Veteran Stories:
Al Bacon

Merchant Navy

  • Pictures of R.N.A.F. commemoration in Northern Ontario. In attendance were the King & Queen of Norway. Provided by Al Bacon.

  • Memorial dedicated to the R.N.A.F. at Camp Little Norway, 1942-1945, City of Muskoka.

  • Discussion surrounding the R.N.A.F. commemoration and visit of King & Queen of Norway, City of Muskoka.

  • Monument at the training camp of the R.N.A.F., in honour of the crown Prince & Princess of Norway.

  • The "Spirit of Little Norway", Fairchild plane.

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"And it... it kind of gets a lump in your throat when you think back of how they treated you and how gracious they were."

Transcript

This is part of our history and it has to be told. My name's Al Bacon. I served with the Norwegian Merchant Service during the war between '39 and '45.

Norway gave the allies a thousand ships when they were invaded by Germany. They were told to report back to Norway, they never did. Quisling, the traitor, ordered them back, but they went by their King Haakon and turned into the allied ports. They lost 570 ships; 4,795 lives were lost; 6,000 were wounded. When the Royal Norwegian Air Force came to Canada, they could not train in England on account of the war. It cost 14,198,893 dollars. The merchant service bore the cost all themself. Four thousand Norwegians came here between Toronto, Muskoka and ... for their training as fighter pilots and bomber crews and mechanics.

In 1943 an American said, they should have Little Norway Airport designated as a historical site. Six hundred pilots were trained - 270 survived the war. But that doesn't count for the air crew or the ground crew that were killed. I wanted to join my three other brothers that were involved. Fortunately we all survived. But, when I went on board they took me in and treated me as family. And it... it kind of gets a lump in your throat when you think back of how they treated you and how gracious they were.

I traveled the North Atlantic and Mediterranean on board a tanker, which traveled alone most of the time. Now the convoys, most of them were based in Halifax, in Bedford Basin. And the Canadian Navy - my second oldest brother was on a Corvette - escorted the merchant service across to United Kingdom.

Norway transported 50% of the petroleum and oil that was needed, and 30% of all the other stuff - food, material, tanks and whatnot - across.

Ralph Hoga and that crew, on the Vintor II, circled for 15 hours around downed flyers, which they thought was the enemy when they first saw it on account of the flares. When they got close they found it was a downed RAF Navy. But it turned out to be a Royal Canadian Air Force plane that was shot down. They were on submarine patrol too. Norway flew out of Iceland and out of Scotland on reconnaissance and also submarine patrol. They escorted convoys up through the north part of Scotland and Ireland.

This is actually part of our history and it has to be told.

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