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The Lost Accent

Here's a wartime story from when our Squadron was based at Leeming, Yorkshire. It occurred about October '44. One of our members was Joseph Franklin Smart, DFC. We were sitting around the Flight Room waiting to see what assignment(s) would be given to us that day and the usual chatter was going on. Although if I were to hear him talk today, I'd think little of his accent, in but in those days, when none of we Canadians had ever heard a real Southern accent, his accent was something really special and we all thought so.

At any rate, there we were in the Flight Room and various things were being discussed, when Joe piped up and said something that threw us all into nearly hysterical laughter. I'll try to print it as it was said, you'll have to make your own interpretation but I think you'll get it. This is what he said, in his really strong Carolinian accent

"Ah've bin with you Canaaydians so-o-o long, ah've lost mah accent all-too-gethah!"

There was a 2 x 8 wooden plank around two sides of the Flight Room and that's where we had been seated when Joe made that famous remark BUT when I looked back over my left shoulder (I was on my knees roaring with laughter) there was only ONE person still seated. It must have been Joe! Everyone else was in the same position as I was, on their knees, convulsed with nearly hysterical laughter. That was the most spontaneous bout of hilarious laughter I've ever heard, bar none! Poor Joe didn't know what the heck he'd said to cause it but WE did...

BTW - He'd not "Lost his accent" BUT he had definitely speeded up his speech!

My 2nd story about Joe happened in Winnipeg and I remind you, Joe was from beautiful, hilly, North Carolina BUT he had taken his Pilot's training somewhere in Western Canada. At any rate, we were sitting there, in a revolving restaurant, when suddenly, in the middle of the meal, Joe laid down his fork and knife and said

"Damn! I'd forgotten it was so-o-o-o FLAT!"

Well, only my wife and I heard THAT one but it surely was funny! Joe was one great guy and his passing, several years ago, was a real blow. He was the only man I ever communicated with, post war, other than my own crew members.

Blue skies and tail winds buddy! I'll see you fairly soon!

Former F/O Ian C. Thomson, 427 Sqdn., Leeming, Yorkshire.
J-87757 - On enlistment, R-110964.
Ferte Manus Certas.

Ian has been a longterm supporter of the Association and is a Director living in Winnipeg. He recently celbrated his 90th. This was part of an email he had sent to his son.