Leading Aircraftman Norman Ralph Puffer – R 273954 — ACTIVE SERVICE (World War II)
August 17, 1943 a Form – Application Foe Aircrew or Ground Duty – Personal Record on Norman Ralph Puffer was completed. The contents stated that he was unfit for Aircrew (due to colour blindness). The Interviewing Officer’s Assessment stated: “Fine type of boy, well motivated and really wants to fly. Sport loving, alert, keen, well-mannered and should be a credit to the Service. Selection explained and accepted. Recommended for Air Engine Mechanic, War Emergency Training Program.
On September 3, 1943 Norman Ralph Puffer completed the Attestation Paper for the Royal Canadian Air Force at No 11 Recruiting Centre (RC), No 1 Manning Depot (MD) Toronto, Ontario. He was 18 years and 10 months old when, as a single man, he enlisted for the duration of the War. Norman Ralph was born in Clarina, Ontario and gave his birth-date as November 14, 1924. He lists 188 Rubidge Street, Peterborough Ontario as his present address. He indicated that he had no previous Military experience. Norman Ralph’s File indicates that he completed his Primary education at S. S. #9, Dummer; 3 years at Lakefield High School plus a month’s course in machine shop practice. As far as his Trade or Calling is concerned, he lists Fitter Assembler at the Canadian General Electric Company (Genelco Ltd.) Peterborough, Ontario. Norman Ralph was 5′ 8½” tall, weighed 119 pounds, brown hair, had a 35½” (expanded), had hazel eyes and could read French. He gave four Character and Ability references: Mr. J. Harvey, Lakefield Ontario, High School Principal; Mr. Snelgrove, Warsaw Ontario, a Minister; Mr. J. Carroll, C/O Genelco Ltd., Plant Foreman and Mr. M. Montgomery, C/O Genelco Ltd., Sel Service Officer. His medical examination took place in Toronto, he had a scar on his right index finger and there is a note which indicates that he is a “good candidate” his colour vision so bad on their tests that he probably wouldn’t be able to qualify for aircrew. Notwithstanding the colour vision restrictions Norman Ralph was deemed fit (Category A), for duty with the RCAF. His next-of-kin was listed as his father, Russell Elmer Puffer, a Diesel Engineer, living at RR #2, Lakefield Ontario. Norman Ralph signed the Declaration and Oath September 3, 1943 in Toronto. The Certificate of Attesting Officer was signed on September 3, 1943. Norman Ralph Puffer was taken-on-strength as an Aircraftman 2nd Class (AC-2) with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and was assigned Service Number R 273954.
September 3, 1943 AC-2 Puffer was taken-on-strength to No11 RC, No 1 MD, Toronto with the trade of an “Air Engine Mechanic (AEM) [War Emergency Training Program (WETP)]. He would have been introduced to a Basic Training Program for about 1 month before being posted. September 4, 1943 AC-2 Puffer indicated that he was Insured with Confederate Life. On October 14, 1943 AC-2 Puffer was struck-off-strength from No 1 MD to No 4 Wireless (W) School at Guelph, Ontario and was taken-on-strength to No 4 W School on October 15, 1943. On December 24, 1943 he was granted 5 days Christmas Leave to December 29, 1943. On March 14, 1944 AC-2 Puffer was granted the trade of AEM (TTS) Standard. On March 18, 1944 he was granted 14 days Annual Leave to April 1, 1944. After 5 months and 3 weeks of training at No 4 W School, on March 31, 1944 AC-2 Puffer was struck-off-strength from No 4 W School to the Technical Training School (TTS) at St. Thomas; he spent 6 weeks here learning Technical Publications. April 1, 1944 he was taken-on-strength with the TTS at St. Thomas, Ontario. A On August 9, 1944 AC-2 Puffer was promoted to the rake of Aircraftman 1st Class (AC-1) and granted the trade of AEM (TTS) C. On August 24, 1944, having trained at the TTS for 5 months and 3 weeks; AC-1 Puffer was struck-off-strength from TTS to RCAF Station Mountain View, Ontario and was taken-on-strength August 25, 1944.
On September 19, 1944 AC-1 Puffer was granted 14 days Embarkation Leave to October 2, 1944. On October 2, 1944, after about 1 month and 7 days training, he was struck-off-strength from RCAF Station Mountain View upon being transferred to No 1 “Y” Depot* Lachine, Québec, he was taken-on-strength on October 3, 1944. Then, on October 13, 1944 AC-1 Puffer was struck-off-strength from No 1 “Y” Depot, Lachine, Québec to the No 3 (RCAF) Progress Review Committee (PRC) at 62 (RCAF) Base, UK. AC-1 Puffer Embarked Canada on October 13, 1944 and Disembarked the UK on October 20, 1944. On October
21, 1944 he was attached to Intelligence (Int) C 337 of the No 3 (RCAF) PRC. On November 15, 1944 he was struck-off-strength from No 3 (RCAF) PRC to 62 (RCAF) Base *The No 1 “Y” Depot handles the transition of personnel.
January 8, 1945 AC-1 Puffer was granted 7 days, plus 48 hours, Privilege Leave to January 16, 1945. January 26, 1945 a document indicated that AC-1 Puffer received training on the: Rifle; Sten Gun; Grenade; and Elementary Fieldcraft at Innsworth, UK. March 3, 1945 AC-1 Puffer was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp. March 5, 1945 AC-1 Puffer was granted 7 days, plus 48 hours, Privilege Leave to March 13, 1945; including a Ration Allowance. On June 18, 1945 AC-1 Puffer was struck-off-strength due to repatriation on posting to RCAF Station Debert, Nova Scotia. June 19, 1945 he is taken-on-strength at RCAF Station Debert, Nova Scotia, put on Draft TA 126 Embarkment for Canada; very long range (VLR). On June 20, 1945 AC-1 Puffer was struck-off-strength from RCAF Station Debert to No 1 “Y” Depot, Debert, Nova Scotia. June 21, 1945 he was taken-on-strength to No 1 “Y” Depot, Debert, Nova Scotia. AC-1 Puffer would have Disembark at Halifax about June 25, 1945. June 29, 1945 AC-1 Puffer was granted 30 days Disembarkation Leave to July 28, 1945.
July 1, 1945 AC-1 Puffer was promoted to the rank of Leading Aircraftman (LAC) and granted the trade of AEM (TTS) B he was also qualified for remuster to the Allied Central Mediterranean Force (ACMF) although it was not actioned. September 20, 1945 LAC Puffer is struck-off-strength from RCAF Station Debert to No 1 “Y” Depot, Moncton, New Brunswick and taken-on-strength. Also on September 20, 1945 LAC Puffer completed a “Statement Of Loss Of Identification Discs/Cards”. The form text is: I hereby certify that I lost my Identification Discs/Card on or about June 18, 1945 while with the RCAF. The circumstances surrounding the loss are as follows: Canadian Identity Card returned, Discs lost on return trip to Canada. Signed – R.N. Puffer September 29, 1945
No 1 “Y” Depot, Moncton N.B.
September 22, 1945 LAC Puffer has an Interview at Moncton: he indicated that he wishes to take on the job training in draughting; he was trained as an aero engine mechanic, overseas from October 1944 to June 1945 and as a crew member on aircraft maintenance; his Service record indicates good learning ability and high mechanical aptitudes; it was recommended that he have Vocational Training or return to his former employment. Also, on September 22, 1945 LAC Puffer’s Medical Board Proceedings stated that it was a Non-Medical Discharge and there was no hospitalization during his term of Service. During his Service he had extensive dental worked done which included a number of extractions and fillings. September 25, 1945 LAC Puffer is discharged from the RCAF (Reserve) Special Section “on completion of a term of voluntary service during an emergency” and transferred to the RCAF (Reserve) General Section, Class “E”. He ceases to occupy Government quarters and ceases rations. LAC Puffer is entitled to a Clothing Allowance and a Rehabilitation Grant and he received his War Service Gratuity of $281.08. His address on discharge is: 197 Brock Street, Peterborough, Ontario.
Leading Aircraftman Norman Ralph’s Military File indicates that he was eligible to receive the following Medals:
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp; and
War Medal 1939 – 45.
He also received War Service Badge, Class A, 689207 on November 16, 1945.
LAC Puffer indicated that he wanted his Medals sent to: c/o Bank of Montreal; Frankford, Ontario.
According to Aircraftman Norman Ralph Puffer’s Military File he served a total of 2 years and 22 days with the Royal Canadian Air Force: 1 year, 4 months and 10 days in Canada; 8 months in the UK and 14 days travel time.
An excerpt from an article in Maclean’s by Barbara Ameil, September 1996:
”The Military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to die for your nation. What could be more honorable”.
Norman Ralph Puffer was born on a farm in Clarina, Ontario on November 14, 1924, son of Russell Elmer Puffer, born in Norwood, Ontario and Mabel Beatrice Ivey, born in Norwood. Norman Ralph went by the name “Ralph”. Ralph grew up on Stoney Lake Road (County Road 6), just below Puffer’s Road. He went to a one-room schoolhouse at the top of the Hill (Puffer’s Hill).
Ralph attended School Section Number 9 (S.S. #9), Dummer and the Lakefield and District High School and completed Grade 11. He was schooled in English and could read French. Ralph played hockey, baseball and football; his hobby was aero plane modelling. Just prior to enlisting Ralph worked at the Canadian General Electric Company for two years where he did bench work and assembly. After the War Ralph was a Banker with the Bank of Montreal for 45 years.
Norman Ralph Puffer married Helen Jean Millar, born November 30, 1925 in Lakefield, Ontario; Helen Jean went by “Jean”. Ralph and Jean had two children: Malcolm Ralph, born February 16, 1959 and Jill Elizabeth, born April 3, 1961.
Norman Ralph Puffer died March 5, 1993 at Burlington, Ontario; age 68 years. Helen Jean Puffer (Millar) died June 15, 2013 at Burlington, Ontario; age 89 years; both are buried in Lakefield Cemetery.
THE NORMAN RALPH PUFFER FAMILY OF CLARINA ONTARIO
Norman Ralph Puffer’s paternal grandparents are William Milford Puffer, born January 23, 1859 in Brighton Township, Northumberland, Ontario and Agnes Connell Cuthbertson, born September 11, 1865 in Glasgow, Scotland. William and Agnes had 10 children: Thomas; William Henry; Walter Bertram; John Wesley; Norman Ralph; Russell Elmer; Elizabeth Jane; Carmen Roswell; Clara May and Garfield Wellington. On March 1, 1915 William Milford Puffer traveled to Buffalo, New York USA to visit his brother Isaac Norwood Puffer.
William Milford died March 7, 1928 at Peterborough, Ontario age 69 years. Agnes Connell died September 28, 1948 in Ontario age 83 years; both are interred in the Norwood-Asphodel Cemetery in Norwood, Ontario.
Norman Ralph Puffer’s maternal grandparents are Robert Sampson Ivey and Emma Elizabeth Elliott farmed in the Asphodel Dummer Townships area and had a family of three children: Hartley Sampson; Robert Earl and Mabel Beatrice Ivey.
Norman Ralph Puffer’s parents were Russell Elmer Puffer, born April 13, 1896 in Norwood and Mabel Beatrice Ivey, born March 18, 1900 in Peterborough were married in Clarina, Ontario on November 24, 1920. Russell and Mabel had four children: Mildred Ruth Joye, born October 3, 1921; Norman Ralph, born November 14, 1924; Doreen, born July 11, 1929 and Marina, born March 11 1940. Russell was a WWI Veteran and on his return farmed and worked as an Electrician at the American Nepheline Mines, at the Nephton Mine, Nephton Ontario.
Mabel Beatrice Puffer (Ivey) died April 15, 1973 in the Civic Hospital, Peterborough; age 73 and Russell Elmer Puffer died March 25, 1976 in Peterborough; age 79; both are buried in the Norwood Asphodel Cemetery, Norwood, ON. Mildred Ruth Joye Louden nee Puffer died April 3, 2013 at Sherwood Park, Strathcona County, Alberta; age 91 and Doreen Murdy nee Puffer died May 23, 2014 at Peterborough Manor and is buried in Lakefield Cemetery.