Veteran Stories:
Alonzo Blackmore

Air Force

  • Photo of Alonzo Blackmore, 1942.

    Alonzo Blackmore
  • 418 Edmonton Squadron, Holmsley South, England, 1944. Alonzo Blackmore is the 4th from left in back row.

    Alonzo Blackmore
  • Alonzo Blackmore's account in the post office savings bank, 1944.

    Alonzo Blackmore
  • The SS Louis Pasteur was the ship that took Alonzo Blackmore to England in 1944.

    Alonzo Blackmore
  • Alonzo Blackmore trained at Number 1 Wireless School in Montreal, Quebec, January 5th, 1943.

    Alonzo Blackmore
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"Anyhow, there was an explosion from one section followed by total silence, followed by huge gales of laughter from the females in waves going over the parade square and, of course, was joined by everybody else."

Transcript

I enlisted in the autumn 1942. I had five months at Saint John Vocational School and then to boot camp, as it’s called, at Lachine, Quebec. And then on to [RCAF] No. 1 Wireless [Training] School on Queen Mary Road in Montreal, where I spent about, well until December, studying electronics and the equipment used.

[We studied the equipment used ] particularly in fighters, but also in bombers under certain circumstances. For example, [RAF] Wing Commander Guy Gibson, a pilot of the Royal Air [617] Squadron that bombed the Möhne and Eder dams was brought along by [Winston] Churchill in August 1943. And he came to meet us. A certain select group in our school was on this special equipment, which he had used in controlling his aircraft for the raid.

The number one wireless school included about a thousand people and there were different trades. I happened to be in the electronics technician, essentially the equipment, maintaining the equipment. But, anyhow, the commanding officer was one, Group Captain Gerry Webber, strictly a “brass and polish” officer [focused on pomp and circumstance]. And to honour Wing Commander Gibson, this was shortly after the raid on the German dams, he called a muster parade [roll call], which involved all people on the base except for the guardhouse and a few essentials.

The parade was called to order, I happened to be very directly in front of Wing Commander Gibson, being one of the shorter by stature or vertically-challenged types. [laughs] The parade was called to attention. It was total silence, a perfect sound box on the parade square. And some guy had either consumed an undo quantity of beer the previous night or he had gotten into some cabbage or other gassy foods. Anyhow, there was an explosion from one section followed by total silence, followed by huge gales of laughter from the females in waves going over the parade square and, of course, was joined by everybody else. [laughs] Wing Commander Gibson, a terrific guy, [laughs] he was one of these “rumpled” bomber command pilots, but the commanding officer, oh, he changed colour like a thermometer and a match. [laughs]

Finally, the parade was silenced and got handed over to Wing Commander Gibson. He walked through a few sections and returned; and then was returned to the commanding officer. But the next day, we were put through horrendous duck walks [walking in a squat position] and PT [physical training] because of our conduct supposedly during this parade.

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