As It Happens

Gramophone memorial tour will pay tribute to lost WWII Air Force members

For years Jay Pinto has been travelling in Europe playing 1940s music on his gramophone as a way to remember Royal Canadian Air Force members who fought and died in Europe during WWII. Now he, and his gramophone, are coming to Canada.
Jay Pinto has been travelling in Europe playing 1940s music on his gramophone as a way to remember Royal Canadian Air Force members who fought and died in Europe during WWII. Now he, and his gramophone, are coming to Canada. (Courtesy of Jay Pinto)
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People in the town of Wilnis, in the Netherlands, will never forget.

On May 5th, 1943, a Canadian bomber was hit by enemy fire and heading straight into the centre of the town. That's when its pilot, Robert Moulton, steered the doomed aircraft away and crashed in the nearby countryside. Warrant Officer Moulton and his crew died that day near Wilnis. They are still remembered as heroes.

Jay Pinto grew up near Wilnis. For years, the 46-year-old has attended memorial ceremonies and turned the crank on his 1935 portable gramophone in tribute of Robert Moulton and other Canadians who lost their lives fighting in Europe during the Second World War. 

"They love it," Pinto tells As It Happens host Carol Off of the crowd reaction when he plays from the gramophone at memorial services. “Everybody of any age -- young and old -- they just enjoy it.”

Now, his gramophone is on display at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

This spring, he's planning to tour Royal Canadian Air Force bases with it, including a stop in Brockville, Ontario, where Moulton was born and raised.