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Training and Deployment

Heroes Remember

Training and Deployment

We were posted from Bournemouth to advance flying unit, and that was in Wales, and that was a continuation of Ansons like we had at AOS and from the, the advanced flying unit we went to Upper Heyford and that's where we were crewed. And there are, we were posted there to Upper Heyford because our course of air bombers, the RAF needed, they needed air bombers. So at Upper Heyford when we were crewed, we were crewed up with the, there was only one Canadian and that was the air bomber and the rest were Brits. So from Upper Heyford then we were posted rather to the conversion from twins to four engines and that was at Scampton. And then it was there which we flew what we called the "shit Sterling" because it was designed with 110 foot wingspan and the RAF only had 90 foot hangers, so they just chopped the wings off and then by so doing, the performance of the Sterling would, dropped. But it, its undercarriage was unbelievable, it was very tall, and the pilots had an awful time adjusting because of the heights of the undercarriage and you had to board the Sterling with a ladder. And our skip, he wore out some battle dress just rubbing at his knees on flying it, you know, to take off, coming back and we would land after a trip and we just pretty well touch every inch of the ruddy runway; bump, bump, bump... To summarize it, when we were told that this was our final trip and we were, we'd graduate, we looked over and I for one was like a ten ton weight came off my shoulders and I don't have to fly those damn things again. So, and then we were posted, I personally was posted to 49 Squadron/5 Group, and the arrival that day was interesting in that here we just arrived on the station and there was an air-raid in progress and I see this chap walking down one of the roads and I said, "Wh-what, who's that?" and they said, "Well that's the ground crew, he's going to get their tea." And no matter what, come hell or high water, the English had to have their tea, you know. Unbelievable.

Mr. Reid describes deployment on arrival in England. He discusses the difficulties presented by the Sterling Bomber, and his posting to 49 Squadron / 5 Group and bombing raid the day of his arrival.

Bill Reid

Mr. Reid was born on August 15, 1922, in Toronto, Ontario. His upbringing was middle class, and he disagreed with Hitler's ideology. As a consequence, and along with 5 friends, he decided to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force so that he might ‘learn to fly at the government's expense.' Ironically, government cutbacks cost him his ambition as a pilot and he was redeployed to bomber and gunnery school in Trenton. After sailing to England, Mr. Reid was eventually posted to Upper Hayford, where he trained on both Anson and Stirling bombers. He was finally posted to 49 Squadron, 5 Group and was the air bomber in a crew of seven aboard a Lancaster bomber.. Mr. Reid flew missions in both the German and Norwegian theatres. He retired from active service upon returning home with the rank of AC2, Flying Officer.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Bill Reid
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Bomber Command
Air Force
49 Squadron / 5 Group
Flying Officer
Air Bomber

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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