Veteran Stories:
Ted Rokosh

Air Force

  • Royal Canadian Air Force Wings (Pilot brevet) from the Second World War.

    Ted Rokosh
  • Entries from Ted Rokosh's log book, noting aircraft, personnel, and duties. C.1944-45.

    Ted Rokosh
  • Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, left, and War Medal (1939-1945), right.

    Ted Rokosh
  • RCAF Certificate of Qualification awarded to Ted Rokosh, qualifying him to fly Avro Anson MK II planes by day and by night. Certificate awarded in 1944.

    Ted Rokosh
  • Instructions page of a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot's log book.

    Ted Rokosh
  • Page from Ted Rokosh's log book, noting aircraft, personnel, and duties. C.1944-45. Page 1 of 2.

    Ted Rokosh
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Listen to this story

"When I decided to join the [Royal Canadian] Air Force, there was a feeling in my mind that I'm gonna… I'm going to go, if I lose my life, it's not a big deal. I'm gonna go and protect my country, and protect my people and the like."

Transcript

We were in the air, I had the instructor ahead of me and I was in the backseat, and we were practicing low-level flying and sideslipping*, and the like of that. So he asked me to side slip into a field… into a grass field, which I did, and he was not all that impressed with my capabilities, so he said, “Let me take it over.” So he took over, he took the aircraft over and then, he was either climbing to get a little more height, but we stalled and we crashed into the grassy field. We flipped over, and I was able to undo my harness, and then I got the instructor out as well, so we were actually okay, I…  My injuries were minimal, but I just felt that my, when my knees hit the dashboard, that I still have that bit of a problem with my knees.

We had extensive… extensive flying training. The… My whole hours of instruction were totalled at 335 hours of instruction, so I felt… or they felt that we were qualified, compared to the first pilots that went into the European war, some of them went there with 35 hours of flight training, which was, you know, rather murderous really. And that's probably you know a negative thing during the war, that those young pilots went with such little training. So I felt… We felt that it was okay to… I could go anywhere and, you know, switch over to any type of twin engine aircraft within [a] short conversion time. When I decided to join the [Royal Canadian] Air Force, there was a feeling in my… In my mind that I'm gonna… I'm going to go, if I lose my life, it's not a big deal. I'm gonna go and protect my country, and protect my people and the like. So I really didn’t… I was prepared to lose my life.

 

*Sideslipping is an in-air manoeuvre used by pilots during crosswind landings. It allows the pilot to increase drag, so that the plane may fly at a higher rate of descent.

 

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