Veteran Stories:
Ken McCutcheon

Air Force

  • Ken McCutcheon's escape photo. All airmen had these photos taken in civilian clothes. They carried the photos on missions and if they were shot down, the photo could be used to create false documents with the help of the underground.

  • An example of the Avro Anson planes that were used for training in Canada.

  • Certificate of appreciation from the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum in Brandon, Manitoba, to Ken McCutcheon after he donated some of his wartime memorabilia.

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"...our wireless operator did not receive a recall, due to a malfunction in the radio, and we hit a whale of a storm."


This is Ken McCutcheon from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I initially became involved with the military in 1941. I was with the Calgary Tank Regiment for one year. That was the Reserves. In 1942, I went with the Calgary Flying Club as an apprentice mechanic at the Elementary Flying School at High River, Alberta. We worked on Tiger Moths, Cornell aircraft. In 1943, I enlisted in the wartime Air Force. I was general duties for nine months, and then I went on air crew training. Then I went to the Bombing and Gunnery School. I went to Three Rivers, Quebec for Battle School, then to Lachine, and then to Halifax, and then overseas. We were sent to a holding unit, and then we went to an Operational Training Unit, where the crews were formed. And we did operational training flying on the Wellington aircraft, and then we went to the Heavy Conversion, which was the Lancaster. While at the Operational Training Unit on the Wellingtons, there were six aircraft out on a navigational flight one day, and our wireless operator did not receive a recall, due to a malfunction in the radio, and we hit a whale of a storm. There were thunder heads and whatnot, and the aircraft was all over the sky. In this incident, I had damage to one of my ears, which affected my operational flying from then on. Most of my flying was with the Heavy Conversion Unit, where we did a few diversions and whatnot, and that was about it. We also were on stand-by for food drops, and transporting POWs back from Germany, and bomb disposal. We returned from overseas in January of '46, and while we were on the train from Halifax to the west, we were invited by an officer to enlist in the interim Air Force, which I did, and I was with them until October of '46, and then we went on to the regular peacetime Air Force. I was with the peacetime Air Force until 1978.
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