Raynbird, Doug

Doug Raynbird was born September 12, 1932 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  He grew up there against the backdrop of the Second World War – without his father, who went overseas in 1939 as part of the first contingent. Doug’s father would be away the whole six years, stationed in England and Italy, and Doug and his mother had to make their way on the home front, dealing with rationing and everything else the war brought on.  When Doug’s father returned their marriage fell apart; many years later Doug found out he had an overseas brother who had been fathered while Doug’s father was stationed in England.  Doug went into his teens as the Cold War began to dawn, and as he recalls he was perhaps not making the best decisions about his future, prompting his father to push him to join the Canadian army.  He went into training at Camp Borden, and later Calgary and Vernon., B.C.  He also went to Rivers, Manitoba for airborne training – and push-ups!  The Korean War was underway by this time, and while Doug remembers being aware of the war it was unclear what their role was to be in the early going.  Soon they were on their way though, enduring a 3-week crossing of the Pacific Ocean where the conditions were rough:  the ship was crowded and on the tail end of three typhoons – and they ran out of rations!  They made it safely though, arriving in Yokohama and then South Korea, where they were promptly put on a troop train and sent to the front lines.  Doug was wounded not too long after this, caught in an artillery barrage.  He was sent to a MASH and then went on to Seoul and Japan, where he was treated.  While in Japan, an old friend approached him with an offer:  both were musicians and Doug’s friend was by this time performing at an army base, and he asked Doug to join him. Doug passed the audition, and he became part of the Johnny Canuck Musical Revue, playing guitar and yodeling for the soldiers.  They did that for the remainder of their overseas tour; with his time in Korea behind him, Doug returned to Canada via CP Air, where he was demobilized.  He did keep up his music though, performing on local radio and TV as he made his way from Alberta to Ontario – he even played several songs for us as part of this interview!  And that is where Doug found his career, working in the new media of television as it made its debut in 1950s Canada.  Doug followed his career path back out west, and he married and raised his family too.