BORN IN Vancouver, BC.
Attended high school in Sarnia, Ontario…at Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical School (SCITS).
Was a Canadian Army cadet.
Became known and loved worldwide as Scotty, the Chief Engineer of the USS Enterprise, from the blockbuster, science fiction TV show hit, Star Trek.
Remember, "I am giving it all she has got, Captain!"?
"Beam me up, Scotty!"
What so many Canadians don't know is…long before Scotty arrived to command the Engineering section of the USS Enterprise, he had almost died after landing on JUNO BEACH to fight for CANADA on D-Day!
Scotty, rather JAMES DOOHAN was a lieutenant in the 13th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.
When the war started for Canada, in 1939, Doohan joined the Royal Canadian Artillery. In 1940 he was sent for supplemental training to the United Kingdom. He didn't actually see any action though until four years later! That was on D-Day ( June 6, 1944) when James was among the Canadian landing forces that stormed Juno Beach in Normandy, France.
After taking out two German snipers, James led his regiment right through a sea of anti-tank mines, up to higher ground where they took up their first-day defensive positions against the Nazis. At day's end, just before midnight, James left his command post after wrapping up a planning session with other regiment leaders—when he was intercepted there in the dark, by a Canadian sentry.
The Canadian kid was extremely nervous, hot on the trigger, and subscribed to the personal philosophy of machine gun first…check credentials later.
James Doohan, Scotty, was hit by six bullets. Down, he went.
Four in the leg.
One to the chest that was miraculously stopped cold—by a silver cigarette lighter that had been a parting gift from James's brother. It saved Scotty's life.
The final bullet went through his middle, right, finger…which had to be amputated.
And James Doohan who was more worried about his potential for drowning, when the landing crafts were bringing the Canadians ashore, than about being shot by the Nazis, was now in the fight for his life.
It took a while, but James did recover from his injuries. At that point, he was received his new orders and was trained as a pilot in 666 (wtfd?) AOP Squadron, RCAF.
Doohan retained his status as a Royal Canadian Artillery officer in support of Number 1 Canadian AGRA (Army Groups Royal Artillery). All three of the Canadian AOP-RCAF squadrons were manned by Artillery Officer-Pilots, of which Doohan was one. Canadian Army, and RCAF personnel, flew with these special artillery pilots, while only serving as observers.
And one day came the crazy…
Doohan, in the late spring of 1945, north of RAF Andover, on the Salisbury Plain slalomed his Taylorcraft Auster Mark IV—between mountainside telegraph poles and the mountain…to the utter amazement of numerous witnesses in attedance.
Nobody had thought the b** s*** crazy aerial feat could be done.
Doohan was true to his word. He did it…just like he had told everyone, he could.
Finally, when he landed, James would have to endure a serious dressing down.
As news spread of his flying stunt, Officer Doohan was thereafter appropriately saddled with the moniker, "the craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Forces."
But, most didn't realize that James Doohan had remained an officer in the Royal Canadian Artillery, even as a pilot. Doohan served many times alongside the RCAF, but was never in it.
Friday, October 8, 2010
BORN IN Vancouver, BC.