Norman L. Baier: WAG, RCAF

I’m embarrassed to say that I have just tonight, for the first time, gone through my grandpa Norman’s WWII Royal Canadian Air Force personnel file. The files have been in my possession for more months than I am willing to admit.

For anyone who has seen a Canadian military personnel file, you know I am not exaggerating when I say it must be read MANY times before any real sense can be made from them.  These files are chock full of abbreviations and are almost entirely hand written in these tiny ledger-type forms.  I am serious when I say I use a magnifying glass to read them!

I am hoping to write a proper entry on my grandpa Norm by day’s end on November 11th. In the meantime, I want to share a few pieces of information that jumped off the pages right away – because I know my family will love to know… and I find all of these finer details amazing because within them, I see so many connections that help me learn more about my family and myself.

  • Grandpa’s discharge certificate was signed on October 5, 1945.
    • He and Grandma married exactly one year later!
    • Last month was grandpa’s 70th anniversary of being honourably discharged from the RCAF – wow!
      RCAF Service Certificate

      RCAF Service Certificate

  • Grandpa’s two months of coastal operations qualify as being overseas – can’t wait to see if I can find more details on this!
    • during my four years in Guelph, I went for weekly dinner with my grandparents – during my undergrad I studied history, mostly military history. I regret that didn’t realise then what I know now about my grandpa….
  • Upon discharge, grandpa expressed interest in entering the electrical trade – this is my husband’s profession.
  • Grandpa played hockey for fun – I had no idea!
  • He listed his future father-in-law, W.T. (William Thomas) Blair, as one of his character references – and among others, his barber, E. Pike.
  • Grandpa enlisted three days after his 19th birthday – nine days before Christmas
  • the cause of discharge: “on completion of a term of voluntary service during an emergency.”
    • “an emergency” strikes me as a strange way to describe a world war! But I suppose it is technically correct.