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First Impressions

Heroes Remember

Landed at Liverpool, and went from Liverpool to London, and from London to Salisbury, to a place called Old Sarum, which was a permanent RAF base. We didn't, you asked me my impressions, we didn't get there until, oh it was fairly late at night, eleven o'clock or midnight. It was in the blackout of course, things were pitch black, we rushed into the mess hall, we hadn't eaten. We were given cocoa that was watered down, I don't know how many times, bread, white margarine, that you could hardly cut it was so hard and jam, it was just a little meal. And so that was a bit of a shocker. But then they said, "Okay, everybody out to the barracks." Went to the barracks, and were handed a sack-looking thing, it was really a mattress cover. And said, "There's straw there, you stuff your own mattress." We literally made our own mattresses out of the straw. The beds were some that were used in the penitentiaries, there were slat springs, you know wide slat steel. So there we were with a stuffed straw mattress, that on the . . . and I thought, "Welcome to the real world of, of war." But it was a, it was a good experience, because it made you realize, that even with that, we were lucky to be where we were, in England, and on that particular base.

Mr. Snell talks about his first impressions of his RAF base in England.

John “Jock” Snell

John Snell was born in Calgary, in April 1920. He was the middle child of three, having an older sister and a younger brother. Mr. Snell's family lived through the depression where they survived on $85.00 a month, which had to support their family of five. After struggling as a farmer Snell's father took a job as a milkman. Mr. Snell remembers helping his father on the milk route on Saturday's so his father could join his friends in a game of cricket. Mr. Snell dropped out of school only months before finishing and pursued a career as a radio repair technician, which little to his knowledge would pave the way for his career as an instrument mechanic in the air force. He quickly rose through the ranks of the air force and at the age of twenty he became a commanding officer in charge of over thirty five men. Mr. Snell retired from the air force in December 1969, with just over 30 years of service.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John “Jock” Snell
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Battle of Britain
Air Force
110 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force
Flight Sergeant
Instrument Mechanic

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