Stories:
Jean-Louis Anctil

Air Force

  • Excerpt from book flight operations in early 1945.

  • Group of Canadian airmen at the attention.

  • Jean-Louis Anctil's discharge certificate.

  • Sergeant gunner Jean-Louis Anctil.

  • Physical training.

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"In the beginning, we were definitely worked up. But, after two or three flights, you didn’t think about it any more."

Transcript

They sent me to Montreal, to Toronto, to different places like that. The most important place, though, was in Toronto, because we stayed there for two and a half months, I think. Afterwards, we had an English course to learn English, since we didn’t know much. So we took the class, they mostly called it “English School.” So we were in Toronto. We slept in a “bull pen,” the place where they put the horses and cows during agricultural exhibitions. There were three of us and we all wanted to be aviators.

In the fall of 1944, we arrived at the squadron. We didn’t have a lot – well, we didn’t have any experience. […] We had to perform 30 takeoffs. After each one, you rested, then you began again. Everything was planned – it happened in the bosses’ offices: planes, officers, everything. There were offices pretty much all over England that were responsible for gathering information, which was then passed on to the squadron.

In the beginning, we were definitely worked up. But, after two or three flights, you didn’t think about it any more. It’s true, you didn’t think about it at all. It’s as if…I’m not sure how to start to explain it…it’s almost as if…The first flight , for sure, that was an unknown. It was as if there was “ack-ack” [anti-aircraft fire] and bombs jumping everywhere.

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