David Christie, born May 6th, 1923 in Dundee, Scotland, arrived in Canada May 18th, 1924 with his parents, James & Davidina Christie. They came second class, with her father, John Cleghorn and her sister Betsy Cleghorn, to Quebec City aboard the Saturnia.
They moved to Smerdon St., Hawkesbury about 1926 when David's father came to work as a machinist for the Canadian International Paper mill. David attended the old Hawkesbury Public
School and High School on Nelson Street.
Too Young to Enlist
In May of 1940, David was 17 years old, unhappy at school after seeing many of his older friends leave to join the Armed Forces. He left school, travelled to Montreal and joined the
Army: No 2 sect. 16th Field Engineers. He did his basic training in the Montreal area and at Farnham, Quebec. In August, the recruits traveled by truck convoy from the Montreal area to Debert, Nova Scotia (near Truro) where he worked on the construction of the military base.
David drove a truck and operated a bulldozer and other equipment but before the spring of 1941, it was discovered that he was under age and he was sent home.
Needed on Canadian Soil
In May 1941, he went to work as an apprentice machinist in the CIP paper mill in Hawkesbury where his father worked. By December 1942, he was old enough to join the R.C.A.F. and was sent to Ottawa to take a course in Aero Engine Mechanics at the old Ottawa Technical High School. Since he sent a Souvenir booklet home to his mother from the St.
Thomas, Elgin County. No. 1 Technical Training School, he must have spent some time there as well.
David Christie was then posted to # 6 Service Flying Training School in Hagersville, Ont. On September 30th, 1943 as an engine and frame mechanic. While at Haggersville, he worked servicing the aircraft on the ground, doing pre-flight service and fueling. He spoke of driving the fuel truck and being on the crash tender or rescue truck .The main
aircraft that he worked on were Avro Anson, the Harvard, and the Cornell.
He told of witnessing a plane crash landing on the runway. Both the instructor and a student were still alive in the cockpit when he arrived with the rescue crew. But while they were running toward the plane with a fire blanket the plane blew up and he and the rest of the rescue crew were sent flying backwards through the air. Both men on the plane were killed.
In March 1945 he was transferred to # 10 E.F.T.S. in Pendelton, Ont. This flying school, a few miles south and west of Plantagenet now home to a glider club, was an elementary flying school. Cornells and other single engine aircrafts were used.
In July 1945, he had volunteered to continue while the war on the Pacific was still raging. He was then sent to C.F.B. Greenwood and stayed on there until the fall. After his discharge on Oct 30th, 1945 he returned to work at C.I.P. Hawkesbury.
Life after the War
By May of 1952 he had begun to build a summer cottage on Lalonde Rd. in Longueuil Twp. off Bay Road that he owned until he moved to Front Rd. L'Orignal in 1972.
In 1953, he left C.I. P. and went to become Machine shop Foreman at Canadian Refractories new brick plant at Marelan, Quebec.
In 1956 he married Marion A. Laundry originally from Bancroft Ont. She had come to teach Home Economics at the new Hawkesbury District High School when it opened in 1952. They had three children Jim, Andrew, and Janet.
After he left Canadian Refractories in 1968 he briefly managed Astro Industries, a textile plant in Hawkesbury. By the summer of 1969, he had planned to move to Parry Sound Ont. where he was Maintenance supervisor at an auto parts plant, however he injured his arm in an industrial accident and was unable to return to work.
After considerable rehabilitation he was able to Teach Machineshop part time for Algonquin College who ran adult training programs in the evening at the Hawkesbury High School. In 1972, the family moved from Emerald St. in Hawkesbury to the home on Front Road, L'Orignal where he operated a small machine shop and sharpening service for many years.
He died in March 2001 from complications following surgery for a fractured leg.