Tom Cooke

We have all stood at a place in time and asked ourselves, "Which way do I go?" When Tom Cooke was confronted with that question in 1939, all hell was breaking loose in Europe. Tom was planning to make the banking business his career when he started thinking of enlisting in the service. He "chose the other road" one evening on his way to a movie. He entered a recruitment office and asked the recruiter what he had to offer. In return the recruitment officer asked Tom if he wanted to be a pilot. Tom said, "Yes, I guess so." and at that point his life changed forever. In June 1940, Tom went on active duty with the RCAF. He saw service with EFTS (Elementary Flying Training School) London ON, SFTC (Service Flying Training School) Camp Borden ON. His next job was as a flying instructor in Dauphin MB in 1941. In 1942, now a F/O, Tom was loaned to #7 B&G (Bombing & Gunnery) at Paulson MB to convert pilots from single engine to multi-engine rating. Tom was posted to Yarmouth NS flying Canso amphibians. In 1944 he went to Iceland with his 162 BR (Bombing & Reconnaissance) squadron on anti-submarine patrol. On April 17, 1944 while flying on a regular patrol, F/O Cooke and his crew, flying Canso #9767, spotted Uboat #392 on the surface of the ocean. While under intense fire from the Sub they pressed home an attack, dropping three 250-lb. depth charges to sink the U-boat. For this feat, F/O Cooke was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Prior to leaving the RCAF, Tom participated in a first-time-ever program of aerial spraying of the budworm-infested forests near Port Arthur for the Ontario Government using specially equipped Cansos. He was awarded the Air Force Cross for this work. ...

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