Veteran Stories:
Vivian Phillips

Air Force

  • Vivian Phillips, 1944

  • Vivian Hardy-Phillips' uniform.

    Vivian Hardy Phillips
  • Vivian Hardy-Phillips' uniform.

    Vivian Hardy Phillips
  • Vivian Hardy-Phillips service cap.

    Vivian Hardy-Phillips
  • Vivian Hardy-Phillips' ruck sack.

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"We had joined the air force, the saying was: “we serve that men may fly.”"


Well, they sent us to Halifax to get our posting from there. And so we were all thinking we were going overseas. [laughs] And they said, yes. They called out so many names, you know, going overseas. [Royal Canadian Air Force Station] Torbay, Newfoundland. [laughs] We had joined the air force, the saying was, what was that again: “we serve that men may fly.” And so we were going to be flying a long ways away, we thought. But, anyway, we landed in Torbay, Newfoundland. I was there for 13 months, I believe it was.

There was a large map on the wall and we would pin them where the convoys were; and we moved them as the convoys moved. And then if there was a sub in the area, we’d pin the sub on, so the air crews could see that when they come in, before they left, they would have an idea of where they were going. That’s about all it amounted to for us. And if there was a sub sighting, we would call the CO [commanding officer] in the station and he would perhaps send more planes out with bombs on them. That was our main job, to cover those convoys and circle them; and see that there was no submarines. I’m sure it must be so much different now, you know. There wasn’t so many ways of seeing a sub. You had to be right over it and see it, at that time.

But going from Torbay back to, I guess, Halifax and there was a sub out on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They dropped a bomb, something like that. I had to get out of my seat and let the co-pilot back. [laughs] But, anyway, yeah, that was quite an experience. But, you know, at that time, we didn’t realize, you know, what it was all about, we just took it for granted. As you get older, you can see the danger that was in all those things. But as you’re younger, you don’t look at them that way.

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