Veteran Stories:
Gail Eugene “Gene” Seward

Air Force

  • Mr. Gene Seward, 2010.

    Historica Canada
  • Photos from Gene Seward's time in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
    Top Left: Sergeant's Mess Dinner at No. 4 Initial Training School (ITS) in Edmondon, Alberta, May, 1942.
    Top Right: No. 4 ITS in Edmonton, Alberta, May, 1942. Sergeant Gene Seward is in the front row, furthest to the left.
    Bottom Right: "The Fighting 54" "C" Flight, RCAF, Manning Depot, Toronto, Ontario, September, 1940.
    Bottom Left: Gene Seward with his squadron. He is in the back row, centre.

    Gene Seward
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"I went to gunnery training for a month about 60 miles south of Toronto. I think it took a month there, doing mostly ground work or studying, learning on an old English aircraft."

Transcript

We took the train to Toronto and we pulled into the Toronto – what the heck to they call it, was it the Fair? – the Toronto Fair [the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), held in Toronto's Exhibition Place], in August. We took it in the back, back end, the train went in the back end of the horse barn, dumped us out and took us over and gave us our stall and then gave us our stuff. Then they got us together and marched us out to go for lunch. I remember we went out the front door and right into the Fair. We went a couple of blocks down the street to have our lunch. We spent six weeks training in there. However, we were still waiting to go on training for wireless operator. [I was training as a] gunner, which I enlisted for, they weren’t taking pilots at that time. So we hung around there for six months doing a bit of army training, packing guns and learning how to march. Then they come along and said they wanted 60 to train for, train air gunners to go over to England after a month’s training. So we all jumped into that to get out of Toronto. I went to gunnery training for a month about 60 miles south of Toronto. I think it took a month there, doing mostly ground work or studying, learning on an old English aircraft flying, and an old English gun. It was a machine gun, of course, and one aircraft flew along towing a kind of aerial thing [called a drogue] and we shot at it. We had a little over a month there, I think. Then they came and took us all apart and told us eight of us were posted to Victoria [British Columbia]. So we took the train out here again out to [RCAF] Pat [Patricia] Bay; came in September and stayed until the following June, I think. From there I went to [RCAF] Alliford Bay and stayed there more like six or seven months, I think, and they told us we could retrain for, to go there and get retrained there. So most of us went in for pilots but a few did not. We went there to take basic training for aircrew.
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