Snider, Charlie

Charlie Snider was born August 26, 1919, in Woodbridge, Ontario.   He was one of nine siblings, growing up on a farm amidst the realities of the Great Depression. Charlie remembers working very hard, doing all sorts of chores on the farm, and going to school too. The family had food in the dark days of the depression, but very little money.  With so many brothers and sisters, Charlie always had playmates, and he remembers well the music they made together in their family band. When the war came, Charlie decided to join up, and he chose the air force. Given his technical background, he was selected for ground crew, and he began his training in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Charlie trained at St. Thomas, and then was sent to Gander, Newfoundland, considered an “overseas” base. There he joined Coastal Command, a posting that continued when he was transferred to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Along the way, Charlie married, expecting that he’d be staying in Canada.  But the air force had other ideas, and he was sent to Great Britain. Charlie’s first stop was in Oban, Scotland, and then he went onto Northern Ireland; in both cases he stayed in Coastal Command, and he learned to work on the flying boats. Charlie had fond memories of the crews, and of the NAAFI canteens, and the locales around Enniskillen. Charlie finished off the war in Wales, and he returned to Canada with his brother, who had seen combat on the continent. Both returned to their families and rebuilt their lives in postwar Canada, falling into the rhythms of their new routines. We met Charlie at the Sunnybrook Veterans’ Wing, where a group of CHC students interviewed him in January 2020.