|Clyde Walker Pierce, Jr. at Baffin Island|
Written by Clyde Walker Pierce, Jr. in 2005"This is a typical trip to Greenland from Presque Isle, Maine via Goose Bay Labrador. We usually used C47 Douglass Aircraft, or C46 Curtiss aircraft. This particular trip we elected to use the C46 because of its superior speed, cargo capacity, and range without refueling. The crew consisted of pilot, copilot, radio operator, and crew chief.
We took off with a ground temperature around 20 degrees below zero and climbed to 6000 feet above sea level. The upper air was crisp and outside temperature gauge reading 32 below zero. We crossed the Saint Lawrence River, near Anticosta Island, where the distance to cross it was 92 miles, and since the weather was mostly free of clouds we could see our checkpoint the Mirigan, PQ airstrip.
|Clyde Walker Pierce, Jr.|
From now on all the way to Goose Bay, Labrador everything looks the same - snow and pretty pointed green evergreen trees and so after multiple small lakes hidden by the snow we arrived at Goose Bay airport after three hours of flight time for the 400 miles. The airport was jointly operated by the U.S. on south side and Canadian on the north side.
I should have pointed out we were actually civilians flying Army Air Corp planes but employees of the Northeast Airlines. We were greeted by Colonel Fisk Haskoll the Base Commander. We went to the dining hall and had a meal while plane had fuel tanks topped off.
|C46 courtesy of ww2.wwarii.com|
This day we were lucky as the cloud ceiling did not lower and we broke out into a valley bowl made a hard turn of 40 degrees and there was the rock and dirt strip. We went into a good sized wooden shack, closed the flight plan, and ate some chow. Since we had a large amount of cargo to be unloaded we decided to do a little sight-seeing. At the end of the valley bowl a huge glacier rose and at its base was some clear water - we could look down in the water and see huge salmon. I thought the salmon were 3-4 feet down but the Eskimo who was showing us around explained in very good English that the fish were down over 30 feet - the water was so clear and free of any and all contamination it would fool one.
|Walker at 96 with his Greenlandic model kayak|
The Eskimo wore muckalucks [sic] on his feet and legs, a beauty of a parka made from seal skin and animal furs with attached headpiece that would protect him from wind and cold. He told us that when we left and reached the ocean that some of his people would be far out at sea fishing and it turned out to be true - they were out in their kayaks 20 or more miles out to sea.
The trip back was uneventful but there would be more trips to Greenland and beyond but that is another story."
Indeed, and many more stories there were. Thanks, Dad.