Veteran Stories:
Billie Monica Maloney

Air Force

  • The Memory Project, Historica Canada
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"We talked together and we decided in August 1943 to join the Air Force [Women’s Division]... I had lived a whole life in my 20s. I was married, widowed, had a plane crash, married again and before 1950, had three children. "

Transcript

I had been dating a young man since I was 15. In 1942, he joined the air force and I followed him to Mossbank, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, before he went overseas in the summer of 1943. I had a very good girlfriend and in June of 1943, she lost her husband, who was in the RCAF [Royal Canadian Air Force]. They’d been married on his embarkation leave. So we talked together and we decided in August of 1943 to join the air force [Women’s Division]. We could join then in radar without joining and just being put wherever they wanted us. And we had hopes of course that maybe we would get overseas. But instead, we were posted in Prince Rupert [British Columbia]. And this was December of 1943.

In April of 1944, my husband was reported missing. And in July of 1944, I had a sister in Victoria. We came down to Victoria to visit her, went over to Vancouver and at a football game with the group, I met my second husband, who was in the RAF [Royal Air Force] on the way back to Prince Rupert. My girlfriend and I, we missed the boat so we got an aircraft to fly us; a military aircraft with just one seat beside the door for three people, Colonel Steel and myself and Grace. Everybody else was sitting around on machinery, navy boys and there was sixteen [people] I think in the plane.

We flew to Port Hardy to refuel and took off and crashed. Six of the crew were killed. Grace and the other girl were very badly burned. I was the only one uninjured. During one of the explosions, it threw me out into a mass of trees and I was found astride a tree. And I have a faint memory of being led out on a tree trunk and looking down and seeing the ground. Anyway, the two girls were eventually flown to Vancouver and spent a year in Christie Street Hospital in Toronto which is the burn hospital. I went back home and radar was still in Victoria in the Belmont Building. So instead of going back to Prince Rupert, they posted me to Victoria and I lived with my sister. But in January of 1944, they let the married women out and that was the end of my service.

I had lived a whole life in my 20s. I was married, widowed, had a plane crash, married again and before 1950, had three children. So that’s, that’s my story.

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