CALL TO DUTY THE DAILY COURIER, TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 2012
Air warfare T
By RON SEYMOUR The Daily Courier
he Mosquito fighters were fast and highly maneuverable, while the Boston bombers were slower but sturdier.
Dick Sanderson has had a lot of opportunity to pass judgment on the relative merits of various aircraft. Throughout the Second World War, he flew 18 different types of planes on missions over Europe. “We called the Mosquitos the ‘Wooden Wonders’ be- cause they were basically just glued together,” re- calls Sanderson, an 89-year-old Kelowna resident. “It doesn’t sound like much, but they were excellent in terms of their speed and reliability.” “For a pilot, the Bostons had great visibility,” Sanderson says. “And since it was a metal aircraft, it could take a lot of hits without giving you too much trouble.”
Sanderson joined up near the outset of the war, and soon proved himself adept at many different sets of cockpit controls. While each of his dozens of missions were different, he says he tried to approach each one the same way.
“I tried not to let my emotions get the better of me,” he says. “My main thought was, ‘Do your job and get yourself and your crew back down safely.’” One of his closest brushes with mortality was when several searchlights fixed on his plane. “It was blinding,” he recalls. “I turned us over on our back, did a steep dive, and managed to get out of the searchlights. We didn’t have much room to work with, because we would have been flying at less than 1,500 feet.”
On D-Day, Sanderson’s Mosquito crew provided cover from the air for parachutists landing on the Normandy Coast. “We basically harassed the Germans, gave them something else to think about,” he says.
By the fall of ’44, as the Allies established air supe- riority over much of Europe and the need to retain pilots with long service records diminished, Sanderson was transferred back to Canada. “I wouldn’t have minded staying longer,” he said. “But by that time, a lot of my friends had been shot down or taken prisoner, so I wasn’t particularly up- set my time to go home had come.”
Sanderson left the air force at the end of the war, and had a career in sales and management before re- tiring to Kelowna in the late 1980s.
Shot in the line of
By RON SEYMOUR The Daily Courier
rederick Price talks with surpris- ing good humour about the pain of being wounded three times during combat in the Second World War. “I guess I was a pretty big target for them,” Price, a 90-year-old Kelowna man said with a laugh as he recalled the multi- ple injuries he sustained as an infantry- man.
Price was hit in the shin by shrapnel from a grenade during an August 1944 battle that killed 20 of 100 Allied soldiers. That led to 10 days in hospital before being sent back into the fray.
A few weeks later, on a road outside Paris, Price again took shrapnel, this time in a blast that injured his eyes, face, and head. “It knocked me ‘a’ over ‘tk,’” he recalled.
While he remembers the incident, he has no recollection of being in hospital for the subsequent three weeks, except for a rather unceremonious end to his convales- cence.
“They needed the bed space and we were pretty short of men, so a lot of us injured fellows were booted out of the hospital and sent back into action,” Price said. His third wounding was in Holland a few
Items Fred Price kept with him during the Second World War included a Bible, right, he kept in his left chest jacket over his heart. Price’s dog tags, left, are pictured on top of his wedding picture showing his wife, Stella in 1944.
months later, when he was shot in his right arm. That resulted in his being shipped back to England for hospitaliza- tion.
On military bases, he and other wounded soldiers were kept well apart from the troops that were newly-arrived from Canada, likely to prevent them from get- ting a first-hand, disquieting look at their own possible fates.
Given the number of times he was wounded, Price credits his against-the- odds survival in part to the fact he always carried a photograph of his wife Stella in a tiny bible he kept close to his heart. His combat actions on the battlefields of Europe were the dramatic highlights of a wartime record that also included a few odd episodes, such as using rifles to shoot at submarines off the coast of Cape Breton
and being told to guard a CBC building in St. John against possible enemy attack. Mostly, though, he recalls the fierce at- tachment he and other Canadian soldiers developed toward each other during the uncertainties, terrors, and exhilarations of fighting on the front lines.
“The comradeship, that bond that devel- ops, it’s stronger than almost anything you can imagine,” says Price, who went on to a long career in the sale of construction materials after the war. “People really would be willing to die if it would save somebody else.”
GARY NYLANDER PHOTOS/The Daily Courier
War vet shot once and hit twice with shrapnel
A page from a flying log of F/Lt. Dick (Sandy) Sanderson during the Second World War is pic- tured, above, along with a photo of him beside an A-20 Boston aircraft. Sanderson, left, flew dozens of missions as a pilot during the Second World War.
Fred Price and his wife, Stella pose in their Kelowna apartment. Fred, who fought in the Second World War, holds his dog tags.
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