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Parents React To Overseas Posting

Heroes Remember

Parents React To Overseas Posting

My parents were rather fatalistic about it. They knew that there was a danger but I don’t think they realized or they realized even less than I did, the intensity of the danger, especially if you ended up in Bomber Command at that time. Of course I didn’t know at that time that I would be in Bomber Command. That was a decision that was made in England. You see, when I was posted to Bournemouth, which is where you went first, before they decided what to do with you, I was given a test, an eye test, a night vision test it was called, and people who had a high night vision test were posted to night fighters. And people who were intermediate night vision test were posted to Bomber Command. And people who had a poor night vision were posted to Coastal Command, which flew in the daytime mostly. And, so having intermediate, sort of medium night vision was almost a fatal characteristic. It meant you were going to Bomber Command. Interviewer: So at that point in the war that meant that you were going to be taking hazardous duty trips into enemy held territory at night? Yes, it was very hazardous but it was the only way that the Allies had of doing any damage whatsoever to the enemy and it was therefore essential that it be done.

Basic training and a period as a pilot instructor in Canada behind him, Mr. MacLean recalls the reaction of his parents when he told them he had been posted overseas.

John Angus MacLean

Mr. MacLean’s father was a farmer in eastern Prince Edward Island. His grandfather came to Canada from Scotland in 1832. Mr. MacLean had three brothers and four sisters. Two of his brothers died, one at the age of fiveand the other at the age of about one year. For the first two years of his higher education, Mr. MacLean attended Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. He went on to the University of British Columbia for his third year of study on a one-year scholarship, majoring in chemistry. In 1938, he returned to Mount Allison University to complete his studies and graduated in 1939. Following graduation, he answered a newspaper advertisement placed by the Royal Air Force for a short-term commission with the RAF. He was chosen as one of two successful Canadian candidates. But, before he could leave for England, the Second World War had started and he was offered a commission in the Royal Canadian Air Force, which he accepted. Mr. MacLean’s bomber was brought down over Germany and he and his crew were forced to bail out. Mr. MacLean landed just inside occupied Holland and was moved along the Comet Line through Holland, Belgium and France to freedom in Spain. He’s an excellent story-teller with emphasis on detail. Mr. MacLean also had an outstanding post-war career as a politician. He served for 10 terms as a Member of Parliament and a term as Premier of his home province of Prince Edward Island.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Angus MacLean
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Bomber Command

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