By Joel van der Veen
DAVIDSON — One was a decoy bomber pilot. The other was an aero engine mechanic.
Both survived the Second World War and returned home with stories to tell.
Their stories were featured in Kelsey Riecken’s project, one of 18 entries in the Heritage Fair at Davidson School on Wednesday.
With two great-grandfathers serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the war, Riecken had a close personal connection to her project.
Norman Rhodes trained at Moose Jaw, then in Quebec and Ontario, before being posted to Dafoe, Sask., as a mechanic in 1943.
After his discharge, he returned to the farm in the Sprattsville district. He remained active in the Legion and lived to the age of 98, passing away in 2012.
Meanwhile, Robert Buchanan served as a bomber pilot. A photo shows him posing with dozens of other trainees, many of whom did not return home.
Buchanan lived until 1993, when he died at the age of 70. Though some of his medals were lost or stolen, he left behind lots of other mementos and souvenirs.
Many of these — from log books to the wartime Christmas card that was mailed by the Air Force to his parents — were part of the display for Riecken’s project.
“It took a lot of work trying to gather it all up,” she said.
Karielle Willner said this was the second year her Grade 8 history students have completed Heritage Fair projects.
Students were allowed to work independently or in pairs and could pick any subject they wanted as long as it was connected with Canadian or Saskatchewan heritage.
If students were interested in a broad subject, Willner said she usually encouraged them to narrow it down into something more manageable.
She also asked students to explain the significance of their subject: “It’s got to be more than just giving the facts.”
For the full story, please see the Feb. 20 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.