Coastal Command was in charge of patrolling the coast, escorting convoys and hunting down submarines. Submarines were hunted at night.
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When the war was declared, I was a student at the time. I saw the planes passing over the college. I wanted to enlist out of a sense of patriotism but also out of a great sense of adventure. I was 19 years old at the time. From Québec City, they took me to Montreal. I did a few months of training in Montreal East while waiting to be transferred to the Manning Depot in Lachine. The Manning Depot in Lachine is where the basic training took place in order to prepare for our future training. From Lachine, they sent me to Québec City to take an English course since I could only speak French. I had to speak English in order to take the wireless operator/air gunner training that I had signed up for. But from there, I didn't go overseas. They posted me to Dartmouth. In Dartmouth, 161 Squadron was assigned to patrol the coast. We would escort convoys to Gander. I carried out several trips from there. After that, they transferred me to England.
In England, I took an OTU [Operational Training Unit] course and then I was transferred to 407 Squadron. They called it the ''Demon Squadron''. It was a RCAF [Royal Canadian Air Force] squadron on loan to the RAF [Royal Air Force]. Our work consisted of night patrols, hunting down submarines. I asked to be transferred to the Alouettes Squadron, which was a French-Canadian squadron that was part of Bomber Command. The other squadron was with Coastal Command. Coastal Command was in charge of patrolling the coast, escorting convoys and hunting down submarines. Submarines were hunted at night. We would patrol for 12 hours at 500 feet above sea level. We had radars and we would monitor the sea by radar. Inside, we had what we called a Leigh light, a big spotlight if you will, that we used to patrol. We would use that and the radars to patrol the sea. There were three wireless operators; one watched the radar, one monitored the radio and another controlled the guns. We would alternate because monitoring the radar constantly was hard on the eyes. So we would alternate.
So I was transferred to the Alouettes, the Alouettes Squadron, and the war was ending. It was close to the end of the war. They offered me training so that I could go to Japan. I took the training on Lancaster planes to go to Japan. We were preparing to go to Japan when the war with Japan ended. We were preparing to come back to Canada, we were coming back with a plane and then heading for Japan. But the war ended, and my story ends there too.