Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
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British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

​A World War II Memory - June Bollman

 As the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum has a project to gather names and stories of those who took part  in the World War II years, may I add a short story.

Before the war, I took a business course in New Westminster B.C. which lead to a position of keeping records of inventory in a store, which was a learning experience.

Then World War II comes into being and the public was encouraged to help in any way they could. I applied for a position at the Canadian Pacific Repair Depot which was on an island in the Fraser River near New Westminster.

The Canadian Pacific Repair Depot was an RCAF organization. This depot took up the message to help the war effort and accept Air Force planes to be repaired. The depot hangar was close to the Fraser River so there were not runways to bring planes in for repair. The planes were brought in on a barge and unloaded on a ramp and towed to the hangar.

Many elementary training planes were repaired here. It was very handy for the PBY and other aircraft that were on patrol at the west coast at that time.

I was assistant to keep records of the inventory of aeroplalne repair parts. Records were recorded on the cards in an office. The parts were in the work shop area. New equipment coming in were recorded in the office. When parts were used – said records were forwarded to the office.

The office worked on two shifts – that is 8:00 to 4:00 and the evening shift 4:00 to 12:00 pm midnight. I worked two weeks on a shift then changed to the other shift. In this office there were the manager and his secretary. The secretary had a typewriter and not electric.

As more planes came in for repair – more staff was hired. The office was instructed to teach the new employees. Soon I was assigned to day shift which was a promotion. Again in this office there were no computers so all the information was hand printed on the file cards. All parts have numbers – for example – a wing could have four numbers while the nuts and bolts could have six or eight numbers.

The noise was most evident with the revitting, sawing and drilling from the work shop and the hangar. If the electric power was shut down – there was silence – no drills and hammes etc. Also no worrying about losing records on computers.

Frequently there would be a fire alarm and it meant everyone was to evacuate immediately. We did not know if it was practice or a true fire. Even at that time – smoking was not allowed anywhere in the building. Each area had to gather in a certain area outside to be counted. At one drill – a lady was missing causing a concern – she soon appeared in a hurry and explained that she was caught with her pants down!

After the war – the repair depot did not have as many planes to repair and so my position and many others were eliminated. I heard a few years later that the depot was closed and all buildings removed. I returned to the same store in New Westminster where I had been before the war.

In review – I had met Frank K. Bollman at a dance and we saw each other whenever possible as he was stationed in Boundary Bay. When the war was over he returned to the home farm at Moline (Manitoba) and his Father retired to live in Brandon. We were married and continued to farm on his Father’s land. We have two children – Raymond and Elaine and that is another long story. Now we live in Brandon and Frank is involved with the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum.
June Bollman

June passed away in August 2010 at the age of 87 years.