William G. Campbell
The scanned pages and photos featured here are all from William Campbell's Pilot's Flying Log Book. I grew up in the same house in which Uncle Bill was raised. My grandparents lived with us right into my teenage years and large framed photos of the Karrakatta picture shown above and the colour portrait on the "Tribute" page had a prominent place on our mantle. My grandmother - Nannie (Katie Campbell) - had lovingly stowed the Pilot's Log featured here in a special drawer in the dining room buffet cabinet. I often thumbed through it, trying to decipher the entries and wondering at the snapshots that were tucked within its pages.
Much more war memorabilia was - and is - stored in a large steamer trunk in an upstairs storage room. My father, Jerry Hillman, and five of his brothers all saw action in WWII -- in the Army, Navy and Air Force. Uncles Gordon and Donald Hillman were killed on RCAF missions over Europe -- one on a 1,000 bomber raid and the other on a covert mission in the Mediterranean area. My mother, Louise, and I were dragged from coast to coast as we followed Dad -- Chief Petty Officer Gerald Hillman -- to naval bases in: St. John's, Newfoundland, Halifax, Nova Scotia and Victoria, British Columbia. He then volunteered for service in the Pacific on the HMCS Prince Robert. The ship was outfitted with the latest American radar equipment at Treasure Island, went on to Australia and arrived in Hong Kong in time to take prisoners, accept the Japanese surrender and to release the Canadian POWs from the POW camps.
With these war experiences so fresh in their minds it is little wonder that my decision to join the Royal Canadian Air Cadets at the tender age of 12 (they allowed Junior Cadets back in the '50s) met with some family opposition. At that time we wore the same uniforms as had been worn in WWII -- many brass buttons, button flies, etc. We also were treated to many WWII training films, procedures, aircraft ID slides, and a plethora of tall tales from our veteran instructors. One thing my mother and grandmother would not agree to, however, during my eight years as a cadet, was my applying for any kind of flight training. Later as a financially-strapped university student I applied for an ROTC programme -- but I was rejected due to colour blindness. This pretty well brought an end to my "military career" although my wife, Sue-On, and I have spent many years performing at military bases in Canada and even England.
TAKE ME TO THE BCATP MUSEUM
William G. Hillman
BILL and SUE-ON HILLMAN ECLECTIC STUDIO
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