VE-DAY - LE VERNE HALEY RCAFLe Verne Haley was a farm boy who had never been away from home when he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942. All that changed when he went overseas in 1944:
The last base I was stationed at before joining my crew at Dalton,Yorkshire,was St. Athan in Wales, where we trained on advanced types of planes. I was granted ten days' leave before I reported to the next station, so I decided to go to Belfast, Northern Ireland, and arrived there on 6 May 1945.
Of course, 8 May was the celebration of Victory in Europe Day. There was a gathering of thousands of people at the city hall square,so I decided to go. A Belfast native standing beside me saw the Canada flashes on my shoulder and the pilot's wings on my chest and started talking to me. He asked if I knew anyone in Belfast and when I replied in the negative he looked around and said, ''There are acouple of nice-looking girls all alone ." So he dragged me over to them, spoke to them, asked their names and my name and said," Now you are introduced and its all up to you."
I guess the girls, particularly Rita, felt sorry for me, so after we heard MR. Churchill's speech,they led around the streets of Belfast and we ended up at the church where there was a service of thanksgiving, so the evening passed quickly. The rest of the week was a holiday off work, so I met Rita on several occasions. My leave was extended, so we got to know each other well before I was required to report back to my base.
We carried on frequent, almost daily, correspondence after we separated. I carried on with training and was finally posted with my crew to a place called East Moor in Yorkshire in late July. My correspondence with Rita was getting serious and rumours of eastern postings were flying about, so I decided I had better inquire whether there might be a chance for us to marry before the year end.
My commanding officer said if we wanted to get married he would grant leave but I had to be back on base by 28 August to go to the Far East. They placed a call from the CO's office to Rita at work.
Also read Le Verne's article about his enlistment