Veteran Stories:
Harvey Carmichael

Air Force

  • Harvey Carmichael served with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1942-1946. He was awarded the following war medals: 1939-1945 Star, Pacific Star, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and clasp, and War Medal 1939-1945.

    Harvey Carmichael
  • Harvey Carmichael (left) and his father, R.H. Carmichael, a veteran of the First World War, on the grounds of the family home in Keremeos, British Columbia. 1944.

    Harvey Carmichael
  • Mr. Carmichael (front row, fourth from left) with the navigator trainees of a group photography course, the first course Harvey Carmichael taught. Spring 1944.

  • RCAF Operational Wings, displaying Mr. Carmichael's qualifications as a Bomb Aimer (B) and a Navigator (N).

  • Page from Mr. Carmichael's log book from December 1945. During this time, Mr. Carmichael was doing air supply and passenger runs to and from places including Paris, Amsterdam, and Bremen (Germany).

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"When the Skipper got out of the aircraft, the passengers came out and hugged him and kissed him, and kissed the ground"

Transcript

My name is Harvey Armstrong Carmichael. I was born and raised at Keremeos, BC – a little town in southeastern British Columbia. I took my Grade 13 in Chilliwack, BC, and the day we finished writing exams, I went to the recruiting office to enlist in the RCAF. That was in 1941. That was the year after the Battle of Britain, and that great stand that our airmen made. That was what I wanted to be – I wanted to join them as a pilot. They talked me into a year at university. They had lots of high school graduates at that particular time, so I joined the COTC – the Canadian Officers' Training Corps – at the University of British Columbia, September 1941, and was in that for the year that I was there. Then I left UBC to join the RCAF in the spring of 1942. Finally, I got a posting to No. 6 OUT in Comox for overseas posting in the spring of '45. We had a lot of interesting trips. One, we were flying… we picked up about twenty-five passengers in Paris who were on their way to the Middle East, and we were to ferry them as far as Naples, Italy. It was a beautiful day in the late fall, and we flew south to Marseilles and then across the Mediterranean. We didn't fly very high, of course – only about five thousand feet, so there was lots to see. One of the places we flew over was the Anzio Bridgehead, and that was a very famous beachhead where the Allied forces landed. There was fierce fighting there during the battle for Italy. So Vic was pointing this out, or trying to point it out to the passengers, and he was looking out the starboard side of our aircraft, and he discovered our starboard wing was on fire, and oh boy… We got the fire out, feathered the prop, and I'm the navigator, so I'm looking for an airport close-by that we could land at. Anyway, the upside of the thing was that we landed in… Camigliano was the name of the airport near Naples, and we landed with one engine, and all of the passengers were really excited. When the Skipper got out of the aircraft, the passengers came out and hugged him and kissed him, and kissed the ground. They were really happy that we'd gotten them that far.
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