After flying for 745 hours, 97-year-old Victorian veteran Bob Miller has learned a lot.
Miller enlisted during World War II with his parents’ permission at the age of 17.
“My parents agreed,” Miller said at his Saanich nursing home. “They are very familiar with the service. They have no problem with it.”
Miller was inspired to enlist after his brothers Jim and Lloyd both signed up to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Jim is a wireless air gunner and Lloyd is a fighter pilot.
“I had hoped that I would be selected as a potential pilot, like most others,” Miller said in his autobiography, “Flight, Forest, and Family.” “It wasn’t until later in training that it was decided that you would be placed. Or where to be sent.”
Miller eventually trained as a pilot, and his first flight was from Edmonton to High River in Alta. on his 18th birthday.
After service training and primary and service flight school, Miller was sent to England. On October 22, 1943, he boarded the Aquitania by train from Alberta to Halifax.
Miller graduated from Peyton’s Advanced Flying Corps and was sent to the UK’s Seventh Flying Instructor School, formerly known as the Central Flying School, the longest-running flight training school in existence.
While at school, he trained pilots and flew Fairchild Cornell aircraft.
“I enjoyed my time in England. It was fun.”
Miller, one of nine children, said he remembers writing letters to his family while in the UK.
Miller felt lucky that there were no flying accidents during the war.
After World War II, he returned to Canada as an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force and served as a second lieutenant in the Edmonton Regiment.
“When I was commissioned, it was fine,” Miller said. “We were taken care of. We had our own good accommodation. It was nice. I didn’t stay in the military very long because I decided to finish grade 12 and go to the University of British Columbia to study forest engineering.”
Miller retired from the Air Force in 1946.
“I’m proud of my service. I don’t remember if I was ever released from the Reserves. I’m probably still in it.”
He said he wanted to make sure the stories of our veterans were not lost.
After serving, Miller worked in forestry on Vancouver Island and raised three children with his wife, Gloria.
Miller moved to the Veterans Memorial Hotel in September, where he supports fellow veterans and participates in VA groups.
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