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Help on the Home Front

Heroes Remember

Help on the Home Front

I left the lawyer’s office and went on to work in Vickers, as an apprentice fitter, in the aircraft division. So, we were building old Stranraer Bombers at the time, which is an old flying boat with canvas wings, and they built a number of them for Coastal Command, and they ended up on the West Coast and the East Coast, you know, but they were a very slow aircraft. Interviewer: Were these factories expanding at that time? Yes, very much so actually because what actually happened at that Vickers was, at that time, not only building the Stranraers but they were also building Hamden Bombers in another shop, you see, and then what actually happened is then Vicars had a new plant built up in the north end of Montreal in the Cartierville Region, and this eventually became Canadair, which is today Bombardier, you know, so it’s expanded for sure. But then, you see, the move up to, from the east end of Montreal up to Cartierville, the plant converted over to building the American PBY bombers and then they were hiring midgets to buck rivets. In other words, they crawled down the wings and they buck rivets to, on for the riveter holding a dolly, a piece of hard metal up against so the rivets would compress. So this is what the rivet bucker was, you see. Interviewer: What were your duties during that period of time? I was working in the shop, machining parts and so on for different tools to build other parts, like in a toolmakers process or items like that. Interviewer: Did this expansion of, of industry take up the unemployment problem that was there from the Depression? Well there was about, well actually, that, that particular time, they were bringing a lot of people from out West who, who were unemployed and they brought them out to Eastern Canada to work in the manufacturing plants to help increase the productiion and a lot of them remained in Eastern Canada after the war.

Mr. Ross was only 14 years old when Canada declared war on Germany in September, 1939. As the home front war effort expanded, he was hired as an apprentice fitter in the aircraft division of Vickers, near Montreal.

Joseph William Ross

Mr. Ross was born in Montreal on February 15, 1925. His father served during the First World War and was seriously wounded at the second battle at Ypres. When Canada declared war on Germany in September, 1939, Mr. Ross was only 14 years old, working as an office boy for six dollars a week. Later, he worked as an apprentice fitter in the aircraft division of Vickers, near Montreal. Mr. Ross enlisted in the Army on his 18th birthday in 1943. After training in Quebec and Nova Scotia, he was sent as part of the reinforcement troops to England where he was assigned to ‘C’ Company of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. His overseas action included landing at Juno Beach on D-Day, and serving throughout both Normandy and Northwest Europe (Belgium and Holland). During an encounter with German forces, Mr. Ross sustained injuries from flying shrapnel.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Joseph William Ross
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
North America

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