Don Duncan born in Green River, Ont. along with his brother Gordon responded to the call to duty to serve Canada at the age of 20 years old in the Second World War. Don joined the new RAF Radar Calibration Crew and was trained over a three month period by the RAF in Clinton, Ontario Canada along with 75 fellow Canadians who maintained the permanent and mobile radar crews in India and along the India Burma border during World War Two. Radar was innovative new technology defending the Indian colony from the invading Japanese
He was shipped overseas in March 1943 first to Edinburgh, Scotland then to Bournmouth, England and was billeted with the 403 Squadron in Valley, Wales( A night fighter crew)
Don worked to calibrate the ground radar stations along with other crew member members which included 40% Canadian and 60% British. When they shipped to the Burma border the crew was 60% Canadian and 40% British. He waited between three and four months awaiting to be shipped out which happened on Nov. 1943.
Top Row: Don and Gordon(Brother), Don Duncan at General Story, Don Duncan
Second: Canadian Radar Crew in India, Don’s Military Card, Duncan Family Portrait
Third: Original Names of Canadian crew, Radar Crew Reunion in Ottawa, Canadian Crew in India
Four: Cpl Don Duncan’s metals, Don Duncan(Now)
Five: Burma Star Pin, Burma Star Tie
Don’s life on the Burma India border started with a dangerous convoy trip across the Atlantic dodging the submarines and after spending a short time in the UK then he sailed on a former Dutch pleasure ship, the Marnyxvan St. Aldegonde commonly called the Marnix. around the Rock of Gilbratar on route to India. Alas, the ship was hit by a torpedo from a German fighter and they survived the blast to regain their trip to Bombay (Mumbai) India.
After arriving in Bombay India on December 1943, the 75 Canadians were scattered across Canada.
He joined the 62 Squadron(RAF) transport which involved daily maintenance over three shifts, starting the engines was a tough job.
Don recalls how the villages on the Burma border was the domain of the British and Indian soldiers while at night the Japanese visited the same villages for supplies. An interesting relationship. The Japanese used the Radar Station as a beacon.
One of his memories of food whilst serving was eating ” Bully Beef and Rice” every day.
Don suffered from Dysentry and Jaundice while in the tropics and returned to his hometown in Green River, Ontario in December 1946 with substantial weight loss and he recalls spending alot of time next to the woodstove in the family General store.
Don served in the famous “Forgotten War” which had 8,000 Canadians during the Burma Campaign who served with the British Fourteenth Army.
In honour of those who served see memorial dedicated on August 15, 1995 in Kingston Ontario