Originally from Toronto’s east end, Bob Middleton is a proud Canadian who served in the RCAF during the Second World War. Bob grew up in the Beaches neighbourhood of Toronto, and when he visited mr. Masters’ Grade 12 history class, he shared remarkable memories of what it was like to grow up in prewar Toronto. Bob remembered life in the neighbourhood, and had a remarkable treasure trove of stories from the era. Like so many in his generation, he made the decision to enlist with the coming of war. A lifelong fascination with flying led him to choose the RCAF, and he was off to manning depot in his freshly purchased suit. From there Bob went into basic training, to be followed by a stint in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, where he hoped to become a pilot. fate did not have that in store for Bob though, and he was trained instead as a navigator, and was set to make his way overseas. The troop ship saw him safely – if not comfortably – to England, and he and the other men were given additional training, followed by crewing up. Their life in Bomber Command was about to begin, and the trips to Germany, of which Bob would do 33, were about to begin. Bob served with his crewmates on Wellington, Halifax and Lancaster bombers, taking the war to the heart of Germany from 1943-45. When Bob completed his mission quota, he returned to Canada, shortly before VE Day. He was welcomed by his family and girlfriend Pat, with whom he would go on to build a life and a family, falling into the rhythm of civilian life with the returning soldiers of his generation.
Bob visited us in May 2018, first attending our annual veterans’ breakfast, and then returning to speak to History 12 students.
Oral History Project May 28th, 2018
Stan Dinney was born in New Brunswick in 1922, near Moncton. His father moved the family to Windsor, Ontario for a few years when Stan was young, but he took the family back to Moncton with the coming of the Great Depression, when he secured employment at a family lumber mill. Stan enjoyed his early life and teen years in New Brunswick, and in particular he excelled at baseball. With the coming of the war, his athletic hopes were dashed though; he decided to join the RCAF, and by 1941 his training regimen was underway. Stan was moved to various parts of Canada, where the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan put him through the motions, and Stan was prepared to be an armourer and member of the ground crew. He was shipped overseas in 1941, and attached to numerous squadrons in Great Britain, where he serviced Beaufighters and Mosquitoes. Stan remembers coming under attack by a Junkers 88 on one occasion, the closest he came to enemy fire. Rather suddenly Stan was moved at the midpoint of the war, and after a journey through the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean, Stan was deployed on Ceylon, to the base at Koggala. There he serviced the Catalina Flying Boats, playing a crucial role in the RAF reconnaissance flights over the Asian theatre of war. Stan was there until April 1945, when he was returned to Canada. He ended the war by demobilizing the RCAF’s Lancasters, stripping them of their guns.
Oral History Project January 10th, 2017
Mac Joyner was on May 24th, 1923 in Hamilton, Ontario. As a small child, he and his family moved all around North America, mainly in the southern United States, including California, Florida and Georgia. With all the moving, school life was quite difficult for Mac. After settling back into Canada, Mac grew up living the average life of a boy in Hamilton, taking part in the town sports like baseball and basketball. Before the war, Mac recalls the introduction of radio, with some of his favourite programs being Amos ‘n’ Andy and Fibber McGee and Molly. As a teenager, Mac took a special interest in aircraft. He was a part of a aircraft model crew, and visited one of Hamilton’s small airports frequently.
As the war broke out, Mac was sure his family would support his enlisting as his father was already a Canadian war artist and was overseas a year before Mac. Mac eventually enlisted at the age of 18, along with his high school friends and others in the area. Mac went on to train at Manning Depot and graduated from #5 AOS in Winnipeg. He travelled overseas on a troop ship, during which he was in charge of a 20mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft cannon. When arriving in Liverpool, Mac got his first real war experience as there was a German air raid taking place at the same time. By the end of Mac’s tours in the war, he had taken part in a total of 33 major operations. He was a navigator bombardier in a Lancaster bomber.
Mac Joyner was interviewed in his room at Sunnybrook in January 2015 by Matti MacLachlan, Bowen Ouyang, and Viki Tao. In 2016 he was again interviewed, this time by Aidan Reilly, Mert Tutcu, Aaron Joshua and David Huang.
Oral History Project February 23rd, 2015
Frank Boyd was born in Toronto in 1922. He grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, though he said he was lucky to have been sheltered from the toughest times. After graduating high school, 19-year-old Frank Boyd joined the armed forces in Toronto, choosing the air force. After training he boarded the troopship Louis Pasteur and headed to Britain, where he spent time in Bournemouth and Binnington, completing his flight training. Frank became an air gunner and a member of a Lancaster crew. One mission saw them shot down, and Frank spent time as a POW, where he said he was treated reasonably well. When the war concluded, he returned to Canada and built a life for himself.
We met Frank at the Sunnybrook Veterans Wing in February 2014, when he was interviewed by Crestwood students Anthony Audette, Spencer Cohen and Braden Harris.
Oral History Project April 17th, 2014
Mark Charness was born in Montreal in 1923. He joined the RCAF in 1942, and soon was designated as a flight navigator. In 1944 he was transferred to the RAF, where he ended up as a member of the Pathfinders. He flew in a Lancaster, where he joined up with an Australian crew. When the war was over, he returned to Canada and started up his own business.
Mark was first interviewed for this project by his grand-daughter Katherine, when she was in Mr. Scott’s CHC2D class. In 2012 he was interviewed again by Katherine, this time with Michael Lawee and Zach Brown.
Oral History Project January 11th, 2013
Mr. Leonard Levy was a pilot in the RCAF during WW2, where he completed 32 bombing runs with his Lancaster crew, including the raid on Dresden. A Jewish Canadian, Mr. Levy also gives students insights into the anti-Semitism of the period, both in Canada and in Europe. Mr. Levy is one of the original Memory Project veterans to speak at Crestwood, and we are fortunate that he continues to visit us each year. Mr. Levy was featured in the CBC Remembrance Day documentary filmed at Crestwood in November 2006
admin July 9th, 2012
Mr. Jim Eddy served in the RCAF during WWII, when he was connected to Bomber Command. While on a mission over Germany, his Lancaster was shot down, and Jim went on to be a POW in German prison camps for the remainder of the war.
We first visited Mr. Jim Eddy in his room at Sunnybrook Veterans’ Wing in October 2008, where he was interviewed by Crestwood student Zach Roher. On a subsequent visit in March 2009 he was interviewed a second time by Turner St. John Leite. We returned again in February 2016, when Adelaide Pike, Cole Morrison and Guanghao Chen were able to meet Jim – we thank him for his interest and involvement over the years!
admin July 9th, 2012