Veteran Stories:
Bruce Agnew

Air Force

  • Bruce Agnew working on a Typhoon air plane called "B for Bev" in France 1944.

    Bruce Agnew
  • Program and menu from the Pavilion in Bournemouth, England. This club offered dancing and refreshments. Mr. Agnew attended the dance in November 1943.

    Bruce Agnew
  • Notice that ran in the Winnipeg Tribune on November 23, 1943, after Bruce Agnew's parents received word that he had arrived safely in England.

    Bruce Agnew
  • Bruce Agnew's berthing card from his trip from Canada to England on the Mauritania in November, 1943. He was assigned a hammock for the ocean crossing.

  • Meal card that Bruce Agnew had to carry with him while stationed as RAF Station Hurn. The card had a poem on the cover with one verse reading: "So help us now no food to waste, And we will try to serve your taste."

    Bruce Agnew
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Listen to this story

"D-Day came along and we left for France the 25th of June, because they had an airfield for us to land in, so we landed at Juno Beach. We did sorties from there, to help the troops that were stuck with a tank, or a concrete barrier, or something. We had five hundred pound and one thousand pound bombs and rockets, so we used to go and clear the way for the troops."

Transcript

My name is Bruce Agnew. I joined the RCAF on August 22nd, 1942, which was my eighteenth birthday. Then we took training here in Winnipeg, just to learn about using different tools and that. I wasn't a pilot, I was a ground crew; an airframe mechanic. After the new year we were all sent to Brandon [Manitoba] for training in rifle and marching and those sorts of things. Then sent to St. Thomas [Ontario] for advanced training on aircraft and that. Then they shipped us out to Vancouver [British Columbia], and I was stationed briefly at Jericho Beach. There was a fellow there from Winnipeg [Manitoba], who was getting married, and his fiancée was coming out, and he'd been posted up to Alaska, so he was trying to find somebody to switch with him, so being young with no connections like that, I turned around and switched with him and went up to Alaska, to 118 Squadron.

We came back down from Alaska to Vancouver for a while, and then they posted us as a whole squadron over to England. We went over there on a ship called the [RMS] Mauretania and it was very large, but we didn't have any escorts or anything. A lot of us were sick, and at first we were worried about submarines, and after a while, we said, "I wish a submarine would come along and put us out of our misery!"

I was stationed in southern England for quite a while. D-Day [6 June 1944, Allied landings at Normandy, France] came along and we left for France the 25th of June, because they had an airfield for us to land in, so we landed at Juno Beach [beach where Canadian soldiers landed on D-Day]. We did sorties from there, to help the troops that were stuck with a tank, or a concrete barrier, or something. We had five hundred pound and one thousand pound bombs and rockets, so we used to go and clear the way for the troops.

I had an accident. I was burned in France on the 11th of August 1944. I left for England on a Dakota, a hospital aircraft, and spent from then until the 12th of December in the hospital. After I got out, I passed the board in London [England] and was ok, and they sent me back to Canada. I was happy to get home, and I was home for Christmas and I was happy about that, but I put in for overseas again. They thought I was crazy.

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