Veteran Stories:
Frederick William Cummings

Air Force

  • Mr. Fred Cummings, August, 2012.

    The Memory Project
  • Cover page of an Identity Card issued to Mr. Cummings. 31 August, 1951.

    Frederick William Cummings
  • Mr. Cummings' Identity Card date 31 August, 1951.

    Frederick William Cummings
  • Mr. Cummings' Discharge Certificate date 21 September, 1951.

    Frederick William Cummings
  • Reverse side of Mr. Cummings' Discharge Certificate. 21 September, 1951.

    Frederick William Cummings
  • Mr. Cummings' National Service Act Grade Card dated 14 July, 1949.

    Frederick William Cummings
  • Reverse side of Mr. Cummings' National Service Act Grade Card. 14 July, 1949.

    Frederick William Cummings
  • Permit to wear civilian clothes while working at the Air Ministry.

    Frederick William Cummings
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Listen to this story

"So we used to get all the information from these people, from different sources and we used to type all the information in. And then re-print it for a memorial sheets. And those memorial sheets went to the government and they made a big memorial to the [Royal] Canadian Air Force missing and dead in England."

Transcript

I was finished with school at 14 and there wasn’t much chance of me going to college or anything like that because there just wasn’t the money to do anything like that. So I went to work in factories and first of all I went to work in a cleaning factory and about two years and I looked for other work. And then I went as a salesman. I was a salesman in a department store in men’s clothing. And then while I was there I got drafted into the air force [the Royal Air Force] and I went in for, I was drafted for 18 months. When the Korean War started [in June, 1950] I had to take the two years, they made you stay for two years. So while I was in the air force I, at first I was only like a general office clerk and then when the Korean War started they decided we should go to Korea, you know. So we took extra training and were training on the rifle range. And when you finished rifle range practice you had to empty your rifle of all ammunition. But the guy, the guy next to me wasn’t quite getting it and he didn’t empty his rifle. And so we came off the range and you know how you present arms when you come off and make sure, his wasn’t empty. So he fired and he just missed my ear with the bullet and I went stone deaf, for about three weeks I was stone deaf. And so my posting to Korea was the next week so I missed that posting. So instead of going overseas they shipped me to air ministry which is a big building in London that looks after all the rules and regulations. And they decided I would be, I’d be a big help compiling the memorial to the missing and dead of the Royal Canadian Air Force. But they’re all civil servants and they all used to, like supervise us to make sure we were doing the job required, you know. So we used to get all the information from these people, from different sources and we used to type all the information in. And then re-print it for a memorial sheets. And those memorial sheets went to the government and they made a big memorial to the [Royal] Canadian Air Force missing and dead in England. And we spent about nine hours a day all the time doing nothing else but putting these memorials together you know. And as you say there was a lot of people. And I guess when they used to find something that somebody found, a piece of a plane or a hat or anything then the outside workers would look into that, to research it to see if they could, and when they found the background about what it is then they ship the information whether that this person was drowned or this person was, you know, give us the information. It was a very interesting job to see, you know, what happened. Missing believed drowned or never found and that kind of thing. And I know all that was put on the information sheet and transferred to their regular memorial.
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