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Typical Flight Routine

Heroes Remember

Typical Flight Routine

Well, first of all, we would go and take a look at the battle order which was a list put out and tacked onto the wall about which crews would be flying that night. And while we didn't know what the target was at that early stage of the day, we could tell by the amount of petrol or gasoline that we knew was being put into the kite and we knew what sizes and how many bombs were going in. So if we saw that there was a lot of gas, you know, and so on, well we knew we had to go on quite a long trip if there was a lot of gas and light bombs. On the other hand, if there wasn't very much gas comparatively, we knew that it wasn't going to be a long, long trip. Now some trips that we went on were pretty long. In fact, to get to Stuttgart and back back was almost twelve hours. And at the end of twelve hours although you don't realize it, during that twelve hour trip, you are on the alert for twelve straight hours, no fooling around, no thinking of your next date, or anything like that. It was all business. And with seven men on the crew there was very little talking, extremely little talking. There was no kibitzing or anything like that. When we took off we were alert from the time we took off until we got back. Interviewer: And how was the weather a factor to your flight operations? Uh, big, the weather was a big deal because I remember taking off many times when the weather was very, very poor in England but at the same time in the continent there were some parts of Germany that we were going to bomb maybe it wasn't. We preferred to bomb a target that wasn't covered with cloud. But at the same time, we had a method of bombing through cloud, you know, by the bomb aimer. Although he couldn't see the target, he knew where we were and so on. But we preferred to bomb in the clear and at the same time it made us sitting ducks too.

Mr. McDonald explains the daily flight routine - checking battle orders and preparing for the flight. He also comments on how weather was a contributing factor to operational strategy..

Graham McDonald

Bernard Graham (B.G.) McDonald was born on December 26, 1920, and raised in Granby, Quebec. His family enjoys a long history in Granby. His grandfather, John Sr, who had emigrated from Ireland, was the first chief of police in the late 1800's. Bernard joined the Non-Permanent Active Militia in 1936 and when war broke out, he attempted to enlist in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in September 1939, but was turned down because there were too many volunteers. Mr. McDonald successfully enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in Montreal, Quebec, in October 1940, but had to delay his entry until February 1941 due to an outbreak of measles. He served with the Royal Air Force 103 (Black Swan) Squadron in Elsham Wolds, England, and completed 31 successful operations. Mr. McDonald was honourably discharged on June 26, 1946, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, as a flying officer and was stationed in Gander, Newfoundland, as the transport officer in charge of 164 Squadron. Shortly after this posting, he returned to civilian life to work as the advertising manager for the Miner Company in Granby. He married Connie, originally from London, England, in 1946 and together they raised three children. Mr. McDonald has been a member of the Royal Canadian Legion for 65 years.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 22, 2012
Person Interviewed:
Graham McDonald
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Bomber Command
Air Force
Wireless Air Gunner

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