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Bomber Raid Into Germany

Heroes Remember

Bomber Raid Into Germany

It was normal until we were on the bombing run and we were informed by our information, as far as they knew, that the Germans didn’t have effective radar at that time to control search lights and that search lights had to search for aircraft. Well, that was not the case, as a matter of fact, because we were on our bombing run, flying straight and level, when suddenly we were coned in a whole lot of powerful blue search lights that must have been radar controlled or something, because they were pointed right at us before they were turned on and this happened instantly. Of course it was very disturbing, I had to do evasive action because then heavy flak started bursting all around us. And as a matter of fact, we had the bomb doors open and the bombs still on, which left the aircraft not too manoeuvrable. And maybe over reaction on my part I’m not sure but anyway we went into an inverted spin and lost about... We were at 17,000 feet, I got it flying straight and level at 4000 feet, so we lost that much height, which is a couple of miles in a very short time. And we selected a target and dropped our bombs on it but one of the problems was that the controls were damaged to some extent and the airplane was uncontrollable as far as direction was concerned so we found ourselves flying further and further into Germany. And then we had, we would be saturated with light flak, we were fairly low altitude, and heavy flack too. And we had enemy recognition cartridges about a dozen of them. We’d fire one of those off and the anti-aircraft fire would cease until they did some kind of check, I suppose, then they would start up again.

Now a pilot with Bomber Command, Mr. MacLean has made six or seven bombing raids behind enemy lines, including one that sent a thousand planes to bomb Cologne in south Germany. Within a week of completing that mission, he is told that a smaller group of bombers would be sent to Essen. It would result in a dramatic chain of events for this young Canadian pilot.

John Angus MacLean

Mr. MacLean’s father was a farmer in eastern Prince Edward Island. His grandfather came to Canada from Scotland in 1832. Mr. MacLean had three brothers and four sisters. Two of his brothers died, one at the age of fiveand the other at the age of about one year. For the first two years of his higher education, Mr. MacLean attended Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. He went on to the University of British Columbia for his third year of study on a one-year scholarship, majoring in chemistry. In 1938, he returned to Mount Allison University to complete his studies and graduated in 1939. Following graduation, he answered a newspaper advertisement placed by the Royal Air Force for a short-term commission with the RAF. He was chosen as one of two successful Canadian candidates. But, before he could leave for England, the Second World War had started and he was offered a commission in the Royal Canadian Air Force, which he accepted. Mr. MacLean’s bomber was brought down over Germany and he and his crew were forced to bail out. Mr. MacLean landed just inside occupied Holland and was moved along the Comet Line through Holland, Belgium and France to freedom in Spain. He’s an excellent story-teller with emphasis on detail. Mr. MacLean also had an outstanding post-war career as a politician. He served for 10 terms as a Member of Parliament and a term as Premier of his home province of Prince Edward Island.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Angus MacLean
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Bomber Command

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