Friday, April 4, 2008

My Interest in Changing Vocations

My aviation interest began when I was in my late teens - early twenties, while attending university.My interest became much more involved with flying and aviation then with my regular university studies.

About that time I learned about a school in the US where they offered a course in economics and aviation. It was a four year course, where along with the academic studies you also studied aviation and flying training so upon graduation the student received a Bachelor of Science Degree as well as a commercial pilots license.

During the 1930's money was not very plentiful and even for people who had jobs the wages were also low so I decided I would discontinue University and instead I would go to work for a few years and try and save enough money so I could attend the American School where I could study academics as well as aviation. That plan didn't work out either.

As that period progressed through the 1930's and into the 1938 and 1939 period, it became much more evident that serious trouble was brewing with Nazi Germany so as a consequence by the last week of August '39 Great Britain was at war with Germany and one week later Canada was also at war with Germany

As WWII began it also brought the end to the depression which had existed since 1929. Young people became very excited about getting involved in Military life . Recruiting Centres opened everywhere in the country . Young people enlisted steadily in the service of their choice ,namely Army, Navy and Air Force. and Canada soon built up contingents of young people for Military service.

Canada with all it's open space provided a great training ground for Army and Air Force. Training grounds sprung up everywhere and people were on the move from one end of the country to the other. Trains going either east or west were usually pretty well fully loaded with Military personnel and the poor old Conductor usually had his hands full trying to keep good order. They were exciting days without any question.

My Air Force Career began on Oct 16 1940. On enlisting I was told I would be leaving that evening by train to the manning depot in Toronto... The Manning Depot was an initiation place where all air force recruits assembled for their initiation into Air Force Military Service . While there we were given new uniforms,which never really fitted properly without some changes.The boots were usually 2 sizes too large . The shirts were the removable collar type where you at least changed collar every day ,but not the entire shirt. after some more indoctrination then the Parade Square Stuff began where at least an attempt was made to teach you how to march ,stand at attention ,how to stand at ease, how to salute an officer and much more in which the decip. Sgts would make every attempt to show us the right way to do but on occasion would lose their calm and expound with a vocabulary( I thought I had heard it all before but I was wrong)

The Manning Depot itself had been the grounds where the Toronto Exhibition was held before the war , so we had the privilege in sleeping in cow and horse stalls;however I didn't mind that because I was very familiar with horses and cattle, having been born and brought up on a farm

After afew weeks at Manning Depot I was sent to a training school at St Thomas Ont.. for a Course in Aero Engine Mechanics . the Course was several months long and by the end of May "41 I had completed the Course and was posted to a Flying Training School at Calgary Ab. where I worked at maintaining the serviceability of Training Air Craft

On March 1/42 I began Aircrew Ground School Training at Edmonton Ab. for a couple of months and on completion of that Coure I began the actual pilots training Course at High River Ab The Canadian part of my flying training was completed at Claresholm Ab by Nov 1/42 after which I was gived an Overseas Posting to the U.K. for further training and eventual Air Operational Work

By Sept'43 all training was completed so my aircrew (6 other hand picked men)and I were ready to begin actual flying against the enenmy. We were posted to 148 RAF Squadron in North Africa,.. Our job was to supply the Underground movement in Europe with personell, ammunition ,clothing and what ever else was required by those people.... The one main draw back at that time was that the war had moved fromAfrica up into aEurope so it meant a long flight across the Mediterranean Sea before we ever entered enemy territory However that soon changed as our Squadron moved to Brindisi in Italy by Jan/44 and that allowed us to cover a large part of Europe from our base at Brindisi

My Aircrew and I (7of us) with the exception of one fellow(who was replaced ) completed 2 operational tours against the enemy( A total of 85 sorties ) on completing that, no more operational flying was
required of us so we disbanded and went our various ways... I returned to Canada in Oct. 44 and and married a lovely girl friend from our younger days in Jan/45 and as I was now working at a Training Base at Abbots ford B.C. where Aircrews were preparing for the Pacific War My new Bride came to Abbotsford with me where we remained until the hostilities ceased after which I was dismissed from the R.C.A.F. Sept/45.... we then moved back to N.B. and raised 4 lovely children. That is a brief summary of my time with the R.C.A.F.

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Anonymous said...

A commercial pilot license allows you to fly what type of planes?

Unknown said...

I wonder if you remember my father Tom Storey s crew:
Storey, Elkington Smith, Congdon, Davis, Stradling and Hughes. With 148 from Nov 43 to April 44. Jennifer