Veteran Stories:
Kenneth Herbert “Duff WAG” Kehl

Air Force

  • Awarded the Operational Wings of the RCAF, 1945.

    Kenneth Kehl
  • Flying Log Book of Kenneth Kehl. Each month started on new page, January 1945.

    Kenneth Kehl
  • 428 Squadron in Middleton St. George, Yorkshire, England in October 1944. Standing in front of their Lancaster are from left: Kenneth Kehl, Ted, Don, Jack, Lorne, Fitz, and Monty.

    Kenneth Kehl
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"On one particular trip, we counted 27 holes in our aircraft. You could put your head inside the wing and have a look around."

Transcript

When I enlisted, I was pretty young and pretty green. I had never been away from home. Being in Winnipeg was the furthest I’d ever been from my home terrain. I had had some difficult times working on the farm where crops were washed out and too much water falling, rain, heavy rain. The ground got so soft; you couldn’t plow it, even with horses. These disappointments on the farm led me to feel that I wanted to do something else. And it just happened that we had, at that time, a pretty nasty old fellow over in Germany who wanted to rule the world and I felt it was necessary that I could help this situation by joining. My dad subscribed to the local paper and he read that quite faithfully. He was quite opposed to war. One of his expressions was that our boys were cannon fodder. In other words, he didn’t like the idea of sending his young men over to fight another war because of the risks involved to life. All the preparations were designed so that the airplanes were carrying a maximum payload, usually bombs. The aircraft would carry a maximum payload and sufficient fuel to take them to the target and return home with a small amount of fuel remaining, should you have any difficulties. We did trips over France in support of the army’s activities over there. There was times when they were having trouble with the German troops. They were pretty well dug in and they ordered the air force to come in with bombs and shake them up, so that they could move on. On one particular trip, we counted 27 holes in our aircraft. You could put your head inside the wing and have a look around. To the best of my knowledge, we never lost an engine and never had any crew member hurt. You didn’t hear very much. You got these big engines and there’s a lot of wind noise. I don’t know if you’ve ever put your head outside to listen, but there’s a lot of noise generated by the air flow over the surface. With small hits, you wouldn’t notice too much.
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