Bomber that Saved a City
It was May 1944.
All the rest of the world was concentrating on the coming invasion,
but in Dawson City, Yukon, one thought alone was on everybody's mind
struck. just when it looked as if the long, dreary winter were (sic)
over and green grass would soon be poking through, the ice-laden Yukon
and Klondike rivers ganged up on the town, jammed their ice at its
very doorstep, and flooded Dawson knee-deep in water.
In the paralyzed
city, commerce was at a standstill. But day after agonizing day, the
jam held. Twenty-five feet high and solid as Gibraltar, it looked
as if it would last all summer.
WO. Reid and Signalman
Hunka of the Royal Canadian Signal Corps station at Dawson were worse
off than most. They had to be on the air all the time, and transmitting
from a canoe is no fun.
Finally Reid got
an idea. "Why not ask the Yanks for a hand?" he exclaimed.
He quickly called the US Army air base at Fairbanks, Alaska. "Mrs.
Dawson is sick," he told them. "A bad case of water-on-the-knee.
Have you a doctor and a couple of eggs handy?"
Swiftly he outlined
the trouble and suggested his remedy. In less than an hour Reid heard
the roar of powerful motors overhead. The B-29, an elated crew at
the controls, made one trial run over the jam them dropped the "eggs",
neatly hitting the target. With a thunderous explosion the ice gave
away, the water rushed down the channel and almost immediately the
happy Reid felt his canoe bump on solid ground.
The only bomber
ever to save a foreign city instead of destroying it, dipped its wings
in salute as it headed home. And even as it disappeared, spring --
that most welcome of seasons -- was on its way to Dawson City.
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