At that post Bob Carswell has added a comment and some photos; I found his comment and photos of much interest. For that reason I’ve devoted the current post to his text and accompanying photos.
A day after posting the current item, I have added the captions which Bob has sent to accompany the photos. I did not have the energy to look after this detail right away. Instead, I went for a walk in the neighbourhood where I live win Stratford (keeping a two-metre distance from other people as is my standard practice during the COVID-19 pandemic) after which I had a rest.
The Ops Building, September 1940 RAF Biggin Hill direct bomb hit. Image courtesy of Bob Carswell
Bob Carswell writes (March 25, 2020):
I came across this at 4 a.m and thought I would add a bit to it. I probably rode on the Number 17 Streetcar for the first time around 1946 at the age of 1-1/2 years old when we went downtown to Delormier Stadium to watch a baseball game.
It probably happened earlier but I don’t remember back that far. We sat on the wood laid into the cement seats painted blue and I saw Jackie Robinson come out and play baseball even though at my age then I did not know the rules of the game. It had a bat and a ball and men chased the ball that a man hit. Then a bunch of them ran in different directions.
Flying Officer John McKinley Carswell, pilot RAF, engaged to WAAF Assist. Section Officer and station cypher officer, Patricia Leonard. They were married in August 1942. The RCAF photo, taken at RAF Wigtown in Scotland in early 1942 was shot for later release with the couple’s wedding announcement in the Westmount and Montreal newspapers in Canada. They were married for 63 years before her death in 2005. Image courtesy of Bob Carswell
That is all I remember except for the one black face in a line up of whites faces, all in white suits and my first hot dog. I was able to identify my first memory because it was the summer of 1946 and by 1947 Jackie Robinson was playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. It took me many decades to realize that I am totally a visual learner as other ways of learning do not work well for me with my learning disabilities.
As difficult as it was I loved to learn and kept going back to school until 1996, completing 4 university degrees in the process from three universities in two cities in different provinces. Still, my learning disabilities bother me every day, one way or another, mostly through typing mistakes. Thank heavens for Grammarly in recent years.
If I can find them and hopefully they were saved to my Yahoo photos from attachments. I will forward some related photos for Jaan Pill to add to this post. [Note from Jaan: I’ve now added four photos that Bob sent as attached files; I added the captions a while later.]
Garland Station in Montreal. Image courtesy of Bob Carswell
Reed Street in Cartierville and a new six-plex was my third home in Canada as my first was in Harrogate where I was born, my second was in the village of Pendleton where my father finished his 6 years of war service as the Station Adjutant and senior officer of the No. 10 EFTS (Early Flying Training School).
No. 17 streetcar to Cartierville P.Q. Image courtesy of Bob Carswell
Both my parents survived the war, my father among other jobs, served as a co-pilot of Lancaster bomber over Poland and Germany and my mother as an early plotter who survived a direct bomb hit on the Ops Building at RAF Biggin Hill that was virtually destroyed during the first year of the war when fighter stations were the first target of the Luftwaffe. That was 80 years ago now. RAF Biggin Hill was never put out of action even after something like 25 to 50 bombings.
The photo of the 17 streetcar is from the Montreal Memories Facebook Group. If anybody has additional details, regarding the source, let me know. The streetcar is discussed at an earlier post, which also features this photo.
Fortunately, my mother suffered through PTSD early in the war whereas it only hit my father in 1947. My parents were married in 1942 and by November my mother was too pregnant to get into her uniform for much longer so resigned her commission to join her husband who had been sent to Harrogate into a new job. By then she had been senior WAAF officer at RAF Wigtown where she met my father in 1941 the day of her arrival after a year of the worst bombing just 8 miles from Croydon, which is south of London.
Boat on which my father and grandfather and other refugees made it across the Baltic Sea in September 1944 during the Second World War. Other family members travelled across the Baltic on a larger vessel. Photo is from a previous post entitled: My family fled as refugees from Estonia in 1944.
Both RAF Wigtown and Harrogate where I was born were safe towns during WWII and not targets suitable for the early Luftwaffe bombers so after a year in the war zones people were moved to these locations and others like them in the northern UK where they could recover and do their work peacefully before being recycled for another year in the battle zones.
Each station had a total contingent of 250 WAAF which my mother was commanding by age 22 as a Section Officer (equal in rank to a Lieutenant), having arrived there in 1941 as the station cypher officer. If you enter the name Pat Leonard in the Google search engine you will find lots of photos and details of her war service there which last two years and 7 months.
Garland Station (comment from Jaan)
The photo of Bob at the top of the page reminds me of the many posts I’ve written in years past about Mimico and southern Etobicoke.
When I was about 7 or 8 I used to travel from there to Cartierville and back regularly to visit an Estonian church which also was a community centre for Estonians. I vividly remember the streetcar the route back and forth.
I ended up living in Montreal after our family arrived in Canada from Sweden in 1951. I was born in Sweden in 1946 after my parents (who were married in 1942) and several other members of our extended family crossed the Baltic Sea from Estonia to Sweden in 1944.