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Enlisting with the Royal Air Force

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Enlisting with the Royal Air Force

And I grew up on Leslie Street, up on the west end, and we had had a couple of war Veterans who had come back from that. And then my uncle Charlie, he was at Gallipoli with the regiment and then on the Western Front. He didn't want me to join the army because in the First World War they had it pretty rough. We had it bad enough but they had it ten times worse. <P> Interviewer: So in fact, knowing all this, you still decided that you were going to join the army. <P> Getting bored. My number was number 41. I joined the first morning of the first day. Interviewer: What was the reaction of your father when he found out that you had enlisted. <P> I was accepted into the Royal Air Force in 1937 but I was only 17 and my father wouldn't let me go. Then I attempted to get into the Royal Navy when the HMS Barrack (sp) was in here recruiting and I still was underage. Now 21 was the age of maturity in those days and I was stopped. So when the proclamation came out for volunteers for the army I was turned 21. So I just went on, left the store, walked down and enlisted. <P> Interviewer: And what was the reaction of your father? <P> Well the reaction was this, that my step mother was listening to the radio and they gave out the list of the names that had joined that morning and dad came up to me where I worked in the wholesale and he said, "What's this I hear?" I said, "I don't know, what did you hear?" He said, "I hear you joined the army." "Oh", I said "sure I went down and enlisted. You can't stop me now." <P> <P>

Mr. Baggs describes where he grew up and about enlisting with the Forces and his father's reaction.

Eric Thomson Baggs

Eric Thomson Baggs was born in St. John's, Newfoundland on March 3rd, 1918. He grew up in a fishing family and worked with his father at Royal Stores in St. John's filling fixtures and looking after wholesales. He joined the boy scouts when he was twelve. Mr. Baggs was accepted into the Royal Air Force in 1937 at seventeen but his father wouldn't let him go. He then tried for the Royal Navy but was refused because he was too young. When he was twenty-one he enlisted in the Army's Heavy Artillery Branch. He was trained in St. John's and then escorted to Liverpool in 1940. At first, Mr. Baggs was primarily on costal defense. Later his battalion became the 166th Field Artillery which became known as the best artillery regiment in all of the Allied Forces. When Mr. Baggs returned home to Newfoundland, he went on with life as usual, continuing work at his fathers store.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Eric Thomson Baggs
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
166 Field Artillery Regiment
Heavy Artillery, Field Artillery

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