"And I’ve never forgotten that, that was very very good of the service. I thought that they went to bat for me."
By way of explanation, a brother of mine was killed at England in January of 1945. And in early March, I got a letter from my oldest sister in Oakville and I was stationed out in Vancouver incidentally. I got a letter from my oldest sister saying that if I wanted to see my mother, to get home because she was terminally ill with cancer. This was roughly a month after Chuck was killed. And so I had a big love for my mother and my family was scattered around the world so I went to the padre and I said, I would like a couple weeks compassionate leave, which I knew was a possibility in this case. And he refused me right off hand, he said, oh, I was up in the Queen Charlotte Islands and my mother died or my father - I forget which - and I couldn’t get away.
And I said, well, I really don’t give a damn about what happened to you or anything else. This is my mother and I’m going home. I’ve just lost a brother and I have a brother flying over the, he’s in the air force, flying over the Mediterranean on patrol and I have a brother in Italy with the tank regiment. And I have a sister who is a nurse with a POW [prisoner-of-war] camp in Northern Ontario. They’re all busy or out of touch and I’m the only one that really isn’t doing anything, we were just putting in time by this time. The war in the Pacific was way off Canada’s shore. And anyway, he refused me out of hand and I just went from there to my Station Warrant Officer and told him what the score was and said I wanted to be paraded [brought] before the Adjutant. Which he did immediately. And paraded me in with a WD officer, Women’s Division that is.
She was the Adjutant and I told her my story and the circumstances and everything. And she said, Mason, go back to your section and she said, I’ll send a runner as soon as I can find out something to let you know what we can do. So I hadn’t been back at my, the shop where I worked more than, oh, half an hour to an hour and a runner came in and said, you’re leaving on the six o’clock train. Go up to the orderly room and find out what’s going on.
So I did and they gave me two weeks leave with pay. They paid my rail fare, from Vancouver to Toronto, return. They paid for a berth on the train and all my meals. Really, really looked after me.
So I came home and saw mum and was thinking of going back. I had to leave Toronto Thursday night train to be on parade Monday morning. And mother died on Wednesday at noon. So dad said, well, we’ll just wire, ask permission to stay for the funeral. He was an old army officer and he said, they’ll probably go for it. Anyway, they wired back and gave me two more weeks of leave. And so I just thought that the air force went really out of their way to, to look after me.
And so after the funeral and everything was taken care of, I had lots of time and got back to the station two weeks later. And I’ve never forgotten that, that was very very good of the service. I thought that they went to bat for me. That’s about the end of that story.