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Reassignment a mixed blessing

Heroes Remember

Reassignment a mixed blessing

Another thing about sighting these GCI's, was they were very sensitive to location and ideally they would be sent in a sort of a saucer shaped shower depression so the rim of the saucer would cut off echoes coming from too far afield. These were supposed to be controlling aircraft within 40 or 50 miles radius, you see. You didn't want to get interference from things further away. Anyway, I figured out the sights of some of these things perhaps could be improved. So one way or another we had a fair amount of success, I guess in getting some of these things improved so by the time my gear came, I was told I was going to be on the staff of air headquarters Egypt and I was going to go right across the whole command as a sort of trouble shooter on this type of unit. So I became a staff officer which was a mixed blessing because staff, I certainly enjoyed it and saw a lot more of the country than I otherwise would but they weren't too popular with the lads in the desert, units at all, well if you were staff you were looked upon with a certain amount of and quite properly a certain amount of suspicion, I think, not exactly a draft dodger but getting away from the unpleasant parts of it. It wasn't that you were immune from enemy action by any means but you had an easier life than as if you were living in the desert.

Mr. Beall describes being given the responsibility for sighting all of the GCI (Ground Control Interception) radars in North Africa. As important as his task was, he felt resentment from the ground troops because in his job he avoided the front lines.

Herbert Beall

Herbert Beall was born in 1908 in Ottawa, Ontario. He attended Lisgard Collegiate, where he commanded the 94th Cadet Battalion, and also joined the Governor-General's Footguards. He entered the Canadian Officer Training Corps at university, and received his commission in 1931. In 1932, Mr. Beall joined the Royal Canadian Signal Corps. In February, 1941 he transferred to the RCAF as a Flying Officer with the rank of Lieutenant. His service in England saw him at radar stations in the Orkney Islands and the Isle of Wight. He later went to the Middle East, where he set up and maintained portable radar systems in Egypt, and to a lesser extent Kuwait and Jordan.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
July 8, 1999
Person Interviewed:
Herbert Beall
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Squadron Leader
Radar Mechanic

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