Elliston at War - World War Two
Raymond B. Cole
Raymond Boyde Cole (1924-2011) served with the Royal Air Force. He was the son of Nehemiah Cole (1881-1973) and Elizabeth Abbott (1884-? ) married 1905.
Raymond Boyd Cole was born in Elliston on July 14, 1924. His father worked in the United States and then at a papermill in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, when Raymond Cole was one month old. Mr. Cole grew up in Newfoundland. In 1941, Mr. Cole finished grade 11 and was 17 years old in July of that year. He wanted to be a fighter pilot so in 1942 he signed up for the air force by altering his birth certificate. He received his wings on November 12, 1943. He found out later that he was not to become a pilot, but he did become an air gunner. Mr. Cole spent three weeks at #1 Air Gunners Ground Training School (AGGTS). He then spent six weeks at #9 Bombing and Gunnery School (BGS). Following #9 BGS he went overseas. Further training includes #30 Operation Training Unit (OTU) and then 1667 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU) where he made the conversion from twin engine aircraft to heavier, four engine aircraft with seven crew members. Mr. Cole flew as an air gunner in over twenty operations with as much as one thousand aircraft in some. He was involved in the Normandy Campaign and many of the missions were heavy concentration bombings of the Ruhr Valley, which was a heavy industrial area. Mr. Cole completed his flying tour (thirty operations) and went on to do three more operations afterwards. One to help his crew finish up their tour and then volunteered for another two. He worked as an orderly and as a truck driver for a while before returning to Grand Falls, after three and a half years overseas. Afterwards, he became a minister.
Passed Away On: 04/05/2011
Raymond Boyde Cole, CD July 14, 1924 - May 4, 2011. Born in Elliston, NL, on July 14, 1924, Ray grew up in Grand Falls. He was educated at Grand Falls Academy from where he graduated with honours in 1941. During WW II, he served with the Royal Air Force in Europe and completed several tours of bombing operations in his much-loved Lancaster. He returned to Newfoundland in 1946, following a medical discharge. Raymond studied accounting and worked in managerial positions in various fields, including Insurance, Road & Building Construction, and Forest Harvesting. In 1974, he entered full-time ministry with the United Church of Canada, serving a number of Pastoral charges through-out Newfoundland. During his ministry, Rev. Ray had the honour of performing weddings for two of his grandchildren and christened three great-grandchildren. He retired from the ministry in 1996, only to return to work at least six or seven times, finally retiring in 2011. Shortly after Confederation, Ray was commissioned in the rank of Pilot Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He worked with all three elements of the Cadet organization until 1964, when upon reaching the compulsory retirement age, he retired with the rank of Captain. On May 11, 2002 he was appointed Honourary Colonel of #9 Wing, Canadian Forces Base Gander, and remained in this position until September 11, 2006, when he retired and reverted to his service rank of Captain. In December, 2008, Ray was awarded the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation in recognition of his ongoing contribution to the care and well-being of veterans. A lover of classical music, Ray will always be remembered for his musical abilities, his fingers able to dance across the keyboard without a note of music in front of him. His sense of humor, love for others, and commitment to whatever task he undertook are the cornerstones of his personality and he has touched the lives of many people throughout his life. Predeceased by his parents Nehemiah and Betty, siblings, Horatio, Isaiah, Dora, and Emmeline, and first wife Gwen, Ray is lovingly remembered by his wife Shirley, daughter Georgie (Norm), step-daughter Jada (Grant), grandchildren; Bob, Karen (Roger), Matthew (Karen), and Sarah (Steve), and great-grandchildren; Harley, Thomas, Abby, Samantha, and Rayna. The funeral service was conducted by Rev. Donna Hann with Rev. Royden Reynolds co-officiating, at Memorial United Church in Grand Falls-Windsor on May 7, 2011, 3pm. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Central Funeral Homes.
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