Veteran Stories:
Victor Hodge

Air Force

  • Picture of a Lancaster, with the group required repair and maintain the plane, circa 1944.

    Victor Hodge
  • RAF squadron, circa 1941.

    Victor Hodge
  • Certificate of service, April 6, 1970.

    Victor Hodge
  • Victor Hodge's medals (L-R): Defense Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and clasp, War Medal (1939-45), Canadian Centennial Medal (1967), Canadian Forces Decoration and Clasp, Airman's Flying Badge.

    Victor Hodge
  • Victor Hodge in 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"They would get him before he got to the coast. And he didn’t, he never made it. So that was the only time that I ever did see enemy aircraft, but it was funny at the time."

Transcript

Seventy-five percent probably of all the people that were in the forces were working as mechanic types. Because even in the army, you have to have men that are capable of looking after the tanks. And it’s a big job to have all those people who have all trades to look after and not have any accidents. They depend on you, your life too depends on your, doing your proper inspections and looking after the aircraft. First posting was to Borden - Camp Borden, Ontario, north of Barrie. We started out on Tiger Moths and that soon went by the boards because they were starting to make Fairey Battles [training aircraft]. The Fairey Battles were sent to rivers as tow - they towed drogues [targets used for firing practice]. And that was where the pilots got their firing. It was a single-engine aircraft and single-engine was the priority then because fighter aircraft were the main aircraft that had to protect England. Then the Avro Anson was a two-engine and they learned to use the hands-on too. And once you could learn the two handles, you could handle four. So the two-engine plus the four gave you the Lancasters and Halifaxes. In Skipton [England] when I first went there, the Halifaxes were going over and they were doing these series of raids. And they were finding out that they were being picked up pretty quickly by the radar. So we loaded boxes and boxes of what they call ‘Window’ - I’m sure that’s the name -and it was tinsel. It was long strips of silver paper. They were about maybe an inch or so across and quite long. Well, what they’d do, they dumped all this out as they were flying, this aircraft would go over first, they’d dump this out and as the stuff was coming down, it flutters, the radar picks up all these flutters and thinks that they’ve got a mass invasion. And they can’t pick out your aircraft out of that mess. So it helped. It gave the pilots a little bit of security, you know, from being shot down. After the raids we would be sent out fairly early; they would take quite a long time to come back, they were coming back in the evening. And when this aircraft was coming in, a Messerschmitt [German fighter aircraft] followed him. And the tail gunner was firing at this Messerschmitt and we were in our barracks and we could hear this noise and we wondered what it was. So we were all at the windows looking out and watching. The aircraft came in and landed, he made a left-hand bank, he went right over the bomb dump, didn’t even do anything there, but he made a swing back and swung back around our barracks and strafed it. Well, luckily, the bullets must have hit in between the floors because we had the plaster falling down in the dust but nobody was hurt and we all watched it and watched him leave and they said that he would never make it. They would get him before he got to the coast. And he didn’t, he never made it. So that was the only time that I ever did see enemy aircraft, but it was funny at the time.
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