Veteran Stories:
John McNair

Air Force

  • Actress Shirley Temple with Prime Minister Mackenzie King while on a visit in Canada.

    Source: www.amillionlives.net/

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"I had kind of an unusual career. Enjoyable for the most part. And I got to meet some famous people - Shirley Temple, for instance"

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John Albert McNair. [Royal Canadian] Air Force from the Second World War, 1940-45.

I had kind of an unusual career. Enjoyable in the most part. And I got to meet some famous people - Shirley Temple, for instance. She came to the station I was at, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. And I think it's so far back that it doesn't have a name. That was a memorable day.

First of all, they put a notice up in the station: "anyone interested in photography, see so-and-so." Well, I was getting wise to the system, so you volunteer for nothing until you've looked into it thoroughly. But finally they came to me and said: "You listed one of your hobbies as photography. How come you didn't (blah, blah, blah)." So then they told we what was up - that Shirley Temple was going to visit the station, and they wanted photographic coverage of it, and would I do it. Well, I jumped for joy. So, they threw the dentist out of his office, and he went on leave for a week so that I could turn the dental clinic into a dark room. You ever hear of such carryings on? But that's the way it was. And, you see, it was a supply depot, and they had everything - anything I wanted.

I had put in about 3 or 4 years on the police force before I joined the Air Force. And then I found that the Commanding Officer of the station was a police officer before he signed up. So you can instantly see the click.

So Shirley arrived on the station, and I had it set up. And she treated me royally. I wasn't sure what would happen - you know, a famous star in those days, she was. Sixteen years old. And I made 2,000 prints. And this Commanding Officer of the station was all: "Let's make a buck. Let's sell some." And we did that. Sold them in sets, ten poses. And we sold them, the whole batch, except a couple for myself. But the CO and I had a meeting, and cut down the middle, and we made a bundle. So the war wasn't all hell (laughing).

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