Friday 11 November 2011

Thanks Artie

Like millions of people in Canada and around the world, I took a minute today to honour the men and women that have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Our world is a better place thanks to these brave men and women. I am not sure how I would have done in the same situation, and am glad that I was born between wars and did not have to find out. My daughter, her son and I went to a ceremony at the Aerospace museum today and it was pretty cool. We were surrounded by all sorts of planes and models which chronicled Canada’s airborne strength through the years. Part of what made it a good ceremony is that it was short and to the point, covering all of the pertinent points with military precision. As it should.

My father was one of these brave young men that went to war when his country needed him. I think that he was eighteen when he enlisted on his birthday in 1940, and by the time he was just over two years older he had been reported missing following a raid on Stuttgart. It turns out that dad (the pilot) had to emergency land the plane as three of his crew were injured and the plane wasn’t in any better shape. He managed to land his Wellington bomber on a mined beach which they found out when the Germans came and took them into custody.

In his first letter home he was apologetic to his mom and wanted her to know that he was fine and all was well. Dad never talked much about the war at all, which I have noticed about most people that have seen action. He did tell me that he was treated pretty well by the German Luftwaffe who were in charge of the air force prisoners. One of his biggest complaints was that he was terribly bored most of the time. He told me that they would play tic-tac-toe by shaving a guys head. Dad spent about two and a half years in different prison camps until the war ended in 1945.

I asked him about escape attempts like the movie “The Great Escape”, and he told me that those things were planned and executed by the older guys, twenty five and twenty six year olds. I remember that he would get a Christmas card every year from a German guard that he came to know and I guess befriend. The Germans were after all doing what they thought of as right and just.

War is a strange pastime, and I am so very glad that I have been protected from it by these brave men and women in the armed forces.

Thanks “Artie”

1 comment:

  1. Kinda cool that both our Dads were pilots in the war. My Dad started out on Wimpies and then he was a Haleybager(spelling) Was training on Lancasters at the wars end. What Squadron was he in?1949 he went back in and was killed in a CF100 new years eve 1954, no memory but lots to remember....cheers