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Letters From Youth

Heroes Remember

Interviewer: Remembrance Day, November 11th every year. What does that day mean for you? Well, at, at, at first, the first few years, it didn’t mean too much to me, I didn’t want to be reminded of anything. I’d never gone down to the cenotaph. I never bothered with the Legions. Way back then, the Legions were, “Join the Legion and get beer on a Sunday”. Well, that was the farthest thing from my mind and I just didn’t want to get into that. But then, the past few years, even before I came in here, you start reading stories and watching other things on the one-eyed monster besides these idiotic shows. If you watch, like, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel and you start appreciating stuff like that and it makes you think. So, then the last two Remembrance Days, the second last, one we went to a school, down near Tillsonburg - Grade 7 and Grade 8's, and there was two of us in a room with a bunch of kids. And they were firing questions at us. I had my books. Well, at first it was kind of timid and then, I was surprised, they really got into it and it was beautiful the way these kids were asking questions and coming out and the last Remembrance Day we went to a place over here in London West. They had a deal set up with some school kids and the same thing, you know, asking questions, and kids getting involved, it was kind of nice. In fact, I’ve got three or four of their letters that they sent. I’ve kept them because you read them and say, “Hey, this kid is, what, 12 yrs old and writing stuff like this?" It makes you feel good.

Mr. Abdallah talks about how his feelings towards Remembrance Day have changed since the end of the war and how letters from students made him feel good.

Wilf Abdallah

Mr. Abdallah was born in London, Ontario, in 1923. His father immigrated from Lebanon to the United States at the age of 12 and eventually ended up in London, Ontario, where he was a candy maker and owned a few stores in the area. In 1936 the family moved to Petrolia and then on to Sarnia. Mr Abdallah attended high school in Sarnia before moving back to London in 1939-40. After lying about his age Mr. Abdallah joined the Royal Canadian Air Force when he was seventeen. He went to Toronto for three weeks training at Manning Depot before going to Paulson, Manitoba, to complete his training. In March of 1944 he sailed on the Louis Pasteur to Bournemouth, England, where he was stationed with 129 Airfield. Mr. Abdallah worked with the tactical air force, building airfields and then joined the air force’s return salvage unit. He moved through France, Belgium and Holland recovering aircraft to be repaired or stripped for parts. When Mr. Abdallah returned to Canada after the war he went back to live the rest of his life in London, Ontario.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Wilf Abdallah
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
North America
Air Force
129 Airfield Tactical Air Force
Leading Aircraftman

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