McGeach, Hugh

Hugh McGeach was born May 8, 1921 in London, Ontario.  He grew up on a farm, and later in the city of London, against the backdrop of the Great Depression.  Hugh’s father was a Great War veteran whose health had deteriorated, necessitating the move.  Lloyd graduated from a technical high school and became an automotive mechanic, a job he had held for a year when the war broke out.  He chose the RCAF, where his skills pegged him as a member of the ground crew.  He found himself part of the BCATP, and he went to St. Thomas and later Alberta.  From there Hugh was shipped overseas, first in Bournemouth and then Dyce and Aberdeen in Scotland.  Squadron 416 was flying Spitfires, and Hugh maintained the aircraft.  But wanting more action he and a few others opted to become flight engineers in Bomber Command.  Hugh ended up in a Halifax bomber crew, and during training they had a bad accident, flying into a mountain.  Hugh was badly injured and hospitalized for three months.  Now with a new crew he began flying missions, and on the third one the plane was shot down:  Hugh bailed out and after being captured he would spend the rest of the war in a POW camp.  Life there was dreary and Hugh recalls the monotonousness of it all – and the importance of Red Cross parcels.  Stalag Luft 6 was in the extreme northeast of Germany, so as the Red Army approached the men were forced to march deeper into the Reich.  By this time the Western Allies crossed the Rhine, and Hugh and a group of men were found and liberated by the Americans.  They were returned to the British and flown back to England.  The return to Canada was organized in short order, and soon Hugh was back at home, and ready to resume his life after a 5-year interruption.  Hugh McGeach was interviewed at the Sunnybrook Veterans’ Wing in September 2022.