The National War Memorial and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Elmer Paudash's story


Uploaded by nccvidccn on 06.11.2009

Transcript:
In front of the National War Memorial you can see a tomb.
Inside is the body of a soldier.
We don’t know his name. We don’t know who he was. Nobody does.
He was young when he was killed in battle.
It was somewhere in France.
Not long ago, his body was brought back to Canada.
And now it is buried in this Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
It remembers over 100,000 Canadian soldiers who died fighting for freedom and peace.
For many, we don’t even know where their bodies are.
Elmer Paudash is one.
I was nineteen when I enlisted.
Everyone my age did. Everyone.
My whole generation. They left.
Sure, kids stayed behind, and adults.
It must’ve been strange for the folks back home.
There weren’t any young men around.
When the war broke out, of course I signed up. I had to, really.
My people have always been warriors, soldiers.
My uncle was a sniper in the Great War --- decorated for his service.
My Dad was a machine gunner.
Hundreds of years ago, my ancestors drove the Mohawks out of our land.
The men in my family, they’re proud. I take after them.
I know I’m set to be chief one day. But I can’t think about that with a war on.
Enlisting is just the right thing to do.
So I’ve put the Mississauga People on hold for a while.
Just until this war is over….
The Right Honourable W.L. Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, speaking from Ottawa.
For months, indeed for years, the shadow of impending conflict in Europe has been ever present.
Unhappily for the world, Herr Hitler and the Nazi regime in Germany
have persisted in their attempt to extend their control other peoples and countries.
It is this reliance upon force,
this lust for conquest, which is the real cause of the war
that threatens the freedom of mankind.
A week before Christmas 1940,
I joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.
My family was pretty damned proud of me.
Not too many native people got in.
Lots had trouble with their lungs. No tuberculosis in these lungs.
I’m good at math and writing too so I have no trouble with Morse code.
At flight school, you don’t choose what you’re gonna do. You do what you’re told.
Still, I like my job. I’m a wireless operator and air gunner.
The machine gunner is the only protection a bomber plane’s got.
It’s a pretty important job if you think about it. Of course, its dangerous too.
Some say my chances of survival are pretty slim.
But it’s not like I think about that. I’m a gunner!
That was the BBC’s Alastair Duckworth reporting from London.
In local news, Elmer Paudash, (PAW-dash) son of Chief George Paudash
of the Rice Lake Mississauga band is officially a “fly-boy”.
He graduated today along with five other “flyboys” from our area.
Elmer Paudash finished in the top three of his graduating class.
He and his classmates have been shipped off to England,
assigned to the Royal Air Force “Bomber Command”.
In an interview earlier, Elmer Paudash said he was “looking forward to riding shotgun in the glass turret of a Wellington bomber.”
And now for the weather.
We fly at night. A thousand planes at a time.
The darkness keeps us safe. Hell, with a thousand bombers, you’d think we’d block out the sun.
We take off from all airfields along the coast.
Then we cross the Chanel to Germany and drop our bombs --- our payload…
The noise is something else.
When those bombs hit, you feel the vibration through to your heart.
Its like roulette.
Two hundred men are dead or lost on every mission.
The Air Marshall Chief of Bomber Command keeps our spirits up.
If you individuals succeed, you will deliver the most devastating blow against the very vitals of the enemy.
Let him have it right on the chin. tonight is the night and the plan is on.
We expect that bombs will drop at 20 tonnes a minute.
After tonight the Huns will be less proud of their savage Luftwaffe attacks…
With summer coming on… the nights are shorter.
We don’t have the same cover of dark at night.
I know there’s more risk now. But I keep flying.
They ask my squadron, that’s the 115th Squadron to take on a new mission.
We have to stop the German ships and subs from sailing near England.
So we’re dropping mines in the North Sea.
It was on one of those missions
that the bomber of Flight Sergeant Elmer Paudash disappeared.
He was twenty-two years old.
His body has never been found.
His story about the service to his community and his country are all that remains.
In some ways, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier serves as his grave.
It is a grave for all Canadians we have lost,
fighting for freedom and peace.
Sadly, we know there will be more.