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Listen to the diary of Mackenzie King!
A narrator reads sections of Mackenzie King's diary at the time of his first transatlantic flight.
August 6, 1941 — "Choosing a Plane"
"After lunch had a talk with Howe, who told me he was having a four-engine plane fitted up very comfortably so as to take my party across. Among other things, he was fitting up a separate bedroom.... He asked me to send him [the] number of passengers and respective weights. He doubted if provision could be made for more than four in all."
August 9, 1941 — "A Trial Trip... Sounds Risky!"
"I had meant to record this morning [in my diary] that in conversation with Howe... he had spoken to me about the plane for England. Said it would be making a trial trip on Thursday and asked if I would like it brought to Ottawa to see it here. I told him I thought it would be wiser not to do this as it might attract attention."
August 11, 1941 — "Plane Crash Provokes Thought"
"My attention has been drawn to an article in tonight's Journal which records the crashing today of a trans-Atlantic plane before leaving England, in which 22 persons have been killed.... I have, however, no real fear. While I should like to continue to live and complete the work that I believe is a part and purpose of my life, if it is God's will that my time on earth should close in the fulfillment of an obvious duty to my country, to the Commonwealth, and to humanity at this time... I shall feel no concern about having my earthly journey brought to its close at this stage."
August 14, 1941 — "Another Plane Crash!"
"About 9:30, Howe rang me up to tell me he had bad news. That Arthur Purvis had been killed in a plane accident that day which had cost the lives of some 20 pilots on board a plane about to start from England. This was bad news indeed. I confess, however, it did not give me the least sense of added danger in the matter of my own crossing. That is all in the hands of Providence. Frankly, I do not feel any concern of life itself though there may be unpleasantness in the travel itself.... I really think I shall enjoy the crossing and the stay, and, I hope and pray, the return."
August 19, 1941 — "The Big Day"
"Arrived at St. Hubert's airport at 8 a.m.... Howe explained there was a delay in starting not wishing to stop too long at Newfoundland.... When I was called to get to the plane, I looked at my watch. It was exactly 10:30.... Learned that the plane was made in San Diego, California - known there as B-24 - English name, the Liberator. No designation could be better.... I climbed aboard and discovered that the centre of the bomber had been made into a most attractive apartment with reclining chair on either side of the open steps and a sort of divan arrangement in the nature of a bed.... All most attractive....The plane started off at 11:45. After the motors were heated up, the plane took quite a long run on the runway, and started off making gradual assent [sic]. I kept looking out of the window as we went up. Was given gum to chew and batting in the ears.... Indeed I thoroughly enjoyed the assent [sic] itself and from the moment we began to fly on the level, enjoyed the whole sensation of floating through and above the clouds, getting glimpses of the country below. I was impressed with how plainly everything was visible... enjoyed seeing the landscape change into design of fields, roads, rivers, etc."
August 19, 1941 — "Trips Thoughts"
"In the course of travel through the morning, I felt no unpleasant sensation, on the contrary, real enjoyment and inspiration.... The only words I could find to express my feelings were wonderful, delightful, etc. ...I much enjoyed the scenery crossing New Brunswick, the glimpse of Chatham, the coast line.... After having a talk with the pilot and very much enjoying the great vista of the sea, I came to the rear of the plane to see how the others were located......Had anyone told me I should have been writing on an aero plane, a bomber, I could never have believed them."
August 20, 1941 — "Arriving Safely"
"I slept pretty steadily last night but woke at 3 different intervals.... Then the sun began to rise, a golden path came from the direction of Britain in a straight line to the Liberator. The day began to appear in its majesty from these bright horizons all over the clouds."
"It was exactly 3 on my watch when we sighted the first bit of land. ...Then to my great delight, got the first views of Scotland. We were onto the runway before one was conscious of it. I felt no sensation in my ears. I had not batting and when the wheels touched the ground, one was scarcely conscious that we were on the runway. I thanked God for having brought us so safely on our way."