Ross Cruikshank

Ross Cruikshank

Amica at Dundas

Royal Canadian Air Force

In 1941, Ross was an 18 year-old high school student, ready to enlist. His mother encouraged him to finish high school first. The next year at 19, he was determined to enlist. Ross chose the Air Force because “I liked the uniform, wanted to fly, and tanks and ships did nothing for me.”

Ross learned to fly “Tiger Moths” in Arnprior and soloed in two weeks. He then went to Belleville to learn the theory of flight, navigation and weather. In 1944, Ross was at the Advanced Training School in Hagersville learning to fly Ansons and Harvards. Receiving his wings and commission to Flying Officer he was assigned to Comox, British Columbia, to train to fly the “Hump” (Himalayas) in India.

While training in Hagersville, Ross was practicing single-engine landings on an old Anson when he almost forgot to lower the undercarriage. This was a major foul-up for which the CO usually kicked offenders out of pilot training. But Ross’s punishment was different: “I had to get an old airplane tire, paint my name on one side and “I forgot to lower the U/C” on the other side and push it everywhere I went on the station for two weeks. I had to push the tire, give a snappy salute to officers, find a safe place to store it in the barracks at night (my fellow students wanted to hide it when possible) and push it to meals and classroom training. Everyone knew Cruikshank! I was able to make a joke out of it and a month later I graduated as a pilot with an Officer’s Commission, coveted by all grads.”