Language selection


Arrival in England

Heroes Remember

Interviewer: ...period of time, May 10th began the invasion of France in the low countries, do you recall those events that would have happened at roughly the same period of time? Very much so. We joined 110 squadron at a place called Old Sarum, and I can tell you the details of how that transpired, too. And the squadron had been alerted, that they were due to go to France. They had arrived in February and they were due to go sometime in April, but because of the advancing of the German Army through Belgium and London and into France, they withheld it. And it, I think today how fortunate I was, that when I arrived there, it was the 28th or 29th of June, you know the full invasion, in fact it was almost Dunkirk day, that I was lucky that I hadn't joined the squadron earlier, I was lucky that there was events had taken place to stall the transfer to the continent. And I suspect, I would have been a POW for the balance of war, five years. Interviewer: So you, you arrived in Great Britain, in the, at the end of May, 1940? Mmm hmm. Interviewer: Virtually, France had been virtually overrun, the low countries had fallen, Poland had been taken the fall before, the situation was starting to look grim, were you aware of how serious the situation was? Very much so, because it was only a matter of days after we arrived there, perhaps a week, when Dunkirk took place. And I think everybody's aware of Dunkirk, the evacuation of the troops from France to England, and all the boats that were scurrying over there. We became very much aware of it, because there was a big army base near Salisbury, where we were located and the troops coming back, these guys had been shelled and bombed and strafed and God only knows what for days or weeks. Really had no use for the air force because they, they said there was no air cover. And that we were very much aware and when you heard the stories about these people coming back, and how easy the invasion had been, we became quite aware that it could happen in England. Although we were only young, I was nineteen, and you didn't think an awful lot ahead of time but it was a bit scary alright, to realize just what had happened with Dunkirk.

Mr. Snell recalls his awareness of the invasion of the low countries in France and Dunkirk when he arrived 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
Instrument Mechanic

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: