Veteran Stories:
Sidney Wallace “Sammy” Sams

Air Force

  • Mr. Sidney Sams in Gaspe, Quebec, on July 12, 2010.

    Historica Canada
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"so that if a motor had been in a crash, the first thing we had to do was tear it right down, take it right down to back to all the pieces"


They said we’re going to go to overseas and then they decided they weren’t going to send us. So then they decided we were going to go. So I saw the sergeant and I told him that I wanted to go on that, because my brother Fred is over in England at the time, he was in France and then he was going to be coming back to England. So he decided, I said, I want to go with it, put me on the draft. Okay, he said, I’ll see what I can do. So he put me on the draft and I went over and I wasn’t over there very long because they were getting, looking for people that was going to sign on to go to the Japanese war. So when we come back, that was a, actually, what we went over for was to, they kind of made it known to us that if we went, we would have to go to the Japanese war. I got ready to go there and then they sent us to England first, because we were going to go to work, I was going to work on an English depot over there, so we got into England and then we were sent to ... First we went into the police and they give us a refresher course on how in case England was invaded, how to shoot and how to handle the rifles and that. But I knew that because I had been in the Reserve Army before I went into the [Royal Canadian] Air Force. And they took us way up to the north of England and that’s where we went to work in this repair depot. We did a lot on the depot that they didn’t do in the field. If you were on the field with a squadron, well, you prepared the plane and it was gone and then you didn’t have any trouble or anything else because then you were off until the planes come back in again. But at the repair depot, most of it was done, because I was an aero-engine mechanic. Most of the things was rebuilding motors, think about back from either a crash or something like that, so that if a motor had been in a crash, the first thing we had to do was tear it right down, take it right down to back to all the pieces laying and then they’d take them and they’d put them through a process that would clean all the stuff that’s left on them off. And then they took them out and they went first to one section and measured them and checked them and as they passed out, then they put them on another table and then that table came to us. We took turns where we were working, if we were putting pistons in, well, the table would come along, you’d take each piston, you’d put it on and you put it down into the machine, mounted in the motor. And then you’d gradually build it up, then there’d be a sergeant come along and check to see what you were doing, if you were doing it right or not. But because it was a repair depot, you got a chance to work in different areas. We moved around three or four depots and then we came back to Canada. We were only over there maybe six months I think, when we got back here. We went on leave and my brother he came back too, he was on leave. And then the war ended, so we didn’t go to the Japanese war.
Follow us