War Was In The Air

Heroes Remember

Interviewer: So I suppose you were quite aware of what was going on in Europe? I was very aware, especially in that year. That year I went, that was 1939 and we had a storm [inaudible]. That year I was in Toronto at the Ontario College of Education. I, you could feel war in the air. You knew it was coming. It was, it was palpable. You could almost feel it. What was your reaction when you heard Canada was at war? Well, I thought likely I’d be going. I didn’t really think. I guess I didn’t think too much about it. When you’re teaching your first year and I had a girlfriend that I was engaged to and I had lots of exciting things to do. So, I guess I didn’t worry too much about the war until around the spring. And you remember in the spring, Germans rolled through France and drove the French back, and drove the English into the Channel, and they were evacuating Dunkirk, and it looked pretty bad for us. We were beaten pretty badly. At that time, I got a letter suggesting that they were looking for navigation instructors. And being a teacher and a mathematician, well, I was a prime candidate. So I applied, up in London, and found myself in September the 1st, 1940, down here in Trenton, on the #5 air navigation instructor’s course. And I didn’t know one thing about the military. But anyway, I got a direct commission and I was a direct entry. I didn’t have to do like the other boys and pound the pavement. I was an officer right away. But I didn’t know much about it, frankly. What was the reaction of your parents? Well, I think they were a little bit proud of me. They didn’t, we didn’t have any weeping and tearing and all that stuff you see on the television. None of that dramatic... I think they thought, maybe I was doing the right thing, and it was a good thing.

Mr. Campbell had a direct commission in to the Royal Air Force as a navigational instructor. He explains that his parents were quite proud.

David Robert Campbell

David Robert Campbell was born on May 16, 1916. Mr. Campbell grew up on the family farm with his brother and sister in Elgin County, Ontario. He attended a one-room schoolhouse, then went to Western University on a scholarship, studying math and physics, later becoming a high school math teacher. Mr. Campbell joined the Royal Air Force as a navigational instructor in 1940. He taught navigation to many students and flew numerous operational missions as a navigator. Though he was never wounded, Mr. Campbell saw many of his colleagues fall. After the war Mr. Campbell returned to teaching math.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
David Robert Campbell
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
356 Squadron
Navigation Instructor

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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