Veteran Stories:
Margaret Brownlee

Air Force

  • Margaret Brownlee lifting Millie Davis while performing RCAf Women's Divison fitness exercises in England in 1943.

    Margaret Brownlee
  • The motor transport section of the RCAF near Margaret Brownlee's station in England in 1945. The fleet consisted of heavy transport for troops and equiptment as well as vehicles for official business. Courtesy of Margaret Brownlee.

    Margaret Brownlee
  • From 1942-1943, this 'Little Norway' centre served as the training ground for the Royal Norwegian Air Force. King Harald and Queen Sonja travelled to Gravenhurst, Ontario to dedicate a Norwegian-Canadian Museum at the Muskoka Airport in 2002.

    Margaret Brownlee
  • Margaret Brownlee (right), Sandy Gareau and Polly Bennett 'frolic' in the woods on their leisure time from the motor transport section of the RCAF in England in 1945. Courtesy of Margaret Brownlee.

    Margaret Brownlee
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"And at one point, Mackenzie King, Roosevelt, and Churchill had a secret meeting out - I believe it was supposed to be on a boat - and I was picked to drive Mackenzie King"

Transcript

I'm Margaret Brownlee. I was Margaret Rankin at the time. I enlisted into the Air Force, in the Motor Transport Department. Well, we all left on the train. I was put in charge of all these girls, which I didn't tell my poor mother, because she was all upset because I was leaving home. We went to Toronto for six weeks basic training, and after that, I was posted to Rockcliffe, which is just outside of Ottawa. And I was in motor transport there for five years. I was driving chiefly, but I also did a lot of the dispatching - sending out cars for different jobs, and picking up different people, and all that. I drove a twenty-eight passenger bus. I drove a three-tonne cab-over truck, as well as all the smaller panels, and station wagons and staff cars, which were only ever used for big... you know, people in authority. We drove the band around to different concerts they were holding. And at one point, Mackenzie King, Roosevelt, and Churchill had a secret meeting out - I believe it was supposed to be on a boat - and I was picked to drive Mackenzie King to the aircraft out of Uplands. And I had to choose also a man who you could trust and wouldn't talk to drive the truck and take all his baggage. We had good times, and we had times that were a little scary. But other than that, we had a very good job, I think.
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