Walter Duncan

Walter Duncan

Amica at Swan Lake

Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserves

Joining the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserves (RCNVR), Walter was a Stoker 1st Class for one year. Although he was recommended promotion to Leading Stoker, he could not take the position as he was under age (only 17 years old at the time).

While a Stoker, Walter was responsible for operating the boilers and other boiler room and engine room equipment. He completed his training in Digby, Nova Scotia.

Joining the Fleet Air Arm (a new branch of the Navy) as an Aircraft Engine Mechanic 1st Class, Walter trained in England and was deployed to Scotland and Northern Ireland. His job involved testing and maintaining aircraft engines, auxiliary and ancillary equipment, and propeller and landing gear. He also had to know how to defend the airbase from enemy attack.

While in Scotland at a Naval Airbase, Walter received a letter from the Department of National Defense asking him to report to a recruiting station at a base in Toronto. He sent a letter back stating that he wanted to assure them that he would be more than happy to meet his military obligations, however he had a couple of problems: “Number one, I am in Scotland and I have no way of getting back to Canada; and number two, I joined the Navy thinking it was part of our military but apparently I was wrong. Please advise how I should proceed.

“Seventy plus years later and I still haven’t received a reply.”