Alberta World War II veteran had an exemption ticket but chose to ‘do what was right’


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Ed Moore, who turns 101 next week, ignored an exemption that would have saved him from risking his life to bomb Nazi Germany in World War II.

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“In 1941, I was working for the Luscar Coal Mining Company at the foot of the Rocky Mountains when two friends and I decided to try to enlist in the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force),” says Moore, born in Edson in 1920. .

“There was a shortage of miners and we could have been exempted from joining the military, but we wanted to do what was right for our country. “

The trio traveled to Edmonton and all qualified for crewing positions in September 1941 – and Moore began training at the Manning Depot.

“I aspired to be a pilot, but I failed trying to fly Tiger Moths due to a lack of depth perception,” says Moore. “But I applied and was accepted to an aerial observation school in Edmonton, where I graduated as a navigator in 1942.”

As a pilot officer he left for Liverpool on December 30, 1942. But there was a shortage of planes and excess crews in the UK and he found himself on navigation courses before meeting pilots, bombers, wireless machine gunners. and rear machine gunners. Most were surprised when asked to select their own crews.

“Finally, on January 27, 1944, we made the first of our three trips to Berlin with our 426th Thunderbird Squadron, then one trip each to Leipzig, Stuttgart, Schweinfurt, Nuremberg and Cologne in Germany,” Moore explains.

When Allied troops hit the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, the squadron also made two voyages to attack German frontline targets in France.

Moore recorded 26 missions, flying Wellington, Lancaster and Halifax bombers.

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“We all got to know one of us, it could be on our first and last mission,” says Moore. “We had to learn to live with anti-aircraft shells exploding near us. I remember thinking once, ‘Why were you in such a rush to get into this?’ “

He added: “References not to return were not considered to be tasteful. I remember a very high level navigator, at the end of a briefing for a difficult operation, making the unthinkable remark: “Let’s count noses and see who’s not here tomorrow?” Guess who wasn’t there to count? ‘ “

Records show that some 10,500 RCAF flight crew members died during bombing missions during World War II.

“A lot of times a crew was heading towards the target with a broken down plane when common sense would have dictated them to abandon the trip,” says Moore.

“During an operation, our crew flew over Berlin and found that the force of the wind diffused from the seat was much too weak”, explains the navigator. “It became evident when the flares went off behind us that the actual winds were much stronger. We turned around and dropped our bombs on the target about 25 minutes late.

“We were fighting against a strong wind and flying against the mainstream of the plane leaving the target area. We knew we would face high winds all the way back and we would run out of fuel. We would also be traveling alone and therefore vulnerable to combatants.

“Common sense should have dictated that the bombs were dropped and that a course be drawn for the house. However, we all agreed with our skipper pilot, who said: “We have made it this far, we are going to drop the bombs in the right place.”

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Moore was honored for his wartime service with the Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for acts of bravery, courage and dedication to duty.

As RCAF bomber crews endured gunfire, fighter attacks, extreme cold, and often aircraft damage, Moore faced yet another problem.

“I got airsick every time I got on an airplane,” he says. “One day a member of our crew painted ‘Moore’s Sick Bay’ on my Lancaster navigation table. Many years later, I met a gentleman, also a navigator, who had inherited the plane and my table.

Moore, who was released on September 28, 1945 and married nurse Marjorie Cousins ​​shortly thereafter, went on to earn a mining engineering degree and worked for the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board and then for the Federal Department. Indian Affairs West Canada.

Moore is still flying. He is an avid bingo player, wins games of Scrabble and often takes his friends for walks.

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