Remembering…

Jacob Gaudaur never forgot his friend.

Ed and Jake

This is what Jacob (Jake) Gaudaur wrote about his friend Ed.

Remembering Ed Poscavage

Courtesy Diane Gaudaur

Transcription

Remembering Ed Poscavage

Growing up at the Narrows at Orillia, I would always look up on the rare occasion that a plane passed overhead, intrigued by wondering who was in it and where it was going and what kept it in the air. Consequently I welcomed the opportunity to serve in the Royal Canadian Airforce (RCAF) in World War 2. In January 1942, I reported to a temporary RCAF locale that was called Manning Depot No 1 that was located on the CNE grounds in Toronto. It had been the building where cows were berthed during the annual, Royal Winter Fair. Dubbed “the cow palace” by the time I reported. I would learn that the name was well earned. On the same day I checked in, I was assigned a bunk next to an American named Ed Poscavage who had arrived the same day.

In the Fall of 1941 I had played football for the Toronto Argonauts and turned 21 on October 5. Ed had played for Ohio State Footbal Team that Fall while attending college there. From the many options available, we both opted for the opportunity to become a pilot and for the next year and a half we were seldom far apart whether it was in the class room, on the parade ground, taking our flying instruction or enjoying 48 hour passes in Toronto. We had been recruited into a ww2 Royal Canadian Airforce project known as BCATP (British Commonwealth air training plan). A huge success, it attracted volunteers from all over the world including Ed from the United States.

Between the end of the 1941 football season and the first of January 1942, my mother arranged through a manager at the T Eaton Co. who had been a “fishing” customer of my father, to become employed at the Eaton store at the corner of Queen and Yonge in Toronto. My job was to load wrapped parcels for shipping to Eaton’s Christmas mail order customers. To help get the orders mailed in time for Christmas, secretarial staff were sent down to help in the mail-order room, one of whom was a very attractive teen-age secretary named Molly. I was very attracted to her and learned her real name was Isabel Grace Scott and that she was 18.

Aided by having the use of mother’s new Dodge car, Molly and I started dating and were able to continue dating after I joined the RCAF because I was posted to airbases in Ontario, enabling me to get to Toronto on a 48 hr. pass. Ed’s 48 hour passes also took him to Toronto where he met a girl named Cynthia and the four of us would get together occasionally in Toronto.

In the Spring of 1943 our pilot training was coming to an end and while Ed and I both loved flying and prayed we would get `our wings’, i.e. that we had passed, there were always concerns that for whatever reason, our instructors might see or sense something in us that would make us unsuitable for combat. Feeling confident that I would pass and be posted overseas, Molly and I decided to get married. The marriage occured. On April 16 1943 Molly and I were married on a 48 hour pass in the Church on St. Clair Ave in Toronto and Ed was our “best man”. Alter the ceremony Molly and I went on a two day honeymoon to Hamilton.

On “wings” day we were on pins and needles as they read out the names of those who would receive their “wings” and their rank. Ed and I standing side by side not only passed but each of us were given commissions with the rank of Pilot Officer. In the meantime, the war was at a critical phase in Europe and although the Canadian casualties in the army and Navy were soaring, by then, one always felt that getting killed was something that would happen to someone else. The US had entered the war by then and Ed opted to return to the States with Cynthia, he to join the U.S. Army Air Corps. Many of the instructors were US citizens who were lured to Canada because there were so few pilots in Canada when the war broke out. Now they were returning to the US. in droves. This had an immediate impact for me because the decision was made that the top 5 in each course were required to serve as instructors on Canadian bases for a year before being posted overseas. I was one of them. At the time I was disappointed that the adventure was postponed. However it was offset by being able to live with Molly off base. in Ottawa were I was posted to instruct.

I was sad to see Ed go but we speculated that we would meet in England. From Cynthia still in the US, we would learn that Ed had been assigned to an American squadron in England that flew large single-engine planes called “thunderbolts”. In the summer of 1944, I and some other instructors were advised that we were being posted to Camp Borden from where we were told we would be posted overseas. Molly returned home bcause there was no accommodation of any kind on or near the base. By then the Germans were on the run and our overseas posting was put on hold. We were all discharged in early 1945. I don’t remember how I heard it but word reached me that Spring that Ed had been killed in action. Every year on Remembrance Day, I remember Ed with moist eyes and wonder why mankind created the need for Ed and all of the countless other “EDS” who died in the war “to end all wars” to preserve freedom.

FAST FORWARD TO REMEMBRANCE DAY 2005 I DROPPED IN TO SEE OUR DAUGHTER DIANE AFTER ATTENDING A MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR THOSE LIKE ED WHO HAD LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE WAR. AS USUAL ON REMEMBRANCE DAY, ED’S NAME CAME UP. DIANE WENT TO HER COMPUTER AND WAS ABLE TO QUICKLY PULL AN ED POSCAVAGE BUT IT WASN’T OUR ED—ON RETURNING HOME I DECIDED TO SEARCH ON MY COMPUTER FOR THE US ARMY AIRCORPS CASUALTIES IN 1945 AND THIS IS WHAT CAME UP.

“ON 11 MARCH 1945, SS DIVISION GOTZ VON BERICHINGE” SHOT DOWN TWO PLANES, THIS TIME TWO THUNDERBOLTS. THEY BELONGED TO 358 FG (366 FS) AND WERE BOMBING THE STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT BRIDGE AT GERSHEIM WHICH WAS HEAVILY DEFENDED BY LIGHT FLAK AND RIFLE FIRE. THE THUNDERBOLT OF 1ST LT. EDMUND POSCAVAGE WAS HIT AND STARTED BURNING AND PART OF THE AIRCRAFT BROKE OFF – POSCAVAGE’S BURNED CORPSE WAS DISCOVERED BY AMERICAN GROUND TROOPS ONLY A COUPLE OF DAYS LATER NEXT TO A PART OF THE WRECKAGE”.

I HOPE THAT CYNTHIA NEVER SAW THIS MILITARY ACCOUNT.

GOODNIGHT ED WHEREVER YOU ARE AND BY THE WAY, ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONGS FROM THAT TIME GOES–” WE’LL MEET AGAIN DON’T KNOW WHERE DON’T KNOW WHEN BUT I KNOW WE’LL MEET AGAIN SOME SUNNY DAY—WHO KNOWS???????

YOUR COW PALACE BUDDY

JAKE

From the summer of 1943 to the end of 1944, I was stationed at the RCAF base in Ottawa as a flying instructor. As an officer, I was entitled to live off base in accommodation with my wife Molly. Our accomodation was a furnished apartment in the second and third floor in a large home on Clemow Ave. the street on which many of the foreign Embassies were and still are located. In my leisure time I sketched varions subject matters. The above charcoal sketch is supposed to be my friend RCAF friend Ed Poscavage. Relying on memory and photos, it was only a fair representation of him.

Jake  Gaudaur's  drawing  of his  best friend

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