The following excerpt comes from a larger piece,
"From Air Training to the Defence of Britain: One Pilot’s
View From Tiger Moths to Mosquitos." It was originally published
in a compilation of memoirs entitled "For King and Country:
Alberta in the Second World War," edited by Ken Tingley.
The Reynolds family of Wetaskiwin has always been interested
in aviation. My father, Edward A. (Ted) Reynolds, was a
pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War.
My older brother, Byron E. (Bud) Reynolds, joined the Royal
Canadian Air Force in 1940, and completed a Tour of Operations
as a flight engineer on Catalina Flying boats. My younger
brother, Allan B. (Bert) Reynolds, joined the Royal
Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1943,
and served overseas as an air-frame mechanic on Dakotas
(C-47s) with 437 Squadron.
When I was 16 years old, I joined the Edmonton Fusiliers
and trained with E Company at Wetaskiwin during periods
that did not conflict with school hours. The two weeks'
training at Sarcee Camp in Calgary during the summer months
was a great experience, with sleeping in tents and target
practice with Ross rifles.
In 1941 I was hired as a truck driver for MacGregor Telephone
& Power Construction Co. of Edmonton, during the time
they were installing power lines at the RCAF stations at
High River, Claresholm, De Winton, and other locations.
The crews slept in tents and my job was driving and looking
after MacGregor's 1928 Ford one-ton truck.
At this time, a local fellow, Dallas Schmidt, home on leave
from the RCAF, stopped at my father's garage. I was impressed
to see him in his officer's uniform. That dapper uniform
and his enviable war record probably increased my desire
to join up. Dallas Schmidt received two Distinguished Flying
Crosses and was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant
while flying Beaufighters during the Defence of Malta.
I was in the process of finishing my grade 12 education
when, early in 1942, an RCAF recruiting group came to Wetaskiwin
and set up a desk in the Driard Hotel. Curiosity and my
desire to learn how to fly prompted me to visit the recruiting
officer. I was told that I could enlist in the "Pilots
and Observers" category, and if I passed the required
tests I would be selected for training as a Pilot or Observer.
The recruiting officer was quite persuasive and before I
left the hotel I had enlisted.
On 15 April 1942, I was called to Edmonton to start training
at RCAF No. 3 Manning Depot. I was assigned living quarters in a barracks
which housed about 50 airmen, and we slept in two-tier
bunks. Except for a few technicians, we all started with
the rank of AC2 (Aircraftsman Second Class). We were issued
uniforms, mess kits, sewing kits called "housewives,"
brass button polishers, shoe shiners and other gear. We
received medical and dental checkups, inoculations, physical
training, marching drill and lessons in airmanship. Each
airman made his own bed, polished his buttons, badges and
shoes and the entire group received periodic inspections.
Everything had to be kept neat and clean, strict discipline
was enforced and every man did his stint on guard duty.
a group of about 40 Australian airmen arrived at the
Manning Depot they decided to take in some Edmonton city
night life, even though they did not have permission to
leave the base. They elected to leave the base when I was
on guard duty, and when I was near the farthest end of my
beat they made a hole in the fence big enough for a man
to crawl through. When I turned around at the end of my
beat, I saw a long lineup of men in their dark-blue Australian
uniforms, in single file, crawling hurriedly through the
hole in the fence. I was carrying a .303 Enfield rifle with
fixed bayonet, but no ammunition was allowed for anyone
on guard duty. Being quite confident that I would not be
able to stop these Australians, I began running towards
them, mostly running on the spot, waving my rifle and shouting
"Halt in the name of the King." They did not pay
any attention to me and, when I arrived at the hole in the
fence, the last Australian was a few feet too far away for
me to reach him with the bayonet. Someone else was on guard
duty when the Australians returned (probably during the
early hours the next morning). I heard no more about it
so I presumed they got back without incident.
Stan Reynolds went on to train in Saskatoon and St. Albert, Saskatchewan,
and was then posted overseas. He served with Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) 410 Squadron,
the flying Mosquitos.