Veteran Stories:
David Seton

Air Force

  • David C. Seton served with the Royal Air Force from September 14, 1942 to December 26, 1946.

  • Map of the countries where Mr. Seton served from August 14, 1944 to September 22, 1946: from Scotland he saw India, Burma and Java.

  • Top: 317 Squadron Air Training Corps (Blackpool, England). Mr. Seton is tenth from left, back row. 26 May 1942. Bottom: Mr. Seton (middle row, fifth from left) and other recruits at Filey, Yorkshire, England. 28 September 1942.

  • David Seton (top centre) and the four members of his billet wearing traditional Indian flower garlands for Christmas dinner at Red Hill Lake, 1944.

  • A recent photo of David Seton wearing his medals: 1939-1945 Star, Burma Star, South East Asis Medal and the Java Clasp 1945-1946, Defence Medal, Victory Medal.

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"At Christmas of 1940, we experienced the largest German air raid that we had received during the month after the war started."

Transcript

My name is David Seton. I lived in Manchester, England when the Second War started in 1939 and I was a student at a grammar school. In the company of a lot of students around our area, we were evacuated, and we were evacuated to a country area called Macclesfield. Unfortunately, I had to return home at Christmas, and my mother had died and I had to return home to help in the store. That was at the end of 1939.

At Christmas of 1940, we experienced the largest German air raid that we had received during the month after the war started. Unfortunately, it was an air raid that lasted from six o'clock one night until five o'clock the next morning, and when that had ended, we found out our store had been badly damaged and we had to move.

I worked a little bit later at a place called Turner's Asbestos Cement Company. I guess the people that I worked with, one by one started to disappear into the forces, and when they came back they were full of the life that they were enjoying in either the Army, the Navy, or the Air Force. I suppose I got a little bit envious, and I wanted to join them, and in 1942, when I was eighteen years of age, I did finally join the Royal Air Force.

I wanted to be a member of Air Crew, but when I actually went for my medical, they found out that while I was perfectly fit to join the Royal Air Forces, my eyesight was not good enough for me to become a member of Air Crew, so when I was offered a choice of various ground trades, I chose to be an Armourer, which is to do with guns, bombs, torpedoes, mines and things like that. I trained down in a place called Hereford [England], and I was there for pretty close to five months, and I did eventually graduate.

My first posting, it was a maintenance unit, and it was not what I expected. All I did during the day was repair bomb carriers and guns that had come from crashed aircraft. I did that for a couple of years. During that time, I was sent on a mission down to another factory near Berkshire, and down in Berkshire I joined a group of men under the supervision of a Flight Sergeant, and we had about two thousand cannons – for fighter aircraft – that had been left in a factory and they had got wet through and rusted. It was our job to clean these cannons up and prepare them to be put back into service. This was one of the most interesting parts of my early career.

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