Veteran Stories:
Walter Hayden

Air Force

  • Member of 432 Squadron, circa 1944/45. Walter Hayden is standing on the far left.

    Walter Hayden
  • Reverend Walter Hayden is pictured in 1968 on the Cote Reserve.

    Walter Hayden
  • Walter Hayden is pictured here receiving the Holland Star from a representative of the Dutch government in Ottawa. May 2003.

    Walter Hayden
  • In this letter the Royal Canadian Air Force congratulates Flying Officer Walter Hayden for his contribution to victory over Germany, and extends appreciation at this time of his discharge from the Air Force.

    Walter Hayden
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"The fall of '39, I was informed as we were at war by WWI friends. My reaction was: "Well it's not my war". I was twenty seven years old then I guess, and married"

Transcript

The fall of '39, I was informed as we were at war by WWI friends. My reaction was: "Well it's not my war". I was twenty seven years old then I guess, and married. Figured that Germany was just making more room - their version of their own people in Poland and Czechoslovakia. 1940, went to Sudbury and worked for International Nickel. There was six of us that went down, and four got jobs and two didn't. And after they tried for a month they said they were going to join the army. I didn't know then that, they were going to be conscripted anyway but, I sat up all night asking what the hell I thought they had to fight for. Then in 1942, I began to realize that it was my war. We we losing everywhere. With Eric Kovenov training plan ... they were hungry for Canadian recruits rather then, shipping them all the way from Australia or New Zealand. I only had a grade ten education but they grabbed me right away for an upgrading course in Ottawa for juinior military. Went into training for what they call pilot or observer. There were just two aircrew then I guess, they didn't have any gunners or anything else. I got chosen for pilot, And I soloed, and then had a meeting. "Reflexes too slow", that's what they told me - that I could go on with my training as a pilot, that I wouldn't get overseas, and I wouldn't get a commission. As navigator or bomb aimer I would almost be sure of a commission, and I did. 1944,.joined 432 squadren in Yorkshire. I made thirty two trips called a tour. You were required to stand down for six months, and then go again. We finished in February - middle of February and they knew there wasn't going to be a war in six months. So they sent me on a course as a consultant to tell the boys what was available back in Canada. Didn't take very long to figure out who the hell was going to be last going home. So we dumped that and I was discharged in May, '44.
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