Bruce Baird, WW Two Veteran, Canadian 434 Squadron
Joined airforce at 17 yrs old in 1943 in Edmonton, Alberta, shortly after the death of his two parents
According to Mr. Baird, everyone one wanted to join the air force at the time and he a spent the first six months at a bootcamp in Edmonton and continued training in Quebec City and at MacDonald Manitoba
Hoped to be a navigator as the second choice after pilot, it too had a long waiting list, he ended up joining as an Air Gunner and he worked on Halifax and Landcaster bombers.
In March 1944 while waiting in La Chine, Quebec for disembarkment, he met his future wife Rita and he left for two years and flew out of Yorkshire, UK
The crew was manned by six men including a 34 year old pilot, he was a great leader but unusually old for being a pilot from Edmonton( Skipper Jenkins. He figured his family pulled strings to get him to become a pilot since rumours were that he came from money.
While serving for two years he did ten operational flights over Germany , each flight took nine hours and 45 minutes return flight back to , Note the tank capacity 2100 gallons of fuel and they were flying on fumes as the large bombers touched down back in UK
One outstanding memory was how cold the barracks were, they peeled off the boards on the walls to burn in the wood stove to get some heat. He ended up getting pneumonia in Jan/Feb 1945 and for a month he joined back with the crew until the end of war ceased on May 1945
Bruce Baird is 84 years young, he phoned me with the story over the phone.
(Please see this link to more information on the Lady Orchid, Courtesy of Alan Soderstrom)