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Victoria veteran shares memories of flying and family

Bob Miller was posted at the world’s longest-existing flight training school
Bob Miller at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. Miller enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force at the age of 17. (Brendan Mayer/News Staff)

After spending 745 hours flying, Victoria veteran Bob Miller, 97, has seen a lot.

Miller enlisted during the Second World War with his parents’ permission when he was 17 years old.

“My parents approved,” Miller said from his Saanich retirement home. “They were very familiar with serving. They didn’t have any problem with it.”

Miller was inspired to enlist after his brothers Jim and Lloyd both signed up to serve with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Jim was a wireless air gunner and Lloyd was a fighter pilot.

“I had hoped that I would be chosen as a potential pilot, the same as most of the other fellows,” Miller said in his autobiography Flying, Forests & Family. “No decision was made as to where you would be placed or be posted until later in your training.”

Miller ended up training to be a pilot and his first flight was from Edmonton to High River, Alta. on his 18th birthday.

Following service training and elementary and service flying school, Miller was posted in England. He travelled by train from Alberta to Halifax and boarded the Aquitania on Oct. 22, 1943.

Miller graduated from the advanced flying unit in Perton and was posted to the No. 7 Flying Instructors’ School in England, formerly the Central Flying School, which is the longest-existing flying training school.

He trained pilots and flew Fairchild Cornell planes during his time at the school.

“I enjoyed my time in England. It was very interesting.”

Miller is one of nine children and said he remembers writing letters to his family while he was in England.

Miller feels fortunate not to have any flying accidents during the war.

After the Second World War, he returned to Canada as a commissioned officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was also commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Edmonton Regiment.

“It was a good living when I was commissioned,” Miller said. “We were looked after. We had our own nice accommodations. It was very nice. I didn’t spend much time in the army, since I decided to complete Grade 12 and go to the University of British Columbia to study forest engineering.”

Miller was released from the air force in 1946.

“I’m proud that I served. I don’t remember if I was ever released from the reserve army. I might still be in it.”

He says he wants to ensure the stories of our veterans are not lost.

After serving, Miller worked in the forestry industry on Vancouver Island and raised three children with his wife Gloria.

Miller moved to Veterans Memorial Lodge in September, where he supports fellow veterans and participates in the veterans association group.

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Brendan Mayer

About the Author: Brendan Mayer

I spent my upbringing in Saskatoon, and in 2021, I made the move to Vancouver Island.
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