Veteran Stories:
Geoffrey Charles Alington

Air Force

  • Geoffrey Charles Alington in October 2009.

    Historica Canada
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"We’d report what we saw and the navy would take over then and they’d go out and rescue these people. The job, coastal command, was to provide the navy with an eye of what was going on."

Transcript

I am a New Zealander originally, but, I left New Zealand when I was 18 to join the Royal Air Force, short service commission. And then I was in England in midsummer’s day, 1938 and my commission was dated the 3rd of September, 1938, a year before the war started.

I think it was a Sunday, I flew in the morning, around the […] coast. We were just looking for strange ships, that’s all. And I did one trip in the morning, in peacetime and there was a declaration of war and we went out again in the afternoon in wartime. Nothing different except in my logbook, I wrote that entry in red ink, the first wartime patrol.

Oh heavens, that’s all we talked about, what was going to happen. Nobody knew what was happening. We were prepared for German aircraft to come across and things like that but nothing happened. There was no air attack or anything like that. So we just sat still, a nice sunny day, that day was. Sat around and did nothing.

We were flying Avro Ansons which was an old aircraft, four of us onboard, two pilots and navigator positions, a gunner, and one was operator. And we’d go out for two and a half, three hours. There was a lot of shipping of course down the coast, all within sight of land pretty well. We had to report all the time. Then the Germans would, they’d drop mines. There was a lot of […] for shipping, struck with these mines and we would report them back to when we’d land - we didn’t do nothing on the air during flight - when we landed, we’d report what we saw and the navy would take over then and they’d go out and rescue these people. The job, coastal command, was to provide the navy with an eye of what was going on.

Second time around, I got pulled out of a squadron and sent to Canada. In 1941, I came to Saskatoon where I stayed for two years as a flying instructor. I met a Canadian girl and married her. That was two, two full years. I got sent from Canada in a hurry, dreadful hurry and we got to Moncton, we sat around there for three weeks, waiting for a ship, for passage back to England. Then we did three months tootling around England, they didn’t know what to do with us. Finally, I got back to a squadron and, Wellington squadron, which we stayed with for the rest of the war with Wellingtons.

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