"I was in the last four crews when they shut the squadron down, but, in between, we cleaned out the bomb sites and went out and dumped the unfused bombs into the North Sea and Irish Sea."
When I arrived in England, things were starting to slow up and they seemed to have a surplus of pilots anyway, I guess. And I did an advance flying unit on twin engine aircraft over there and then they sent a bunch of us on a flight engineers’ course for [Avro] Lancaster [heavy bomber] aircraft.
And from there, I went to [No.] 427 Squadron [Royal Canadian Air Force] in Yorkshire. And I arrived about three weeks after the war ended. So I was very fortunate in that respect, I guess. I had just been married and I didn’t want to come home right then and so I stayed in England as long as I could; and I stayed with the squadron for a year after that. Until it folded, I was in the last four crews when they shut the squadron down, but, in between, we cleaned out the bomb sites and went out and dumped the unfused bombs into the North Sea and Irish Sea. And then after that was over, we made a few trips to Italy bringing British troops back, back to England, that had fought their way through Egypt and part of Italy, and went into Naples and Bari on the east coast of Italy. And then [I went] back to England for a while and flew around England, I guess, and eventually came home. I was discharged, but I stayed as long as I could because my wife was going to, if I went home, she wasn’t going to get home for a while because we were just married.
They had a priority list for the brides, there was so many of them. She was newly married and she wasn’t pregnant, so she was right at t he bottom of the list; and she was going to be possibly a year before she came back. So I just stayed as long as I could. But I think she enjoyed where we went to, where she went to, because we had some very good friends there. Had to go to Regina for two or three winters.
And something, a small thing that changes your life, you know. My wife was downtown Regina shopping, which women seemed to love to do, a favourite pastime I would say. And I came to… I was killing time, waiting for her and I came to a corner and I didn’t, stood there for a second, didn’t know which way to turn. I was wondering whether to go left, go right or go straight across. And I decided to turn right and when I had looked up, the air force flag was there, with the roundel. It was the air force recruiting unit. So I thought, oh, I’ll go in and talk to them, just for the fun of it and kill some time.
And we talked for 15, 20 minutes, I guess, and I don’t know why I said it, I said, what’s my chances of getting back in the air force? And he said, what’s your background? I told him, and he said, well, you’re right on the age limit for a pilot, but he gave me three trades and I took air traffic control, which my wife was quite happy because she was an English war bride and we were living up northeastern Saskatchewan, which was quite a change for her. She didn’t complain or anything. She had good friends up there, but she was quite happy to be on the move again, I guess. So I went back in the air force.