Pictured right: Bob, at Veterans Memorial Lodge.

Photos and quotes from Bob Miller’s published autobiography Flying, Forests, & Family help share stories of his time during the war, and life experiences over the last 97 years. 

Born in Grand Prairie, Alberta in 1925, Bob was 17 years old when he enlisted to serve during WWII. One of nine children (five boys and four girls), Bob and two of his brothers had each signed up to serve with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Lloyd was a Fighter Pilot, and Jim a Wireless Air Gunner.

At 17-1/2 years old, and with his parents permission, Bob enlisted.

“I had hoped that I would be chosen as a potential pilot, the same as most of the other fellows: however, no decision was made as where you would be placed or be posted until later in your training.” 

Following his initial service training, and elementary and service flying school, Bob received orders and was posted overseas in the UK. Travelling by train from Alberta to Halifax, he boarded the Aquitania on October 22, 1943.

Graduating from the Advanced Flying Unit at Perton, England, Bob was posted to No. 7 Flying Instructors’ School. Formerly the Royal Air Force Central Flying School, which is the longest existing flying training school, the No. 7 Flying Instructors’ School had pilots and aircrews trained on many different planes including the Harvard, Tiger Moth, Avro Anson, Cessna Crane, Fairey Battle, Bristol Bolingbroke, and Westland Lysander. For Bob, it was flying and training pilots in the Fairchild Cornell aircraft.

Bob had a total of 745 hours of flying, 487 of those hours as Captain. He still has his log book records from during the war, including his very first log book record of his first flight on his 18th birthday. Bob felt fortunate not to have flying accidents in Canada or the United Kingdom during the war.

Following WWII Bob returned home as a commissioned officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and was also commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Edmonton Regiment. “I didn’t spend much time in the army, since I decided to complete my grade 12 and go to the University of British Columbia to study Forest Engineering. I was released from the RCAF in July 1946 but I don’t remember if I was ever released from the Reserve Army. I might still be in it!” 

Living in Vancouver, during his lunch break Bob met Gloria, who also worked nearby. “Occasionally we would have lunch at the same time in the same café,” he wrote in his biography, “One day she asked me to ‘pass the salt’, and as they say, ‘The rest is history’.”

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