The Biggs' Boys

By Ken Stofer

Copyright 2001 Ken Stofer, All Rights Reserved

Biography of George Dewell

Radio Direction Finder Operatoron, RAF/RCAF

    I was working at the new defence installation at Rocky Point, out of Victoria, B.C., before the war. From there I hoped to go to Patricia Bay, for more work on construction of a new airfield, which today (1995) is the Victoria International Airport.

    A friend at that time, Norman Clarke, had a brother Les who went over in 1938 to join the RAF. This led me to Captain Biggs. I was 24 years-old when I left, paying my own way to England. Six of us travelled together; John B. Latta, Victoria, G.S.Dyke, Crofton, B.C., George W. Welsh, New Westminster, B.C., George J. Munro, Kelowna, B.C., Frank C. Child, Vancouver, B.C., and Stewart A. Harrison, Parksville, B.C. We took the steamer to Seattle and the train via Chicago and Windsor, Ontario to St. John N.B. At St. John we boarded the Duchess of Atholl and sailed on January 13, 1939, to Liverpool, arriving on the 18th. A RAF Sergeant met us at Liverpool and fixed us up in an hotel then proceeded to show us the town. We ended up going on a pub crawl. Oh how I remember the wonderful Liverpool black beer at twopence per pint. We joined up almost immediately on our arrival in England. I tried for aircrew but problems with my ears disqualified me.

    I took my basic training at Cardington, Bedfordshire, and was then posted to a course at Fremington #2 Radio School. While there the war broke out - September 3, 1939. I was trained as a DF (direction finding) Operator. I was sent to open one of the new VHF Homing Stations. My first posting was to Martham, Norfolk. Then to the Heath at New Market, and then to Waterbeach near Cambridge. I was bombed, shot at and had a landmine dangle over my head. I was on the first convoy to pass through the Mediterranean, after the defeat of North Africa. We passed the invasion fleet going to Sicily. We passed through without firing a shot in anger. The next convoy lost five ships.

    I transferred to the RCAF in Bombay, India, Dec 13, 1945. I was demobbed at Jericho Beach in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    In civvy life I worked at the naval dockyard sonar branch in Esquimalt, (Victoria), B.C., until my retirement.

----- George Dewell

Copyright 2001 Ken Stofer, All Rights Reserved

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