"Best memory. Oh. What can I say? I would think like the coming home. I had a ten month old son I hadn’t seen."
[Being stationed in Labrador] No grass, caribou moss. We went up there and there was no quarters but tents, that was it. End of September, it was snowing. And so the bombardier and four of us gunners, we’d borrow a truck from the quarters and we went to the mill and we got slabs. And we dug down about four foot, about a 16 foot square, and we built ourselves a hut. We had a roof on it and my dad sent me up, oh, it would be about 24 by 24 henhouse netting, it was a cellophane-like. And that was our window. We had 45 gallon drum, cut the end out of it, and we were warm. We had our bunkbeds in there, five of us, and double decker of course, it wasn’t that big. But we were cozy.
And one morning, the valet for the officers, he slept in a bell tent. And he had an oil heater. And this oil heater, it went pluey one night and all the oil, if you’ve ever seen oil go bad, so all in cobwebs everywhere, his clothes and everything, just oil, soot, yeah.
A good trip across, fairly fast trip, we were in a boat. We left and had cover for a day out, and then were on our own for a day. And ASDIC-types [primary underwater detection device used by the allies, otherwise known as SONAR] and the subs were out and then they come out from England and escort us in the other. And there was a ship sunk in the mouth of Liverpool harbour and so we couldn’t go in. And we stayed three days, we’d go down by Isle of Man [in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland] I think it was and then we got [inaudible]. So we snuck in past the wreck, the ship had been sunk there and went down to Aldershot; lady divers, no lights, night, double decker buses.
My wife used to write and I’d get letters and that. Of course, we weren’t into the active on the continent so our mail was okay. Yeah. In Labrador, I remember our mail coming in by plane. The Americans and Canadians flew out of Labrador there because it was the best flying weather in the world. No fog. It was ideal. It was ideal for going across. But they usually get letters and fresh food and all that, the army didn’t get that. We got mutton from Australia.
They treated us wonderful. Wonderful. Now, we had a day, of course, the farm help had gone into the army and even though all the men were in the army, I mean, the British, they were so we’d get a call; “A cheese factory day and help make cheese.” We’d go to the cheese factory and help make cheese. Another day, “This farmer needed some grains stook [rounded pile of swathes of cut grain on a field], would you stook grain for the farmer?” “Stook grain, sure.” And there was three of us that were quite chummy, we got bicycles. I don’t know how we got them or what but anyway, and we used to bike the lovely country of Wales. Just beautiful.
[Manning a RADAR station] One was on trajectory and one was on elevation. And then the next guy was on distance to shell.
Best memory. Oh. What can I say? I would think like the coming home. I had a ten month old son I hadn’t seen. Yeah.