Our Dads

by Ken Barnes

My father Wilfred fought in the RAF as a wireless air gunner (operated
the wireless and side gun) in the Second World War. Was damaged in the
air but managed to return home to England and crash landed twice, one
time burning his leg badly. Nfld was not a part of Canada then but a
British protectorate which is why he went to England and enlisted. He
met my mother in England and married her there, where I was born at end
of the war.

He became an Air Traffic Controller in Gander and I believe was the No 2
person in seniority to Cy Rowsell. He entered and won a Dept of
Transport competition to set up a military air traffic control system in
Ottawa, and we moved there, when I was 16 years old, after completing my
first year at Memorial U.

He was a keen salmon fisherman, built his own rods and flys. There was
never a shortage of salmon in the house. He did a lot of fishing with Cy
Rowsell who was our neighbor across the street. (For the first time I
now miss fresh wild salmon, which is virtually impossible to find. Most
of it is farmed and tastes terrible).

He was a true Newfoundlander and it was a shame he left the province. He
never achieved the same level of happiness he had in Gander. I remember
he got fined for going out into the Ottawa woods and cutting a Christmas
tree, which is our right in Newfoundland. He built the new ATC division,
but was one of several people who died of heart conditions within the
Division, presumably because of the high level pressure. He died a young
man at age 51, which was quite a shock.

His brother is still alive in Topsail, living on Barnes Road with my
Aunt Olga. I still have an extended family of cousins and nephews


webster note; Ken made a slight typo in stating he was 16 when he moved to Ottawa. I assume he meant 18.