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Forming a Crew

Heroes Remember

Before I even got onto the squadron, I was what they called a loose gun. I was just a wireless operator and I would fit in, once I went to training squadrons, I would fit in as a wireless operator if somebody wanted a wireless operator to be part of the team flying over doing their training like pilots and navigators, that they were doing their training and they wanted a wireless operator, they would call on me so until I got to a squadron I never really knew too much about operations. I ended up in a place called, it was called the 427, The Lion Squadron in Leeming, up in Yorkshire. There comes a time when they try to crew you up as a crew and how they did it in my circumstance, they brought all the new people into a big room and the pilot who's in charge, he was in charge of the plane, he went around and picked out the crew. And he knew I was a wireless operator because on my battle dress jacket, there was a half a wing with the word WAG on it. So he said to me, "Are you crewed up?" "No." "Do you want to become a member of my crew?" "Sure." So I become his wireless operator and then he went around and picked a pilot and navigator, a bomb aimer, flight engineer, mid upper gunner and a rear gunner so now we were all together and, you know, it was kind of, it was just like a wedding. We were so elated to be together, here we are, we're a bomb aimer, we're a bomb aimer crew and so there was a funny, different, feeling about the whole episode. Now we're a bomber crew, now we're getting prepared to do our job which was flying over Europe and dropping our bombs. But we had to do a lot of basic training. The pilot would land on the Halifax Bomber that we were on, practice landing and take off with an empty load and with a bomb load, dummy bomb load so he could get the feel of the airplane. The navigator practiced his job and so we took about a month training.

Mr. Carter-Edwards describes his role as wireless air gunner and how they formed their crew.

Ed Carter-Edwards

Edward (Ed) Carter-Edwards was born on April 2, 1923, in Montréal, Quebec, and was raised in Hamilton, Ontario. He enlisted in August 1942, and then joined 427 (Lion) Squadron, 6 Royal Canadian Air Force Group, in Leeming, England. He was a wireless operator air gunner and completed 21 successful missions in a Halifax bomber. On his 22nd mission, Mr. Carter-Edwards was shot down near Paris. He was betrayed to the Gestapo by a collaborator, threatened with execution and forced into the Fresnes prison, near Paris. He spent five weeks in the prison in 1944 followed by a five-day trip in a French cattle car to the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp. He was there for three and a half months as one of 26 Canadians - 168 allied airmen in all. He was forced to participate in two death marches shortly before the end of the war. Once released from service and safely back home, Mr. Carter-Edwards returned to Hamilton and worked at the appliance manufacturer Westinghouse. He was married in 1946, and he and his wife raised three children.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 25, 2012
Person Interviewed:
Ed Carter-Edwards
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Bomber Command
Air Force
4th Medium Artillery Regiment
Wireless Air Gunner

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