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Looking for Volunteers

Heroes Remember

Looking for Volunteers

One day, they come looking for volunteers for motorcycle dispatch riders. I think, of our group, I was the only one that lifted my hand. I was accepted and went from there to Camp Borden, had a map course and a motorcycle course - six week course. At that time, it was considered the best motorcycle instruction course in Canada. The first time I get on a motorcycle, it was an old Indian motorcycle with a side car and the throttle stuck on it. They were governed, these bikes in the service were governed, I believe it was 80 miles an hour. So, I of course turned it up to see how fast it would go and it stuck. And, my sergeant and instructor come up alongside of me and he said, “Is this your first time on a motorcycle?” I said “Yes.” “Don’t go so fast.” I said, “I can’t do anything else.” So he said, “Keep working at it and it’ll let go.” So I did and it slowed down. That was my first experience. I think I was going the maximum, 80 or 75 but very nice really.

Mr. Downe tells the story of his first time on a motorcycle.

Russell Downe

Russell Downe was born on February 26, 1924 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He joined the army when he was just seventeen, following in the footsteps of his two brothers, Edward and Robert, who were already overseas. His training took place at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Mr. Downe worked as a motorcycle dispatch rider for most of the war where he was responsible for delivering urgent messages.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
January 1, 2000
Person Interviewed:
Russell Downe
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Dispatch Rider

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