Veteran Stories:
Fred Kirkpatrick

Air Force

  • Fred Kirkpatrick, November 25, 2009.

    Historica Canada
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"The aircraft would be all in the woods, crashes, they’d crash land, pilot would get killed. They were all, the pilots were only young."

Transcript

I was in grade nine at school and I didn’t like the teacher. So I quit school and went to join the Air Force. I left Saint John, [New Brunswick] went to Moncton and signed on with the Air Force. And I ended up in Montreal. Right then, just outside of Montreal where we took our training and I took the flu or something, I was in the hospital for two weeks. And when I got out, I was transferred to CFB [Canadian Forces Base] Chatham [New Brunswick], during the war. The only thing that I can remember now is in Chatham, we used to have to go and find some aircraft that crashed down like and everything. And one night, I had this snow machine and we had to go to the water. And when we got to the water, we couldn’t do anything because it was, the water was too high. So the next morning, we went back and we put the machine out and we went around and found part of the body of the wreck, and got it hauled into shore and put it in the truck and brought it back. But the pilot was still in the airplane. The ice was about that thick and it went right through. He was dead. That was one of our main jobs, to go and check for aircraft. The airport, they knew approximately where they were and where to go. But I didn’t like going from this side of the water, crossing. It was an ice road. We had to go across there because there was no bridge. But that was good fun because I used to open the door. I wasn’t going to stay in there. Maybe two lads in the back and one lad in the front with me. And I said, “If you hear it start to crack, jump.” Because I says, “You know, you’re in water.” Did that a good many times going like between here and Bathurst [New Brunswick]. The aircraft would be all in the woods, crashes, they’d crash land, pilot would get killed. They were all, the pilots were only young. But they’d have a radio and they’d be calling them and say, “We found one of the aircraft, found.” They’d be flying over and they could tell where it is and we’d go and try and bring it in, depending on how bad it was smashed up and that. But that was our job, you know.
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