Kathleen Pollock's honourable discharge card.Kathleen Pollock
Kathleen Pollock at her wireless school in Montreal, Quebec, 1942.Kathleen Pollock
Kathleen Pollock while on leave to visit her parents in Barrie,Ontario, 1944.Kathleen Pollock
Kathleen Pollock in Heatherdown, Alberta, after her engagement on VE day in 1945.Kathleen Pollock
Kathleen Pollock (2nd from the left) while on leave with her friends in Jasper, Alberta.Kathleen Pollock
"I started to turn around and my one foot was stuck in tar and I couldn’t get it out. I thought, oh, dear, I’m going to be in an awful mess here."
I got on the train with a group of girls, I think there were about 30, but I can’t recall for sure. And we traveled into Ottawa and got there at 1:00 in the morning. And then we were hungry by that time, we thought maybe they’d give us some tea and cookies or something, but we were surprised when they brought in platefuls of beef stew. And I wasn’t used to eating that at 1:00 in the morning. [laughs] But, anyway, we had a little bit and then they showed us to our rooms. We were formed into groups. They chose one person from the group to lead us and we had to obey everything she did. When we went out on the parade ground, she was head of us and had to give us directions and so on. And she was very efficient too; very quiet girl, but nice.
And we trained there for six months. We sat in the little cubicles that the blind children had used before and it was just right for us working; we each had our own little, we had our own typewriters and we were learning typewriting and learning how to accept messages over the phone. And then we had tests at the end of our training; and then they told us we were going to have sort of a display party, to show us off and we could invite anybody we wanted to come and see it. So that was nice, we invited a few friends we’d made.
I was in a little bit of a stir there because when they would call us by name, you see, and we had to march up then to the officer in charge and he would pin wings on our sleeves so that this showed that we had finished the course. When my name was called, I was facing this way, but I had to turn around this way to get to him. And I started to turn around and my one foot was stuck in tar and I couldn’t get it out. I thought, oh, dear, I’m going to be in an awful mess here. But I kept wiggling it; and I finally got it loose and was able to turn around and walk up to him. [laughs]
They gave us our choice of whether we should go to the east coast and start out for Europe or whether we could go to the west coast and start out there. Well, I didn’t want to go on the ocean because I knew I’d be terribly sick all the way there. So I asked to go to Vancouver and that’s where I went with, I think there were five of us girls altogether got on the train and went to Vancouver. That they asked for volunteers to come to Prince Rupert. Oh, we got right into the office there and started our work, sending and receiving wireless messages. We listened for messages of, if the pilots thought they were going to crash or something or other, they would call for help and we would have to give that to the sergeant in charge of our offices, see, and he would get it to the authorities and go on from there. But we didn’t hear much of that.
Apparently, what they were doing there was flying back and forth watching for Japanese planes to come in and shut up all we were doing, you see. They were sure the Japanese people were going to come in and that’s why they took them all and moved across the mountains into Alberta, a lot of them, from the west coast. And apparently the Americans were doing the same. They were afraid of the Japanese attacking them too.