Veteran Stories:
Ralph King

Air Force

  • Ralph King, 2010.

    Historica Canada
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"But everybody’s life was a little different and there were reasons for why they did things."


I had problems with night vision and was not suited to flying. So I was put into what they called an equipment assistance course. From there, I was stationed in Mon-Joli [Quebec] for several months. And then from Mont-Joli to the port transit unit in Saint John’s, Newfoundland, where we lived out and we were a group of six of us who were in charge of all the equipment, going in and out by rail and sea and air to various stations in Newfoundland. As I say, I lived out and the first Sunday I was there, I thought I’d like to go to church, so across the road was an Anglican church. I was United Church but the Anglican church was there, so I went. And they met me and took me right in. I never did get to a United church, they were so great. This was common with all of Newfoundland people, whether it was in the church or in the community or wherever. I boarded one place and took meals with another family. We were allowed the magnificent sum of $1.50 a day for our meals. So I think that they gave us more than they got, in terms of money. So what we did was if there were things coming in by ship, we went down and we hired locals to be the stevedores. We found to our dismay that you didn’t pay them until the job was done because they would, tended to go out and have a few drinks and forget to come to work the next day. And of course, the military had to pay demurrage on the ship being tied up or if it were freight cars, the same thing. So no money until the job was done. And then of course, we were there when the war was over and equipment started going the other way, back to Canada. But it was always, we hired the locals and used them. I was awful upset about people who were, who didn’t enlist but were called up. And they were kind of looked down upon. And we didn’t want to be in that group at all. Now, I met an awful lot of guys that had been called up and they were just fine fellows. I’m not putting them down in any way. But everybody’s life was a little different and there were reasons for why they did things. Well, I was stationed for several months in Mont-Joli and there were a lot of people from Quebec who had, were of a different mind about enlisting and they were there because really, they were called up. But they did their work no different.
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