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.
- 1. Bob Middleton - Introduction; Memories of the Great Depression
- 2. Entertainment and the News
- 3. Canada Joins the War
- 4. Training
- 5. Elementary Flying School
- 6. Uplands
- 7. The Troop Ship; Early Days in England
- 8. Crewing Up
- 9. The Missions
- 10. German Fighters and Flak
- 11. The Mail
- 12. Pat and Postwar Life; Photographs and Memories