Daily Archives: April 8, 2012


How to start?

Paula and her sister Anne were at a Wing’s Party in the Mess at Yorkton Base in Saskatchewan.

I saw these two girls off in the corner by themselves -behaing themselves. She. Paula, was wearing a white cloche on her head and I thought, boy I’d like to meet her.  It was a quiet night – not the night I was meant to meet her.

A week later downtown Yorkton I went to a dance put on by City Hall and guess who was there… Paula. I went and asked her to dance and said, “I guess this is our dance.”. So we danced.  The music was provided by a juke box (canned music).  I was happy to see her again.  I knew then that she would be my wife if she agreed.

My friend “Menzes” (Pete) McKeller was also triyng to make time with her but I beat him out – anytime I talked to her about why she chose me and not my buddy, she said I was a better talker than him.

Her parents thought I was great – I brought her home early every night – she never hold them and I never told them I had to be in at 10:30 anyhow.

Paula invited me and a friend for dinner to her parents’ home at 181 Victoria Street. I took a guy by the name of Harry Hardy who had landed an aircraft in a wheat field in Manitoba when he ran out of gas.  He had made a good enough landing in the wheat field that he was able to fly home from there.  He was, however, punished and had to wash aircraft every night for a week.  The wheat field was just at a milky stage – not firm yet – he needed to wash all the aircraft so they were clean.

The dinner was an excellent cook – roast beef I believe.  Paula watched her mom cook and turned out to be an excellent cook herself!  BTW

Coal was used in those days to heat the hangers.   The coal “dispenser” was automatic – one didn’t need a fireman to feed it- it was like a cork screw that continually fed the flame.  Paula’s father was in the coal business.

I was busy that same afternoon revving up the planes engines to test the magnitoes which were back-ups for the generators….something like spark plugs.  Every aircraft had one and it  needed to be test before flight.  The pilot had to open up the engine pretty far to test it – open the throttles quite wide to do the checking.  Paula’s dad just happened to be in area of the backwash.

At dinner, Paula’s father was telling us about some young “pup” who had blown gravel and sand all over him that afternoon while he was supervising a delivery of coal to the hangers.  He said, “If I ever get my fingers on him I’ll fix him”.  I must admit I was a bit scared to tell him, but I told Paula and she thought it was funny.

I didn’t tell him for years that it had been me who blew the gravel and sand that day. Years later we laughed about that day together.

Categories: World War II | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Lost in England

I was flying out of somewhere in England to practice cross-country flying.  It was VFR (Visual Flight Rules or “map reading”).  I looked at my map to decide where I was – but I didn’t have one for where I was flying over.  At that time there were airports everywhere in England because it was war-time.  All these aircraft and so few patrollers – they just trusted you to not get lost.  But I did get lost – I had no idea where I was.

Rather than run out of gas – I decided I’d better land.  I went up to the control tower and looked “his” DRO (Daily Routine Orders) which gave the name of the place where I had landed.  The controller was busy talking on the radio – but he said “can I help you?”.

” I have one engine that is heating up – but I’d like to land for a little while.  If it is still heated I’ll land – otherwise, Ill carry on.”.  I knew I had to get back from where I came.  I had stolen a glimpse of my location and that was enough to get me my coordinates and get back in the air to fly home.

I guess I was a young, cocky pilot back then.

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