Saturday, October 31, 2015

Letter 1: January 14,1941

Letter 1:   January 14, 1941   from Brandon, MB

No 2 Manning Depot
Brandon Manitoba
Jan 14/41
Dear Ellen
Well I’m in the RCAF as you will notice. I had to stay over in Regina for two days and then on the 8th I came to Brandon. I got here about half past three in the afternoon. There are sure a lot of fellows here. I’ve seen Jack Lowther and Wallace Rowan quite abit and I was out with Jack one night. There are two Barracks here the A & B barracks & the C barracks. I’ve been at the C barracks up until today when air flight was moved up to B &C. Jack & Wallace are both in B & C so I’ve been kind of separated from them. I met some boys from Weyburn, one fellow I met on the train went on to Toronto, he didn’t know you but you may have heard of him or his father, his name is Bill Montgomery his dad runs a garage down there.
I felt kind of low for a day or two on account of the vaccinations and the inoculations. I got 2 inoculations & one vaccination last Friday, but by morning I felt alright. I was out for lunch & supper on Sunday & then went to church & then to a social afterwards and then two girls who I met outside the church walked me home to the barracks, I told them I was lost & didn’t know how to get back. I was at another girls house for lunch last night with another fellow &  had a very good time.
Just about half an hour ago we were all out on a pocket parade, some fellow ost 40 dollars & they had us all in a line & then they made us empty out pockets and then they started searching our bunks but just as they got started the fellow found his wallet on the floor.
We sure hear some funny expressions here, the other day a fellow on parade had his stomach stuck away out while standing at attention & Serg hollowed heh you pull in your gut, anyone would think you were about 6 months gone. Well I guess there isn’t more to say for now so I will close.
PS I heard from dad yesterday he told me about the boys going to Weyburn for their training. Write soon
Your loving brother

Wallace Rowan was the son of Garnet Rowan and Agnes Jane Gemmell, farmers in the Tuxford District
Jack Lowther was the son of Roy T. Lowther and Laura Astleford, the owners of a General Store in Tuxford
Jack was killed in action on the 27thSeptember 1943
Roy and Laura’s only other child David was killed in action on the 3rd of March 1943

Airman's Post
No. 2 Manning Depot
Brandon, Manitoba
This is a link to the “Airman’s Post” that Fred would have read while there

Manning Depot No.2 Brandon, Manitoba
During the Second World War, the Manning Depot No. 2 was an integral component of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan. This building on Eleventh Street at Victoria Avenue in Brandon Manitoba was where new recruits from all over Western Canada, some 1,000 to 1,500 at a time, came for their introduction to military life. They attended classes in precision drills, physical fitness, swimming, sun bathing, as well as general outfitting. At the end of their two-to four-week stint here, the prospective airmen were sorted into three training classes: Pilots, Air Observers, or Air Gunners.
Manning Depot No. 2 was the first such facility in Western Canada, supplementing the Manning Depot No. 1 at Toronto (Ontario). After securing a lease for the former Brandon Winter Fair Building (also known as the Brandon Arena) from the Brandon Winter Fair and Livestock Association (BWFLA), work began to convert the livestock-holding structure into a military facility. A Winnipeg architect provided a renovation plan and, starting in May 1940, a 60-man work crew began a thorough cleaning of the building. Cattle stalls on two floors of a large adjacent structure were removed and replaced with sleeping quarters. The wooden annex building, formerly a stable, was converted to a recreation hall and sergeants’ mess, with a dining

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