Banners feature Invermere veterans such as Jim Milne

As told on Elinor Florence’s Wartime Wednesdays blog, Jim Milne taught pilots during the war

Jim Milne is one of the veterans featured on the Veterans banner project (see story, left). Mr. Milne got a first glimpse at his banner hot off the press two weeks ago.

“I’m just plain surprised,” he said of the banner. “It’s great.”

When asked why this banner project is a good addition to the community, Mr. Milne said, “It’s very important. We should not forget.”

Mr. Milne, now 97, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. Ms. Florence wrote a blog post about Mr. Milne on her ‘Wartime Wednesdays’ blog, where she wrote about how he left university in April, 1942 to train to become a pilot. After training in Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, he was sent to Claresholm, Alberta to complete his final stage of training. At a welcome dance, he met his future wife Betty. On June 10th, 1943, he was given the orders to head overseas to fight the enemy. As he was preparing to board the troop ship in Halifax, he was called back to Rivers, Manitoba to become a flight navigation instructor. He had no idea why, but got back on the train and returned to Manitoba.

“The air force didn’t bother explaining anything,” Mr. Milne told Ms. Florence. “You followed orders and did as you were told.”

Later he found out there had been another pilot named James Milne who requested a home posting because his wife was expecting and the RCAF had confused the two.

While posted in Calgary, Jim connected with Betty who was in the city taking a business course. In August, 1944, the two were married.

After the war ended and Japan surrendered, Jim remained with the RCAF and was discharged in 1945. From there, he returned to complete his geology degree at the University of Manitoba and went on to travel the world for work. The couple moved to Invermere full-time in 1985. They now live at Columbia Garden Village and recently celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary!

To read Jim Milne’s full story, visit http://elinorflorence.com/blog/rcaf-logbook

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