White, Rod

Rod White was born in Trenton, Ontario in 1925. Rod’s father died when he was only four, and some of his early memories are of his mother struggling to raise her seven children in difficult economic times. Rod was a sickly child, suffering from bouts of tuberculosis and jaundice; combined with wearing glasses from an early age, he remembers school not being easy, and he left after Grade 8, going to work and helping to support the family. Work took him out west, and in the early part of the war he worked in the Vancouver Shipyards, and his attempts to enlist were denied given his past health. As he recalls, he kept trying though, and eventually a doctor failed to recognize the Tb scars on his chest X-ray, and Rod found himself in the army. Rod opted for the RCAF and was sent for initial training as a mechanic. As he was quite skilled, he was quickly sent overseas, and began work on air bases in England. Rod worked mainly on Dakota and Mosquito aircraft, but he also had the difficult task of body recovery; the bases where he was stationed – Manston and Bradwell – were right on the Channel, and many bombers crash landed there. Rod also recounts his time in England off the base, from visits to London and a near hit by a V2 rocket to time in the very crowded pubs to the omnipresent NAAFI time – otherwise known as tea time. As the war concluded, Rod was redeployed to Germany, where he was part of the Army of Occupation. He spent a year there, returning to Canada via Halifax, ready to resume his life on the home front. Rod spent some time up north, and ultimately decided to join into the army reserve, and he ended up being stationed in Tanzania for a period of time, where bizarre encounters in Cold War Africa became the order of the day. Rod White was interviewed by Eric Brunt in early 2019, as part of Eric’s yearlong journey across Canada.  Scott Masters visited Rod at his home in Belleville in October 2019, and Crestwood student Miranda Su edited that video as part of her Grade 12 OHP requirement.