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The Upside of Overseas Life

This was submitted by Carolle Vaudrin of Ste. Anne's Hospital. It is a story from Jane Wilkinson who tells of the upside of the war. It is fun to read.

During the latter half of the war, I was at RCAF- HQ (Royal Canadian Air Force-Head Quarters) Lincolns Inn Fields, London. It was a great place to be once the Buzz Bombs and V-2 were laid to rest, as London was the mecca for most of Canadians on leave, as well as the rest of the universe. The Hammersmith "Palais de dance" Overseas Club and Stagedoor Canteen, on Piccadilly, were some of the more popular spots for the young at heart. Then, of course, there were the Theatre and Stage shows which were many and varied. I must mention that I had S.R.O. (Standing Room Only) to see "The Navy Show" at the Palladium. If you happened to meet someone interesting on the weekend, the first thing on Monday morning, you got in touch with a friend working at RCAF Record Office based in the empty warehouse of Harrods in Knights bridge and learned what his marital status happened to be. Of course VE (Victory in Europe) Day celebrations were most memorable with the King and all the Royals plus Churchill waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Also unforgettable was the Revue of the W.D. (Women Division) by the Queen and Princess Elizabeth on the grounds behind Buckingham Palace and the V.E.Thanksgiving service at St. Paul's Cathedral with all the Royals and "Big Wigs" in attendance. Then of course HQ had parades of all kinds: church, street name changes (Maple Leaf, Walk in Holbern), etc. The Air Force was really on display to the war-weary Londoners.

"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."

(Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities)

My War Effort

Having turned twenty-one years of age and being a naive, patriotic idealist, I walked away from my nursing training course and joined the Air Force at 90 cents a day. It was the ultimate war effort I could do for my country.

Jane Wilkinson, (Ex RCA-WD)
St-Ann's Veterans DVA Hospital
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