Olive Leona May Stone (1921-1982)

Royal Canadian Air Force N0. W310476 (1942-1944)


Olive Leona May Stone was born to George Stone and Susannah Bailey of Lower Lance Cove, Trinity Bay, NL, Canada, on May 21st, 1921.

In 1921, Lower Lance Cove was a typical fishing village on the coast of Newfoundland. The village is located on the north side of Random Island and at the time, only accessible by boat. There were no public services or utilities, or in other words, no electricity, no central heating, no plumbing and minimal connection with the outside world. Although there is no census data available for 1921, the census of 1894 has 13 families living at Skimmer’s Cove, while in the 1935 census, Lower Lance Cove had a population of 180 in 30 households. It is reasonable to assume that about 20 families resided at Lower Lance Cove in 1921.

My first visit to Lower Lance Cove, that I can remember, came in the summer of 1949. My memories suggest that little had changed since 1921. When the sun went down, it got dark and you went to bed. Bedrooms were on the second floor and each bedroom contained a chamber pot. In 1949, there was a connection with the outside world, which came in the form of an AM radio. The radio was powered by a dry cell battery, which was only connected when radio station CJON (St. John’s) was broadcasting the evening news. The broadcast included the whereabouts of the coastal boats, which visited the coastal communities during the open water season. The small roadways were full of children and no cars. There was no crime and no police. Random Island did not get connected to the Island of Newfoundland until 1952, when a causeway was built at “the bar”, a shoal at the Northwest corner of the island.

Olive was the third child of George and Susannah. The first child was Clement, who was born in 1907, and was 14 years old when Olive was born. By the time Olive became aware of Clement, he was already out fishing.

The second child was Harvey, who was born in 1909. Harvey was 12 years old when Olive was born. Sadly, Harvey passed in the winter of 1922, when Olive was just 1 year old. Then, in the summer of 1923, Susannah gave birth to a daughter named Bertha, who passed at just 6 months in the winter of 1924.

A brother, Gilbert was born in the summer of 1924, when Olive was 3 years old. In the summer of 1929,  Eldred was born, but sadly Eldred passed at 1 month old.

Olive would consequently grow up with Gilbert, while her older brother Clement was very likely away a lot, especially during the fishing season.

In the above photo, Olive is about 9 years old, with 2 cousins who lived next door.

After finishing high school, Olive remained at home with her family, until the spring of 1942, when she moved to St. John’s. Shortly after her arrival in St. John’s, Olive went to work for the White Clothing Company, a company that made clothing.

Olive completed her application (Attestation Paper) to join the Royal Canadian Air force on February 8th, 1943,

In 1943, the RCAF denied women the oportunity to fly planes because it was considered too dangerous for woman.

On June 2nd, 1943, at St. John’s, Olive enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. She is 22 years old. Interestingly, the next day on June 3rd, she started 21 days of “leave without pay”. I suspect that she decided to go home to Lower Lance Cove and spend time with her family before reporting for duty.

On June 24th, 1943, Olive is posted to “No. 7 Manning Depot” at RCAF Rockliffe, near Ottawa. Olive enters basic training as a Tradeswoman”, with a rank of AW2 (Air Woman 2nd Class).

On July 2nd, 1943, Olive started “Parachute Rigger” training.

“A parachute rigger is a person who is trained or licensed to pack, maintain or repair parachutes. A rigger is required to understand fabrics, hardware, webbing, regulations, sewing, packing, and other aspects related to the building, packing, repair, and maintenance of parachutes.”

SOURCE: https://www.silverhawkauthor.com/post/canadian-military-parachute-riggers-i-will-be-sure-always-


“As experts in their vocation Canadian Armed Forces Riggers are proud and confident in their work. Duty, loyalty, integrity and courage are exemplified in the daily responsibilities of a Parachute Rigger. Their motto “I Will Be Sure Always” is instilled in every parachute packed, repair made, or inspection completed.”

SOURCE; https://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2021/mdn-dnd/D3-35-4-4-eng.pdf

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583064)

RCAF Airwomen demonstrating parachute packing technique, RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario, 27 October 1943.

SOURCE; https://www.silverhawkauthor.com/

On July 22nd, 1943, after completion of basic training, Olive is posted to RCAF No 2 Composite Training School in Toronto.

Olive attended a picnic at Hanlon’s Point in the Toronto islands on July 24th, 1943.

Olive completed her training at No 2 Composite Training School RCAF Toronto on August 12th, 1943. Olive is second from the right in the back row.

On August 13th, 1943, Olive arrives at No. 1 “Y” Depot in Halifax, Nova Scotia. No. “1” Y Depot was sort of a holding unit in Halifax, where you waited for your next posting. 

On September 10th, 1943, Olive is posted to #4 Repair Depot at Scoudouc, New Brunswick.

One of the activities carried out at Scoudouc was “drop testing parachutes”. Parachutes were strapped to 500 lb. dummies and quite literally pushed out of a “Norsemen” aircaft. How the chutes behaved was observed and recorded. Following drop, the parachutes were collected and inspected.

RCAF Air Station Scoudouc, New Brunswick

On September 24th, 1943, Olive is promoted to AW1 (Air Woman 1  Class.)

On the 4th of January, 1944, Olive is promoted to LAW (Leading Air Woman), and on January 7th, 1944, she is posted to RCAF Station Dartmouth.

On the 4th of August, 1944, Olive is posted to No. 1 Technical Training School at St. Thomas, Ontario.

On the 24th of August, 1944, Olive is again posted to RCAF Station Dartmouth.

On the 12th of September, 1944, Olive Leona May Stone of Lower Lance Cove, Random Island, Trinity Bay, NL, married Hayward Young of Stephenville Crossing, NL. Hayward was stationed at HMS Seaborn, a Royal Naval Air Station located at RCAF Station Dartmouth.

Hayward and Olive were married at Christ Church in Dartmouth.

On the 18th of November, 1944, Olive is discharged from the RCAF at her request.

Following their wedding, Hayward and Olive lived in Eastern Passage, near Dartmouth. In late October, 1945, Hayward returned to HMS Victory in England, while Olive remained in Easter Passage, until the spring of 1945, when when she returned to Lower Lance Cove on Random Island in Trinity Bay, NL.

On December 6th, 1945, likely in anticipation of his release from the Royal Navy, Hayward was assigned to Royal Naval Station Avalon III at St. John’s, NL. 

Officially, Hayward’s release date was April 26, 1946, but there may have been accumulated leave or simply an earlier (unofficial) departure. We do know that his discharge was effective on February 14, 1946, when Hayward returned to Newfoundland. 

Sometime in the spring of 1946, Hayward and Olive travelled to Stephenville Crossing, the small town on the west coast of Newfoundland where Hayward grew up.

Olive Leona May Stone died of ALS on June 11, 1982. She was 61 years old.