"I started backing it up, they hollered, but I didn’t hear them with the noise of the engine and, all of a sudden, I plowed right into the wing of that plane for about five feet, ripped it all up."
Well, I was told what would happen to me, that I would not get my uniform right away, but that I would start my basic training in Vancouver from September to December. Then I was told I would go to the CN train station and join the others in my class, which was 148th Fellows, and get on the train bound for Edmonton. While there, I would take my basic training, like how to march, how to salute and how to make my bed and get my shots and dental work and everything I needed.
But when I got posted to my first post, which was Centralia, Ontario, then the plane I was working on was an [Avro] Anson Mark II, which was a twin engine bomber trainer plane. I enjoyed it very much because I had an opportunity to do all kinds of things, make all kinds of trips on my passes, annual leave, whatever.
I went to, just to give you an idea, I went to Chicago, New York, Detroit, Syracuse and other places as well. Oh, Niagara Falls once, took the wife with me to that one. Yeah. And I had the opportunity because I had an excellent shift. I worked what they called 24 on, 24 off. Now, that meant I would start at 12:00 noon one day, work until 12:00 midnight, if there was night flying. There was only night flying in the midsummer. So the rest of the time, 12:00 noon to maybe 7:00 at night and I’d go home. And then I’d come back the next day at 8:00 in the morning and work until 12:00 noon and I was off for 24 hours. That gave me lots of opportunity, especially if I had a 48 hour pass to add to it, and that’s how I had five full days in New York.
I had an accident while I was on that station. I damaged the plane. I was driving the fuel cart, refueled the planes, you know, the tanker, and it was parked nose in opposite the next hangar, and I’d gone to it to take it to the place where they refueled it, you know, so it would be ready for the next refueling. And they did not have a mirror on the right hand side. They had one on the left hand side. Now, some of the fellows had attached the tractor and bars to one of the planes we were bringing into the hangar. I didn’t see them because I didn’t have a right hand mirror. I started backing it up, they hollered, but I didn’t hear them with the noise of the engine and, all of a sudden, I plowed right into the wing of that plane for about five feet, ripped it all up.
Well of course, when I heard that noise, I stopped immediately, but it was too late. So anyway, I naturally had to go and confess what I had done and why, and I said, “Well, the only thing I can say, if I’d had a mirror on the right hand side, I would have seen them.” So they offered as much clemency as they could. They said, “Well, we have to do some conviction, we’re going to confine you to barracks for three days. That’s your penalty. And each day, we’ll have you down to the guardhouse where the gate was and wash the windows.” That was it.
Though I had to get somebody that went to, we lived in the town of Exeter [Ontario], tell my wife what had happened and why I wouldn’t be home. So that was that. That was the only bad experience I had.