Veteran Stories:
Fred “Fred” Constable

Navy

  • Portrait of Fred Constable at the beginning of his service, February 22th, 1944.

    Fred Constable
  • Fred Constable in Victoria, British Columbia, March 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"Spitfires, they come back and were hit, they patched the holes with Irish linen. There was no metal in those days, it’s all, the planes were made out of wood."

Transcript

I remember I joined up in Kingston, Ontario and transferred to Toronto for my basics. And I went into Halifax and then I was transferred down to Shelburne, Nova Scotia. And then I was transferred there to England, in the fleet air arm, a place called Worthy Downs. And that’s where I finished. And so we were, nowadays, we were keeping the gun covers covered and making camps gun covers and things like that. But all the tradesmen there were, got anything from upholsterers to carpet layers to lino [slang for linoleum] layers to, like that. Spitfires, they come back and were hit, they patched the holes with Irish linen. There was no metal in those days, it’s all, the planes were made out of wood. Balsam wood. And the frames of the planes were made out of just balsam wood. There was no metal in those days. And they covered the frame of the wood with Irish linen. And they used to dope it up with more like a varnish and kept on doping it so it got hard. And that was the outside of the planes. They weren’t no aluminum, not in those days.
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