VE Day

Heroes Remember

VE Day

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I recall a big parade that we had at around, oh, I guess around 11 o'clock in the morning, we formed up and I have pictures of that too. In fact, I have one picture that I got all the officers to sign the front and the fellows that I knew, the fellows and gals that I knew in the orderly room, signed the back. It's, it's a real piece of history, as far as I'm concerned. But I remember the big parade, and then in the afternoon, I, together with two or three more of my cronies, left and went to London for the evening celebration. And of course, that evening, the lights went on in London for the first time in six years, and I'll tell you it was a party. There was dancing in the streets, the cha-cha, and of course, there was lots of, lots of drinking. Again, I'm not, I'm not trying to say that my halo was so tight but I, I, I didn't do too much drinking when I was overseas. I was one of the fortunate ones, I guess. And maybe the influence of my parents had a great deal to do with it. I'm sure it did. But that particular day I remember, and I've said this in Remembrance Day sermons too, or in celebrations of VE Day and VJ Day, there was great joy and yet on the fringe of the crowds, you could see people who were not so joyful, and they were the people, of course, who had lost loved ones or possessions because of the war. And while they were taking part in the festivities, the degree of mirth and boisterousness was not quite as high toned as the, as those of us who had not really lost anything, well, apart from maybe a couple friends. And in the, again in the frenzy of the moment of celebration, a lot of this was placed on the back burner and you just enjoyed. I can see fellows now, atop lamp posts, hanging on for dear life, and singing and music, of course. It was quite a celebration. And for me, it was just one more step towards home- coming and that was a, that was playing a big part in my life at that time because I realized it was getting that much closer.

Mr. Cole describes the events for VE Day including going to London to celebrate.

Raymond Boyd Cole

Raymond Boyd Cole was born in Elliston on July 14, 1924. His father worked in the United States and then at a papermill in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, when Raymond Cole was one month old. Mr. Cole grew up in Newfoundland.

In 1941, Mr. Cole finished grade 11 and was 17 years old in July of that year. He wanted to be a fighter pilot so in 1942 he signed up for the air force by altering his birth certificate. He received his wings on November 12, 1943. He found out later that he was not to become a pilot, but he did become an air gunner.

Mr. Cole spent three weeks at #1 Air Gunners Ground Training School (AGGTS). He then spent six weeks at #9 Bombing and Gunnery School (BGS). Following #9 BGS he went overseas. Further training includes #30 Operation Training Unit (OTU) and then 1667 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU) where he made the conversion from twin engine aircraft to heavier, four engine aircraft with seven crew members.

Mr. Cole flew as an air gunner in over twenty operations with as much as one thousand aircraft in some. He was involved in the Normandy Campaign and many of the missions were heavy concentration bombings of the Ruhr Valley, which was a heavy industrial area.

Mr. Cole completed his flying tour (thirty operations) and went on to do three more operations afterwards. One to help his crew finish up their tour and then volunteered for another two. He worked as an orderly and as a truck driver for a while before returning to Grand Falls, after three and a half years overseas. Afterwards, he became a minister.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Raymond Boyd Cole
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
166th Airborne
Air Gunner

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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