He was posted overseas by convoy during the Bismark battle. On arrival in Uxbridge, near London, his group had visit to Windsor castle and special reception by Queen Elizabeth and daughters Elizabeth and Margaret. He
trained at Crosby-on-Eden (Carlisle) and then aboard the HMS Furious (Carrier) from Greenock to Gibraltar. Half of the 69 Hurricanes on board ( including mine) were transferred to the Ark Royal.
HMS Ark Royal - Night at sea, then fly-off in daylight (no previous experience) to Malta and then Egypt. The Ark Royal was later sunk.
Operations in Cyprus, Palestine, Cairo, Alexandria, Western Desert, (Libya, Tobruka and retreat back to Egypt). Alamein return advance.
Bill was on 213 Squadron RAF Middle East (Hurricanes). He was shot down on October 21, 1942 during the Battle of El Alamein (Rommel) and at that time he had four kills for which he had received the DFM. He doesn’t remember pulling the rip cord of his parachute and he woke up in a Italian medical post. He suffered severe injuries to his pelvis and neck muscles. He was shipped on a hospital ship to Naples, then hospitals at Piacenza and Milan. The latter was destroyed by RAF bombing and 10 of 30 POW’s killed.
He was stationed at Stalag 7-Moosburg; Stalag Luft III Sagan (North Compound) which was were the Great Escape was engineered. Then Stalag 13D - Nurnburg.
December 1944 evacuation train for handicapped (40 per car became 60 per car) to Nurnburg. Starvation diet plus no heat (winter) and infection (burst ear drums), Forced march towards Munich. No food, feet badly blistered and knees painfully seized. Picked up by Red Cross to Moosburg, a very filthy, overcrowded and impoverished camp. Released by General Patton, April 29, 1945. DC3 flight to Nancy and USA base. Deloused and reclothed - came out as GI. Train to Le Havre and flight to Bournemouth. Ship from Liverpool (Volendom such luxury) to Halifax.
He was demobbed between May-July 1945.
He returned to the Royal Bank and retired in December of 1977.
He married Norma Helson on June 30, 1945 and they have two daughters Carol and Janet with three grandchildre. March 16, 2001.
Bill was born on December 2, 1917 at Bellville, Ontario. He graduated from Bellville, Collegiate and started to work at the Royal Bank.
In July, 1940 he enlisted in the RCAF at Toronto. He did his training at #1 Manning Depot in Toronto and also his ITS in Toronto. He was posted to #12 EFTS at Goderich and then to #9 SFTS at Summerside PEI. There he was awarded his Pilot Wing in April, 1941.