Language selection

Reaction to the War Ending

Heroes Remember

Reaction to the War Ending

It’s a difficult thing to explain because it had become a way of life for most of us. Something, a routine that we got up every morning to take off in an armed air plane to shoot at somebody. And you flew in all sorts of hazards. You didn’t turn around because the weather was bad or the flak was heavy. You just did it and there were people getting, you know, shot down and you just went on. And now to be told that nobody’s going to shoot at you anymore and you don’t have to shoot at anyone, it took a little while to get used to this. It was a nice feeling, of course. You were glad that war was over and the destruction was over. But you’d been trained to do something.

Mr. Edwards remembers being happy that the war was over, yet at the same time feeling strange that he would no longer be doing what he had been trained to do.

James Francis Edwards

Mr. Edwards was born on a farm near Lockwood, Saskatchewan on June 5th 1921. His father, a First World War Veteran, kept horses until the depression forced him to move the family to Battleford where he became an insurance salesman. His mother had been a nurse during the First World War. In June 1940, Mr. Edwards enlisted in the Air Force. He was sent to the Brandon, Manitoba to do his Initial Training, then to Edmonton, Alberta for Flying School. After completing Flying School, Mr. Edwards was sent to overseas. He was assigned to 55 Operational Training Unit in Osworth, England where he flew Hurricanes. From there he was posted to Africa to take part in the Desert Campaign. Among many battles and operations, he took part in the El Alamein Battle (Egypt) and the Tunisian Campaign. In Egypt, he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant. After a period in Cairo running a gunnery school, he was called back to combat in Italy. There he fought in the Battle of Ortona and Anzio and he was given his own squadron, the RAF 274. He was shot down on his first flight as squadron commander. Surviving, he and his crew were sent back to England to take part in D-Day. He would also fight in Holland and Germany. In total, Mr. Edwards served two tours of duty, flying over 360 missions. He had more than 19 confirmed kills. After the war was over he returned to Canada and continued service with the air force retiring as a wing commander.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
James Francis Edwards
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Wing Commander

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: