I had become a good friend with one of these young men by the name of Ivan Brown. He enlisted June 6, 1940 in Winnipeg. His initial training was at Manning Pool, Brandon. He went from there to St. Thomas, Ontario for technical training as an aero engine mechanic before being pcsted to SFTS (Service Flying Training School) at McLeod, Alta.
The exit of teachers into the Military created a shortage. Many grade 12 graduates were allowed to become teachers. When a local school 4 miles from Miami was without a teacher in 1940, the school board asked me to consider the position, and I accepted. The salary was $600 annually.
I had $15/month deducted for the Department of Education to be applied to Normal School tuition if I were to be a student at a later date. I paid $15/month for room and board. I went home on weekends, so I was left with $30. My school had 18 students in grades 1 to 8.
On January 2, 1942 I entered the Hospital in Morden for nursing training. I resigned in July to prepare for my marriage. Ivan and I were married at McLeod on August 15, 1942. Our time together was brief. Ivan was posted overseas in November. Our first home, shown in the photo, was a large two-story house with five bedrooms on the second floor. Five Airforce couples shared this floor. Each room had a rangette, small table and two chairs, pull-out couch, wooden boxes for dishes etc. and a clothes closet. I can't remember the bathroom arrangement but I think we could use the one on the main floor when necessary.
We left by train for a two week embarkation leave to our homes at Roland and Miami, then to
Winnipeg where we were accompanied to the CPR Station by Ivan's sister Edna, and my sister Marguerite. Ivan left with hundreds of other military and a number of Service Police keeping order. I returned home with my sister whom I lived with until March 1945.
Within days I went to the employment office in Winnipeg. I chose a job of receptionist and bookkeeper at Peerless Laundry for $50 / month. That was heavy work, lifting bags of laundry over the counter and identifying them. After a month I returned to the Employment Office and saw the sign "Wanted: Parachute Packer". I applied and was accepted. It was at #5 AOS (Air Observers School). It was located in Winnipeg south of the present day International Airport.
The first week of September 1939, I left my home in Miami Manitoba to enroll in grade 12 at the high school in Roland. These towns were 12 miles apart so I had to stay there for the school week.
A few days after school started, Great Britain and Canada entered the war. Soon most
conversations among teachers, students and on the streets was about the war. There was
considerable interest and excitement about enlisting and one by one the younger generation joined the Forces. By the end of the war, 260 people from the Roland and Myrtle area had enlisted.
Seven employees including myself worked in this section of a hanger for $100/month. The parachutes were laid side by side on rows of shelves. They had to be opened, hung to air in a place we called the well for 3 or 4 days and then repacked. They were made of nylon, 24 panels, each one numbered and folded by consecutive numbers into a neat
Dorine and Ivan Brown's first house together
009/150 Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette - 009 of 150
A World War II Memory
My Wartime Story
by Dorine Brown
pack. The ropes too were folded in a special way and a card was removed from the canvas pack, dated, signed and replaced. Sometimes cleaning was necessary. This was done on a 30 day rotation. The airmen often asked, "If it doesn't open can I bring it back?" We worked shifts - either 8a.m. - 4 p.m. or 4 p.m. until the last flight was in. The last bus left the station in time to catch the last streetcar that went east on Portage Avenue at 1 a.m.
Since I had taken a St. John's Ambulance course with my nursing experience, I volunteered at Deer Lodge Hospital. Volunteers wore a blue smock with a Red Cross on the sleeve. We assisted with bathing, feeding, back rubs etc. By March, the war in Europe was being terminated and #5 AOS was closing. The United States was concentrating on the war in the Pacific Theatre.
Scouts (agents) came from Washington D.C. to the station to employ experienced people. I accepted a position as a filing clerk and I left Winnipeg with other girls to begin work April 1. We were in the Arlington Hotel a short distance from the White House where the British Admiralty had their offices. I worked for a Lt. Pugsley. He was in charge of British ships in the Pacific. Reports, orders for repairs etc. for British ships were received and dispatched from this office. This office closed for Roosevelt's funeral, the first week of April. The staff walked over to Pennsylvania Avenue, a distance of 2 or 3 blocks to watch the procession. The humidity in Washington was very high and I remember the Officers always asking for "a cup of tea".
In August Ivan was on his way home. I had contact with the Canadian Embassy after I received the following telegram. They informed me that 7 Americans and 1 Canadian had boarded a certain train. I was at the station to meet him, it was quite a surprise to my husband.
After a few days we travelled to New York and Niagara Falls. On August 15 when we were about to celebrate our 3rd anniversary, news came about victory in Japan. Streets became noisy with people. Business places closed their doors. The banquet we planned once again had to be postponed. We walked over the bridge to Niagara Falls N.Y. and joined in festivities with the Americans in a very noisy environment. There was lots of free food and drink.
We visited relatives at Durham, Toronto and London, Ontario. before arriving in Winnipeg September 14. Ivan received his discharge on October 16th. We remained in Winnipeg for the winter and bought a farm in Miami in the spring. We raised our 4 children on the farm. We retired to Carman in 1988 and celebrated our 58th anniversary this year August 15, 2000.
The Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum has a large number of wartime reminiscences in the archives.