Dick Hunt's Blog

April 11, 2013

“The Other Night Dear, When I Lay Sleeping”. # One

Filed under: Current — Tags: , — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 8:55 pm

“The Other Night Dear, When I Lay Sleeping”.  # One
by Dick Hunt, April 8th, 2013.
Well, it was six in the morning, today and I was having a series of dreams, very vivid dreams, going back into my past.  Good dreams of real people and experiences. That is the way many of my stories originate in my  present  life. When I finally awoke fully at seven A.M., I wrote down notes to preserve a whole list of new stories.

From a very busy and demanding life of Cattle Ranching in Alberta, I went to Calgary and joined the R.C.A.F. in July 1941. I had a fancy for training for Air Crew but the Medical people  “discovered” that I had a heart murmur, (which never showed up in any other medical check up).  By that time they had shifted me into Radio Technology and I was studying at Calgary Tech, under the Grandstand at the Exhibition Grounds.  I was tied to the Air Force but studying with Tech. I was paid the sum of $30.00 per month, ‘maintenance’, every cent of which went to my landlady, who happened to be a cousin, Suzy Watt, in a second story suite on 8th Ave, West. She had two grown children, Keith who was single and Dorothy who was married to Bruce Robinson. Bruce was a brilliant Radio Technician and was a help to me in my studies. He could easily send and receive 60 words per minute on a Morse Code Key.  I managed to find $20 and with it to buy a used Bicycle to ride to my classes.  So from July 1 to the week before Christmas I was in civies but under the control of the R.C.A.F. After a leave of three days to visit my family on the Ranch, I was transported to Toronto.
There, with 10,000 other recruits I was given an upper bunk in “The Sheep Pen” at the Exhibition Grounds beside Lake Ontario. We were given all the normal “shots” in the arm to preserve health, endless drill on the tarmac to learn how to march and follow orders, fitted with uniforms, given hair cuts which broke many a heart and took three minutes each.  We were assigned ‘Regimental Numbers’ which we had to call out on all occasions, such as Pay Day and which I now use as part of my access to Internet Banking.  The post office was away up at the top of the bleachers and it was either have lunch or get the mail but not both.  Learn how to deliver a proper salute or you will run afoul of a newly commissioned young Pilot Officer. Learn how to obey the Sargent Major or get reamed out. It was altogether a new life.

My bunk was surrounded by a bevy of recruits from Texas who wanted to get into the fight.  They were obviously a tough bunch.  We had been severely warned not to drink any alcohol after we had our shots as it might kill us.  But, reasoned the Texas group, “we are tough”. When I woke the following morning, the tough ones were short some members who had died during the night. The rest were taken to  hospital. The uniforms we were issued were somewhat ill fittng but the problem was that they weren’t snow gear. And winter was quickly upon us.  No proper head wear or overcoats. Our next port of call was  Montreal for the Radio Techs and we were met with a huge snow fall, no winter foot wear and endless marching to help sell “War Bonds” to bolster the costs of war. A rude awakening!

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