"And so here, I’m in the middle of the night and looking after this aircraft, coyotes are howling and it was kind of spooky."
I was in the air force, an air frame mechanic, and I was stationed in Brandon, Manitoba, which was quite a big airport, there were a lot of aircraft to look after. I was there most of the time, they didn’t move me around. See a lot of fellows wanted to go overseas and they maybe sent five or six fellows overseas but very few of them. Most of them stayed because there was a lot of aircraft to look after and they needed them all, you know.
If I remember right, they were starting to conscript young fellows to the army. One of the fellows, somebody said to me, say well, why don’t you join the air force instead of going to the army. I wasn’t anxious to go into the army. And I had taken some correspondence course on air engines prior to that, going into the air force would be better for me. So I joined the air force and got sent to Brandon, Manitoba, to work there. And they had a lot of aircraft to service and so that was an ideal place for me. It wasn’t too far from my hometown which is east of Camrose, Alberta. And, and I stayed there most the time, a few fellows got posted overseas but I pretty well stayed there because I liked it there and Brandon was a nice place to be. You made friends and people living there were quite good, they would invite you for the Christmas dinner and this and that.
Every 40 hours, the aircraft had to be maintained, which meant I was looking after the undercarriage, flaps on the wings. Also, make sure the aircraft, we had to clean the aircraft and so on. Basically, just body and air frame and flaps. We only had the Cessna cranes there. They were using the twin engine Cessna cranes for teaching pilots to fly twin engine aircraft. They were not too big. They didn’t need as long a runway either because a smaller aircraft and it would take off faster than an Anson would for example, which was a bigger aircraft.
A lot of these pilots were fairly new young pilots, you know, and some of them would be a little rambunctious and take the aircraft to beyond safe. They liked low flying, as over the top of the trees. And once in a while it happened that they would fly too low, clip a tree and then lose control and finally they crashed. And I remember I got detailed to go and they have to send somebody to look after the aircraft, so that it doesn’t get pilfered, you know. And so here, I’m in the middle of the night and looking after this aircraft, coyotes are howling and it was kind of spooky. And then the next thing in the morning, they would come and they’d pick up the remnants of the aircraft and haul it away back home.
I was stationed in Brandon, Manitoba during the wartime, about three years or something like that. It was a nice place to be because it was close to the city of Brandon. The city of Brandon was kind of geared up for service personnel. They had a place to go to and have a beer and, and visit and this and that. And it was only three miles from downtown Brandon.
Oh, it was quite a nice place to go. They were all geared up for service personnel. We used to get I guess a four day pass every month or something and I could go and see my folks who were farming out at Camrose.