Veteran Stories:
Edith Marion Garden (née Greenly)

Air Force

  • Mrs. Edith Garden (née Greenly) in uniform in Edmonton, Alberta, on August 25, 1944.

    Edith Garden
  • Edith Garden (née Greenly) with future husband, Buster Garden, in August 1943.

    Edith Garden
  • Mrs. Garden and fellow WDs looking for shells on the shoreline in Queen Charlotte Islands, where she was stationed during the war.

    Edith Garden
  • For entertainment while stationed on Queen Charlotte Islands, Mrs. Garden and her fellow WDs would make different objects out of the shells they found along the shoreline.

    Edith Garden
  • Pictured here is the dance hall in Queen Charlotte Islands where Mrs. Garden was stationed during the war.

    Edith Garden
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"It was a very active military station. We had to be prepared at all times in case there was a Japanese invasion."

Transcript

When I waited until fall 1942, I was old enough and that’s when I joined in Edmonton, Alberta, and I joined because my sister was already in the air force, but we’d listened to military talk all our life, I guess, because my dad was in the First World War and he was at Vimy Ridge and we heard about many of the experiences that they went through. And I was posted to Ottawa. And, of course, I was general duties then. I didn’t have any trade, so I went from one job to another. But, eventually, I did get moved to [RCAF Station] Claresholm, Alberta, their flying training station, where my sister was, older sister who had joined earlier. So we were together for 11 months there at, well No. 15 SFTS [Service Flying Training School] Claresholm, Alberta. And I got posted to [RCAF Station] Fort Macleod, No. 7 SFTS and I protested, but they said we didn’t join together, so we didn’t have any pull. But, anyway, I was at Macleod a little while. I didn’t really like the station and I got a chance to go to the Queen Charlottes [Islands]. We didn’t have to go, it was a volunteer thing, because it was a very isolated station. And I liked the idea, so I went. And I stayed a whole year. We only had to stay half a year and I enjoyed it. It was very pretty up there. I loved it, great big trees and the lovely trails they had out along the shore. It was a very active military station. We had to be prepared at all times in case there was a Japanese invasion because they were thinking they might be trying to make a, a setting down there, a landing. And we had gas masks and we had searchlights; and we had gun positions out along the coast. And you know, a lot of different things that we didn’t have at different stations. That was the most military one I was at. And they said when we went there, there was demolition charges behind the buildings and there definitely was a tunnel we were supposed to go in if there was trouble. They said there was supplies and a way to escape in that tunnel if we, but we never did get to see in there. We sold t-shirts and towels and stuff that they had to have for their kit, in case they lost some. And, at times, we served beer and you know, all things like that. Hot dogs, that was a great thing, we used to sell 40 hot dogs at one time to the crew going down to work on planes in the hangars at night. And we were closing just before midnight and we’d sell 40 hot dogs in one order to go down to where they were working overnight on the plane engines. And we were responsible for so much amount of money, so many thousand dollars worth of stock in that canteen. And we were all cashiers at different tills. We were responsible for, if anybody come in, stock takers, like somebody big shot could come in and say, okay, we’re taking stock right now, you had to shut everything down, count the money in the till, count the change fund and count every item on the shelf and it had to add up to how many thousand your value was. So it was a big responsibility. After the year, I was posted to Vancouver. And I spent some time in Vancouver. Let’s see, about from August until December. I was discharged in 1945. And my husband was in the army and he came back from overseas, from the run through Europe, where he was in on all that, in July. And we were married just within days of the Hiroshima bomb, Japan.
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