"I would not want to see us going to war again. I’d sooner be, any problem be resolved by negotiations, economic messages, such as they’re trying to do today. That to me is the most important thing."
My name is Gordon Partridge, born in Schreiber, Ontario, December 24, 1918. I thought it would be nice to be a pilot in the air force, flying over. But I didn’t become a pilot, I became a navigator. Took the training in Regina, went to Brandon, Manitoba, Regina, out to Edmonton, Alberta, where I took training as a navigator. After being in it, I used to get air sick most of the time because navigator, you’re down looking on a board and it’s going up and down like that, so that I think is what caused the air sickness.
So then I was grounded. I asked to be transferred to the army and at once I was sent to Toronto, Ontario. From there, I was sent to camp in Petawawa. From there overseas to England. And I spent time there in the, more training as [an] observer in an artillery survey. Well, the Artillery Survey is a regiment. It was the 1st Survey Regiment of Canada, that’s the name of it, Artillery 1st Survey Regiment. And that, the function there is to observe the fire of the guns. You had a post, [an] observation post. From there you shot on the enemy guns, when they fired, you got a shot. And from there, you could plot their position, gave their position to your counter-battery and they fired on the enemy. That’s how you knew where the enemy’s guns were positioned.
I could say my main function was an observer. In other words, you’d sit up in the front lines; you’d find a station very high up, so you could watch the fire of the enemy. You’d have three observation posts on the front line. From those three observation posts, each one would flash like that, flash. So then you’d give the position to the plotting centre, which is located in a building nearby. And if you got an intersection, then you had a position. So from that position you know where the enemy’s gun is. That would be passed on to the artillery guns, which would fire onto a known target. And you’d watch and if they hit it, you’d say, “You shot that gun out.” So you, you’re going to look for another one. You keep doing that all during the observation.
I would say being in the ground, where you’re being fired at and you could, you know, you could see the guns firing at you, when you’re in a troop ship, you don’t see a thing until a submarine hits your ship. You’re a little uneasy during that period of time but it wasn’t insurmountable.
When the war finished, you’ve got a completely different feeling. You know, you felt so free. You didn’t have to worry about…. In England, you got attacks by air. In the battleground, there’s always fire when you’re in the front lines, when you’re in the battle zone; always constantly, you got used to that.
The most important thing is we got rid of Hitler and his ilk as it were. That I say is the most important thing is. But you don’t gain anything. I would not want to see us going to war again. I’d sooner be, any problem be resolved by negotiations, economic messages, such as they’re trying to do today. That to me is the most important thing.