The Biggs' Boys

By Ken Stofer

Copyright 2001 Ken Stofer, All Rights Reserved

Biography of E. A. "Ted Deloume

Fitter, 242 Squadron, RAF

   I was living in a housekeeping room on Yates street in Victoria, British Columbia, just before the war, and working as a carpenter, on house construction.

    I saw in the paper where a Capt. Seymour-Biggs was recruiting young men for the RAF. My parents encouraged me to "join up". My meeting with Biggs is now a little vague in my memory. I recall seeing him in his office and that he was very concerned I should take a trade that I would be happy with, and one that would be useful after my service was over.

    I was 23 when I left Victoria. I paid my own passage, travelling with four others, by train across Canada to Halifax and ship to England. I can only recall the name of one of the chaps, Ray Dearing from Salmon Arm. [Other Biggs' boys with Deloume were, George Perry, Neil Browne, Alex Robertson and John Barlow]. We departed Halifax on the Montclare, in March, 1939. On April 2nd, we docked at Liverpool where we were met by RAF personnel. I stayed overnight in Liverpool and the next day went to the R.A.F. Induction Centre at West Drayton. I joined up on April 3rd, 1939 at Scampton, Lincs. The five of us who left Victoria were here together. I did 10 weeks square-bashing (learning to march, rifle drill etc.), at Scampton, April 3 to June 9th, 1939.

    I was posted to Hednesford for technical training. When war was declared September 3rd, 1939, we were moved to St. Athan, Wales to complete the course. I became an A.C.1 Flight Rigger.

    My first squadron was # 149, Wellington bombers, at Mildenhall. I did daily aircraft inspections from December 9th, 1939 to March 20th, 1940. It was a terribly cold winter. Some evenings we were assigned guard duty around the aircraft parked on the perimeter of the airfield.

    My next posting was to 242 Hurricane Squadron at Church Fenton, Yorks. The pilots and groundcrews were Canadians serving in the RAF. I then went on another course #5 S. of T.T. to become a Fitter 2A. I was posted to Gourock, Scotland to work on twin engine flying boats - Catalinas.

    Then I received an overseas posting to Iraq to #56 R.S.U. where we worked on old Hawker biplanes. We also salvaged and repaired American planes that had force-landed away out on the desert because of fuel shortage.

    I had always wanted to fly. Finally one of my applications for remuster to flying duties was accepted while I was at Habanyo, Iraq. Away I go to Southern Rhodesia for pilot training. First, ground school at Bulawayo, then initial training on Tiger Moths #25 EFTS. I took advanced training on Harvards at stations near Salisbury #20 SFTS.

    On receiving my wings I was posted to CFS to train as an instructor at Station Norton. On completion of this training I went back to the U.K. via Cape Town to a holding unit at Harrogate, then on to #24 EFTS Sealand for training to become a Flight Engineer on Lancasters, completing that in August, 1945. From this time on I was on leave and doing odd office jobs until early in 1946 when I was finally repatriated to Canada. Mother, father and a brother met me at the CPR wharf when I got off the boat in Victoria, B.C. It was great to be home.

    As a civilian again I worked as a carpenter at DND Esquimalt on building maintenance. I joined the Victoria Flying Club. Later I bought some land and built my own private airfield. I owned and flew seven different aircraft until my retirement in 1980.

----- Ted Deloume

Copyright 2001 Ken Stofer, All Rights Reserved

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