Veteran Stories:
Mae Noreen Humphrey

Air Force

  • The Memory Project, Historica Canada
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"I worked in the officers’ mess as a waitress for a time and then someone said I should be in flights [Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division] and I was down in No. 8 Flight [Flying Training School], where the boys were training. I was a timekeeper down there. » "

Transcript

I worked in the officers’ mess as a waitress for a time and then someone said I should be in flights [Royal Canadian Air Force Women’s Division] and I was down in No. 8 Flight [Flying Training School], where the boys were training. I was a timekeeper down there. The first morning we were in England, they put us into hostels until we could find a place to live so to speak, but anyway, I remember asking the waitress for some white bread and this was a very dark, dark brown bread. And she said, my dear that is white bread.

When we lived on subsistence allowance. Our meat ration for the week was 25 cents or a shilling’s worth and on that we had to take a tuppence [two pence] worth of sausages. The sausages were basically soya sauce or soya bean, or whatever they call it. They were terrible. The only meat we could get was mutton. We could eat our week’s ration on Sunday, which is our day off. Other than that, we ate out. But it was nothing to go into a hotel, like the Savoy Hotel, after work, of course, we were in uniforms, so we were always properly dressed, and we could order anything we liked on the menu. They could not charge us more than tuppence six pence. In other words, about 60 cents in our money at that time.

And we could only have two courses. We could have the first course and an entrée or we could have an entrée and dessert. The dessert quite often was macaroni pudding [similar to rice pudding]. And sometimes you’d go in and you could order, if it was after a show at night, we stopped in somewhere, Regent Palace or somewhere, the Strand, to get something to eat, we could ask for anything we’d liked on the menu and maybe all we would get would be chip potatoes [similar to French fries]. That’s all they’d have in the kitchen.

We had a baseball team and records or headquarters, or whatever they wanted to call it. We used to play in Hyde Park because we were on double daylight savings time. In other words, it was light until 11:00 at night. I can remember staying there until 11:00 at night playing ball and having to take an hour to go home, and then having to be back at headquarters the next morning at 8:00. It was sometimes just a little tough, you know, a little hard on us. Because we played ball, as a matter of fact, I have a little sort of a, almost like a, I don’t know what metal’s it made of, but they gave us, because we were the top team. We beat the American Red Cross and the American girls, and the Canadian girls, and all that.

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