Veteran Stories:
Yvonne Jukes

Air Force

  • Yvonne Jukes (right) and Sgt. M. Drown leaving Westminster Abbey London while taking in the sights on a day off in March 1945.

  • Once peace in Europe had been declared, Yvonne Jukes undertook a course at Stratford-On-Avon while awaiting repatriation, October 1945.

  • Article describing the air raid at RCAF Dishforth, Yorkshire, in which air women lay on the floor in a shelter full of water near the end of the war, July 1945

  • Women's division members requested to put on a concert at Halifax Radio Station, Yvonne Jukes acted as announcer and master of ceremonies for a recruiting drive program, 1943.

  • Yvonne Jukes RCAF Identity Card with vital statistics, photo and fingerprint, used for identification purposes to come and go on RCAF bases.

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"People wonder, they say, 'How did you leave home and do this?' And I said, you really didn't have a choice."

Transcript

My name is Yvonne Jukes and I was with the RCAF WD - that's the Women's Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force. I served in Halifax and then went overseas and was with Number 6 Bomber Group in the North of England. There were not many girls overseas. We had Air Force girls down in London and up in one station, plus where I was at the headquarters. I was working in the intelligence section. So I saw the photographs coming back from the raids. When they flew over and they were dropping the bombs they photographed what they had been bombing so we could see the result. So I saw those and I saw some of the first photographs of the buzz bombs that they were building in Germany, these miserable little things that flew over with a motor pumping the whole time and as long as you could hear the motor you were safe. But as soon as the motor came off the bomb dived down. When people say today, "How did you cope?" I think we were fighting such evil that we steeled ourselves, because we kept losing so many friends. I had three people from Victoria, two I knew well and one not so well, three boys all went down on the British battleship Hood. And to have three boys, one whose mother I talked to three days before the Hood went up, and she said, "Oh, I'm so glad Sandy's gone to the Hood. Nothing could sink that ship." And up she went, with the loss of 1,200. We had so many really good friends shot down flying and everything, and some in the Army, that were casualties, you just made up your mind you were going to fight this to the bitter end. I look at the terrible loss of life there was in the war and I say, who knows? One of those boys may have discovered a cure for cancer. People wonder, they say, "How did you leave home and do this?" And I said, you really didn't have a choice. You looked at what was going on, a blitzkrieg going through Europe, just going into every country and menacing people that stood in your way. How could you sit back? Even with a small contribution. Because I think my contribution was minimal, but it did release a man to go fighting, because in those days they wouldn't allow us.
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