Strong bonds of friendship were made

From our November 2012 issue

By Lorna (Rogers) Finstad – Armstrong, B.C.

Harry Milan Finstad served active duty from July 1941 to Feb. 11, 1946 in England, Burma, and India.

During WWII, hundreds of young women and men left their families and everything familiar to them along with hundreds from towns and cities to join forces to keep our country safe.

Harry, at age 23, was one of them. After training in Vancouver Island’s Pat Bay, he sailed to United Kingdom (England) on the ship Aquitania. Soon he was making use of his training as an airframe mechanic.

When aircraft returned from bombing missions there were checkups, servicing, and repairs to make ready for the next trip out.
Squadron 436 left Land’s End, England on Oct. 20, 1944 and flew to Karachi, India where they dropped supplies to soldiers on the ground who were pushing back the enemy in the Pacific war front.

As well as keeping the aircraft in readiness for flights out, the airframe mechanics took their turns at going out on “drop-offs”. This was often over enemy lines. They were shot at because the side of the craft opened to allow the bundles to fall out to the Canadian soldiers.

After working long hours, evenings were lonely times, especially when that solider didn’t get a letter from home. There would be a movie or game of Whist. Strong bonds of friendships were made among the airmen.

Harry and I were married Feb. 5, 1949 and we did visit back and forth with fellow airmen and their families and attended a few reunions. I keep in touch with the widow (like myself) of two of those veterans.

I’m sorry they aren’t here to read The Senior Paper and to know we say thank you to those gone in recent years and honour those lost in battle.

Harry Finstad, back row, second from the left in India, 1944.

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