The Day the Yanks Bombed Dawson (newspaper clip from The Standard)

Jump to: navigation, search

My father, Paul Reid, had an article written about his exploits in Dawson. I would like to share it with you as it is unique. The article was written by William Stephenson of The Standard newspaper (I do not know if this was a Dawson or Whitehorse newspaper). The following is verbatim from the newspaper cut-out I have:

Thanks for your time

John R. Reid Senior Advisor - Northern Energy Development

The 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 ---- spring!

Then disaster 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.