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Getting my Wings!

Heroes Remember

I went on training on a Tiger Moth which is just a small little two plane airplane for the instructor and student. I did that in Verdun, Manitoba. And then from there I went on the Twins, the Cessna Crane in Dauphin, Manitoba. That was of course heading for Bomber Command. And so I was there until I got my wings. I got my wings in Dauphin. Interviewer: And I understand that the position that you chose for yourself was pilot. Everybody did. Ya, everybody tried for it but there was a limited number of us taken just the same, you know. A lot of fellows tried for it but they ended up in some other position in air crew but I was fortunate, I got in as a pilot. We took quite a lot of training. It's amazing how much navigation type of training we got and also morse code and this kind of thing. But the flying up was most important thing I guess because we had regular flying sessions where we went up until we were sent solo on a particular airplane and then we would be checked out on it for different things afterwards including like your instrument flying that's very important because in Bomber Command we were mostly on night flying, you know. And if you couldn't fly by instrument, you were dead before you started so you had to learn that. Interviewer: And when you use the term instrument flying, can you describe for us what it was like, what type of technique that was? Well for some of it simply put a curtain up and have you fly by instrument, the instructor would put a curtain around you and you'd fly it by instrument and, you know, you had to qualify and be good enough to do it or you failed and that's one of the, it's one of the places where a lot of the fellows that were trying for pilot didn't make it.

Mr. Sellen speaks about his desire to become a pilot and the type of training received before getting his wings.

Richard Sellen

Richard Sellen was born in Oak Bank, Manitoba on September 19, 1920. His hometown has been Oak Bank for his entire life. He enlisted approximately a year and a half after the war started. He was in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 426 Squadron. His rank at the end of the war was flying officer. He returned to Oak Bank after the war and started a building construction company with his brother. They built all types of buildings throughout the province of Manitoba. His parents were both originally from England but they actually met in Winnipeg. They settled on a small acreage near Oak Bank and it is there on that very site that Mr. Sellen grew up and still lives today. He and his wife Mary have five children, 15 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. He has belonged to the Canadian Veterans Association since the war. After retirement, Mr. Sellen purchased a small plane which he enjoyed flying out of a grass strip near Oak Bank. He built and flew a home built airplane with two of his sons. Mr. Sellen holds great pride and recognition for being part of Bomber Command.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 22, 2012
Person Interviewed:
Richard Sellen
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Bomber Command
Air Force
426 Squadron
Pilot Officer

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