Jacqueline Boucher and Max Yas posing together in uniform, 1943.Jacqueline Yas
Jacqueline Boucher and Max Yas pose for a formal portrait in Montreal, Quebec, 1944.Van Dyck, Montreal
"They came to me. They had been conscripted into the Army and it was up to me to choose and decide if they were suitable for the Air Force."
When we recruited the men, we tried to get those who had been accepted into the Army to come over to the [Royal Canadian] Air Force, for their military service. When I enlisted, I was in Banff [Alberta]; I had spent the winter in Banff. It was pretty serious. People were conscripted, you know. The eighteen, nineteen year old men had to serve, unless they had a certificate from the doctor. They couldn’t say, well, "They’ll have to come get me at home". You didn’t do that. You could go to prison. Everyone knew that. But some tried.
We were seated in an office. We asked, "What do you do? What have you done? What do you want to do? Do you speak English? Do you speak French? Do you speak any other languages?" I conducted interviews, just like you’re doing now. And I’d ask, “Where do you live? Where is your family?” and all that.
I had this list with their names and I would tell them that we would call them. I’d give the list to my officer and my officer would have a look.
They came to me. They had been conscripted into the Army and it was up to me to choose and decide if they were suitable for the Air Force.
"The Air Force?" they would say. Yes, the Air Force. You will be trained and prepared. I won’t put you in a plane tomorrow and ask you to fly it. You will have the necessary training and if not, you can stay in the hangar and clean the planes.