Language selection


Going overseas

Heroes Remember

Well after I graduated or, or finished my training, I expected to stay at this depot, but instead I got transferred to Rockcliff, the airbase at Rockcliff, which is still in Ottawa, of course. Into barracks, back into the real air force life again, and I reported in there. There was no instrument section as such, because as I said, the air frame people did all the instrument work. So I was assigned to the workshops, and again, good training because I learned a bit of machining and everything that went with it. They, they just hadn't really accepted the instrument mechanic as a required trade in the air force. It was developed, you know, with the squadrons that were, were going overseas. It was an instrument section and a requirement to maintain the instruments and take them out and replace them whenever, so on. And that's when it first started to evolve - the instrument trade, was a real ground trade that required some attention. I stayed there about, I got transferred there, I think was in about April, or March. Just prior to going to it, I had a supplementary course on the Sperry auto pilot, which was an indication that I had done well on my instrument training course. They had selected me for this one week training program on the Sperry auto pilot, which was quite a feather in my cap, I think and it gave me a lot more, sort of confidence in the trade. But as I said when I got to Rockcliff, there wasn't an instrument section, there wasn't a requirement so, I just spent my time in the workshops. I got there, I think it was March. But only stayed, I was only there three, three months, quite reasonably happy, but on May the 10th, I still remember the day I was called in to the orderly room, and he said, "AC-1 Snell, you're transferred overseas." And I said, you know, the usual question is, "When?" They said, "Well, ten days time, in the meantime you're CB'd," which is confined to barracks. I had no opportunity to go home on leave. I had been home on leave right after my course in Calgary in January, but I had no opportunity to go home as they had, later had any leave. And for the next ten days it was being equipped with uniforms and kit to go overseas. And things moved very, very quickly, ten days went by. I was, went over from Rockcliff, with a unit to supplement the group of people that were supplementing the squadron that was already over there, 110 squadron had already gone over, about February they went over. But they were short of people, different trades, and there were about fifty of us in this group, that were going to join 110 squadron, which was the first squadron that went overseas.

Mr. Snell talks about going to the airbase in Rockcliff, and within three months being shipped overseas to 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
Instrument Mechanic

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: