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Plane Crew

Heroes Remember

We had a regular crew, had a pilot and a navigator. And then the engineers, ground engineers or air engineers did their daily checks or did their flight checks. We didn't generally fly in operations, the ground crew would, they would do that. But when the crews were short, the pilot might say "We're going on a long range, we need two or three extra, extra bods to come on to keep and eye on the.. ." So a crew was ground crew and air crew were separate but they were both under control of the same commander and he would say "Well, you know, we're going on a long flight, we need some observers we'll take a couple from the 38". Go along and you'd be watching the side and back while the other two crew were watching the map or their controls. So they just select a team that fit, what they thought would be a... Interviewer: So did you yourself ever go up on any of those operations? Oh yeah, oh yeah. Interviewer: Well what was that like? It's just, it's, it's an assignment to do what was required for that particular kind of operation. We'd send a mosquito over to, to work oil tanks or bridges or something. They would, they would take an observer along to keep an eye open for the, to watch for the Gerrys that were up on top of you. The navigator would be doing his instruments, the pilot would be doing his, doing his gunnery and the observer would be watching the skyline. And if there's maybe three or four airplanes, we might even have a keeper up under the clouds and he would be talking to us and he would say, he would say "Four bandits at four-o'clock". And so you'd..., 4 o'clock on your watch is over there and the Gerrys would maybe be coming in so. If you had an observer up on top, a pathfinder, he'd, you know, he would sort of help the crew out that way.

Mr. Miller describes a standard crew to a plane and a typical flying operation with four or five planes with them.

Douglas “Dusty” Miller

Mr. Douglas Miller was born near Blenheim, Ontario on March 12, 1919. There were four boys in the family all of whom served in the Second World War. He attended a technical school to learn aircraft technology prior to enlisting as he wanted to serve in the air force. After enlisting he trained in St. Thomas for about a year and was then posted overseas in Britain. He travelled by ship from Halifax to Britain and was posted to an airfield near Newcastle with a Canadian squadron of Bristol Beaufighters. The squadron was assigned to night fighting in an effort to ward off German bombers coming over to bomb Britain. Mr. Miller worked with the ground crew of this squadron and also served as an observer on flights from time to time. Before the end of the war he achieved the rank of flight sergeant.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Douglas “Dusty” Miller
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Flight Sergeant
Aircraft Rigger

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