Those who remember another time
June 19, 2013
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George Reeves recently had the chance to get physically close to a memory from his past when he went to the Hamilton air show and saw the WWII deHavilland Mosquito aircraft.
Twenty WWII veterans, now in their 80s and 90s, were chosen to attend the show and see the aircraft that had been such a big part of their youth.
George Reeves (June 17/13)
Reeves, born on May 6, 1928, was only three days short of his 18th birthday, when he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). "I could hardly wait to enlist," says Reeves, who lived in Owen Sound at the time.
The military decided that Reeves was to be trained as a radio operator and navigator and was sent to Guelph to acquire his radio operator certification. "They (RCAF) tried to train navigators to become radio operators but it didn't work so they reversed it. I enjoyed the radio more than I did the navigating," says Reeves
He was sent to Quebec for more training and then on to RCAF Greenwood in Nova Scotia and from there to England.
Although the war ended before he was deployed into the European foray, Reeves fondly remembers the Mosquito. "It was made of wood and we used to kid that the only thing you had to watch out for were the ants!"
Reeves returned to Canada where the servicemen prepared to depart for Japan however the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the surrender of Japan mean the disbanding of the air unit.
When Reeves returned to Canada, he went to university for a year with the intention of becoming a dentist, instead he returned home where he eventually joined Imperial Oil in Owen Sound. Reeves married Ruth Paddon of Port Elgin and the couple lived in Paisley where George Reeves joined the family oil delivery business. "Oil was just on the rise in popularity," said Reeves, "and my father and brother and I went in to the business."
Moving to Port Elgin in the 1950s, Reeve and his wife had two children, John and BettyLynn. George Reeve played hockey with the Jaycees Port Elgin team with players, such as Emmitt McGrath, Ken McKinnon, Gord Walmsley, Jack Maas, Dean Thede and Harry Kazarian ... families who still live in the area.
Jaycees Port Elgin Hockey Team 1954-55
[George Reeves is 3rd from L in the middle row]
Today, George Reeves resides at Kingsway Arms of Elgin Lodge retirement home in Port Elgin. "My family still has two cottages here near Port Elgin beach," says Reeves. "They come up every summer and I have a chance to spend time with them there."
In his room, he is surrounded with family pictures, that fill an entire wall along with his old air-force 'buddies'. "Going to the Air Show was definitely a highlight for me," he says. "You see that picture on the wall?" he says, pointing to a painting of a Mosquito aircraft. "That was painted by one of our German prisoners of war (POW) and his son gave it to me."
Then, he points to a poster created in crayon by a granddaughter. It's about WWII and her grandpa. "She made that in school," he says proudly.
Generations far apart ... but each remembering WWII.
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Thursday, June 20, 2013