Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
from "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)
|James E. Morris|
The last entry in the pilot's log book written later by the squadron's wing commander was, "Aircraft exploded in air."
The usual telegram was sent by the war office, expressing regret that Flying Officer James E. Morris was killed while on active service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, July 16,1943. Similar messages would have been sent to the families of my father's crew who were on the flight with him.
The messages of condolences from the King and Queen, the government of Canada and others would come later, full of words like "a grateful nation," "supreme sacrifice," "for King and country."
Although I didn't know it at the time, July 16, 1943, was destined to be the most significant turning point in my life, and I wasn't even two years old when my father's plane exploded in air and crashed over the English countryside during World War II.
|Muriel and Jim Morris|
My grandmother Hunt was in England at the time working as a war nurse and my father had visited her the weekend before he was killed. She attended his funeral and burial in Ripon Cemetery, Yorkshire, England. Grandpa Hunt was with us in Chapleau.
My father, like so many who joined Canada's armed forces during World War II was an ordinary Canadian from a small town, in his case, Chapleau, Ontario where he was born and raised, called upon to perform the exceptional. There was absolutely no doubt in their minds whatsoever that it was the right thing for them to do.
After his death, The Evening Telegram of Toronto reported that my father took to flying in his early teens and became associated with several of Canada's early bush pilots who were operating in the Chapleau area. Actually he was going down to the waterfront and getting rides and learning to fly planes, thinking that my grandmother didn't know what was going on. But she did. Mothers always know! He earned his first pilot's license at the Fort William Flying Club.
In 1940 my father enlisted in the RCAF at Moncton, New Brunswick. He became a flying instructor and was posted to No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School at Mount Hope. He was among the first instructors in the Commonwealth Air Training Plan. In 1942 he went overseas.
|Flying Officer Jim Morris in England|
My mother who likely never missed a Remembrance Day service in Chapleau, once told me that "Every day is remembrance day."
I received an email from Stephen Hayter, executive director, of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum in Brandon, Manitoba. Mr. Hayter wrote in part:
"The Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum would be honoured to welcome your father's RCAF material into our collection.
"It is your father's story that we wish to preserve for future generations. I am so glad that you discovered us...
"Your father's name is also listed in our memorial book "They Shall Grow Not Old" which also states that he was part of #432 Leaside Squadron (Saevitir Ad Lucem), and that his Wellington aircraft #JA 119 crashed one and one half miles west of Malton, Yorkshire." (http://www.airmuseum.ca/)
They shall grow not old, as we that are left have grown older. We will always remember them!
My email is email@example.com
Please feel free to write me.