Ralph Goldman was born in Iwaniska, Poland on July 25, 1921. He came to Canada as an infant, early in the 1920s, and he grew up in downtown Toronto against the backdrop of the Great Depression. The economic situation forced him to leave school when he was only 14, and he went to work to help support his family. His recollections of that time are vivid, from the Christopher House welcome centre and summer camp to 4AM deliveries with his father to life in the hardware store, where he met many of the men and women who would be important later in life. With the coming of the war, Ralph joined up alongside so many other young men in Canada; coming from a Polish Jewish family he was more motivated than most. Ralph chose to go into the RCAF, and he began his training and became a ground crew mechanic serving in Bomber Command. Ralph went overseas early in the war, and spent four years in England, working to keep the planes and crews of Squadron 415 in the air. He performed many other tasks too, from guard duty to maintaining the beaches of Thorny Island; he also survived a Luftwaffe attack on the base. Over time, Ralph worked on the engines of the big planes and took several courses to improve his expertise on the way. He also was able to see a bit of England, venturing into the dance halls and pubs of London and Edinburgh. At war’s end he returned to Canada, going back to school and marrying and starting his life in the new rhythms of postwar Toronto. Ralph Goldman was interviewed by Scott Masters at his home in Toronto in May 2022.
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