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Fuel was Critical

Heroes Remember

We had sweeps, we had dogfights. We were escorting bombers. I was on one of the first big raids of the B-17's. I think there were 12 aircraft. Twelve aircraft and it was... got a lot of publicity. Later on I was on raids where there were a thousand bombers. There was just a big white path in the sky of contrails. The Germans didn't need radar, they could just sort of see them coming and, of course, everybody was up there going hammer and tongs at it. By the time I was really getting into the sweeps, if we escorted bombers why the German fighters would hang back until we had to leave them. A lot of people perhaps don't realize how short of fuel a Spitfire might be if, particularly if you were engaged. And you carried 85 gallons in the aircraft. We didn't use overload tanks at that time, they weren't available to us. And if you used the throttle wide open you were using a hundred gallons an hour. But you only started with 85 and you would use some gas to get over France and you hoped you had enough gas to get back so sometimes, the fuel was always very critical.

Mr. Warren describes several of his combat tasks; sweeps (searching for targets of opportunity), dogfighting and bomber escort. The length of these missions was short due to the Spitfire's small fuel capacity and high consumption rate.

Douglas Warren

Douglas Warren was born on May 28, 1922 in Nanton, Alberta. His father, a farmer, was an isolationist emigrant from the United States. One of four children, Mr. Warren had an identical twin brother with whom he was very close. They had always wanted to fly, and enlisted in the Air Force in 1940. Mr. Warren completed his pilot training in High River, Alberta. Once overseas, he joined #165 Spitfire Squadron in Ayr, Scotland, and was involved in the air battle during the Dieppe Raid, as well as later flying cover on bombing raids. He then joined #66 Squadron at Falaise, France, flying the new SpitfireMK9B in ground attack operations. Mr. Warren was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war, Mr. Warren's exemplary career continued after permanently joining the RCAF. He became Fighter Leader for Canada's Meteor Jet Squadron, served in the Korean War, was a NATO pilot instructor in Germany, and served time with NORAD. Mr. Warren eventually became Assistant Base Commander at Comox from where he retired with the rank of Wing Commander.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
May 7, 1999
Person Interviewed:
Douglas Warren
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Western Europe
Air Force
166 Squadron
Wing Commander

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