Veteran Stories:
Paul Ritchie

Air Force

  • Photo of Paul Ritchie taken at his brother's house in Toronto, right before shipping out to England in 1942.

    Paul Ritchie
  • Paul Ritchie, in Red Deer, Alberta, December 10, 2009.

    Historica Canada
  • Paul Ritchie's military ID card, that he still carries with him was issued in 1942.

    Paul Ritchie
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"One thing that stood out was the poverty of the people there and in school, you were taught about India and the wonders of India and the richness of India but we saw very little of it. We saw a lot of poverty, you know."

Transcript

When war broke out, I went to UPC [University Preparation Course] for my radio course and then to Clinton, Ontario, for my radar course and I served as a radar mechanic during the war. After I graduated, I was posted to England and I went under RAF [Royal Air Force] and I guess they needed radar people in India, so they said, you’re going to India. So I went. I had no choice. Once you sign that dotted line, your life wasn’t your own. When I got on the boat in England, I didn’t know we were going but I knew it was going to be a warm place because they issued us khaki outfits and all along, we were guessing where we were going and we went through the […] and we were still going, we went through the Red Sea, we were still going. Then we got out in the Indian Ocean, we said, we’re going to India. I was posted across the Bay of Bengal to a place called Chittagong. It wasn’t an air force base. It was just a working, I don’t know how to describe it, but the conditions weren’t bad but the food wasn’t the best, let’s put it that way. One thing that stood out was the poverty of the people there and in school, you were taught about India and the wonders of India and the richness of India but we saw very little of it. We saw a lot of poverty, you know.
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