The last time we saw each other was in May 1942, when my friend Farmer left Montreal bound for Moncton, and I was preparing to ferry a Catalina flying boat to Scotland.
In May 2002, I arrived at Manchester airport to find my old friend Farmer waiting for me at the arrivals gate, together with a throng of reporters from the BBC and the local newspapers.
After the interviews, Farmer and I settled down to some non-stop reminiscing and catching up on our respective lives. For the next couple of days our conversations started with "do you remember the time we ...?"
One of the highlights of our reunion was meeting Farmer's family for dinner. Fourteen of us sat down to a meal of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with Farmer's sons, daughters and grand-children, who wined us and dined us with love and affection.
A few days later, I drove to 202 RAF Squadron's base at Leconfield, East Yorkshire, for a re-union dinner with aircrew from my wartime squadron, many of whom I had not seen in nearly sixty years.
It was gratifying to hear that my book of memoirs, "The Last Generation," is held in high esteem by the present Squadron members, and to know that the same personal qualities are required of aircrews flying in the RAF of the 21st Century.
A fitting and characteristic reminder of the demands of active service was demonstrated when the Sea King on standby was suddenly called out for a rescue operation on Yorkshire's east coast. Its safe return was acknowledged with the terse report "mission accomplished."
A couple of days later I flew back to Canada to await the arrival of my old friend, Farmer, who will be visiting me in Cobble Hill during the first two weeks of June. My turn to act as host and to show Farmer some of the pleasures of living on beautiful Vancouver Island!