Veteran Stories:
Doug Walter Wood

Air Force

  • Photo of Muncho Lake in the foreground. Hudson Bay Trading Post at town of Fort Nelson in the background during the construction of Flying Depot Northwest Staging Route, RCAF, 1943.

    Courtesy of Doug Wood
  • Photo of Doug Wood when stationed in Vancouver during his involvement in the Northwest Staging Route, 1943.

    Courtesy of Doug Wood
  • Douglas Wood, Leading Aircraftsman, close to a Flying Station at Fort Nelson which harboured planes enroute to Russia, 1943.

    Courtesy of Doug Wood
  • RCAF Patch from Bomber Jacket, 1943.

    Courtesy of Doug Wood
  • RCAF Patch from Bomber Jacket, 1943.

    Courtesy of Doug Wood
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"I went into the CO’s office and here is a bunch of US officers and our officers and they were all there looking at me as if I had committed a great sin."

Transcript

There’s one [Royal Canadian Air Force] station - as a matter of fact I abhorred fish. And I never did have fish until I got up to the air force at this one station [in Fort Nelson, British Columbia, along the Northwest Staging Route] and every Friday, we had fish day. And it was fish or nothing. And I would prefer nothing rather than eat fish and as we went to the dessert table, it was prune pie. And if you’ve ever tasted anything more revolting was prune pie, along with the fish. And so, basically, I would just put my plate back to where it was and I would go to the dry canteen and I would have myself a chocolate bar and a bottle of Coke and that was my lunch for the day.

One time, there was a rumour that across the river at the Hudson’s Bay [Company, the world’s largest fur trading company] trading post, there was going to be a dance. So all the guys being sort of separated from their wives, etc., etc., thought that would be an exciting thing to do, is going over to the Hudson’s Bay trading post and have a dance with whoever was over there. So we commandeered a US boat from the shores on our side and a bunch of the guys went rowing over to the Hudson’s Bay trading post. And when we got over there, we were sort of amazed at the quantity of dancing partners there were. I think there was two [Aboriginal women] and two guys playing the violin, fiddle or something like that. And so it was not exactly our idea of a dancing party.

We commandeered this American boat that was parked on our shore and we rode across to the Hudson’s Bay trading post. The next day, I was ordered to come to the CO’s [Commanding Officer’s] office because I had to answer some questions. And, unbeknownst to me, I had dropped my identification folder inside the boat. And so I went into the CO’s office and here is a bunch of US officers and our officers and they were all there looking at me as if I had committed a great sin. They wanted to know why my identification was sitting at the bottom of the boat, that I didn’t even know that I had lost.

And it was a case of me lying like the bejeebers, saying well, I just hitched a ride over in a passing boat, going over to the big dance over at the Fort Nelson Hudson’s Bay trading post, not knowing any of the guys that were over there that were taking the boat or anything like that. So when I got back to the barracks, all the guys who were involved with that, they were all wanting to know what happened and who was I naming and who what I, what was it all about and I just told them that I had played dumb, that none of the guys were held responsible. So that story sort of passed by because if I had truthfully said what it was all about, I would have been one of the guys that would have been hauled into the brig [jail] to serve my time. But being young and foolish, I was able to lie my way out of it.

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