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Radar Operated Rear Turret – Fatal Flight

Heroes Remember

Radar Operated Rear Turret – Fatal Flight

There was a message in from the Bomber Command Headquarters of that unit and it said, "Because you've been involved in this secret equipment trials you're not allowed to fly over Germany and France anymore because if you're shot down they might get this information from you." It didn't apply to me, of course, it just applied to the Bomber Crew. I guess they didn't think very much of a fighter pilot, what does he know, sort of thing. Anyhow, and Dick Healy was the Canadian. He said, "Well that's too bad," he said, "because I really wanted to finish my tour." And he'd got a DFC, I think, for his actions in the face of the enemy sort of thing. And the navigator who was an older man said,"Well" he said, "Dick, that's OK for you and I understand it but I'm married, I have children, I'm going to phone my wife and she's going to be delighted that I've been taken off Ops." Now with the understanding they're still going to do this training, which they were, which they understood. The next day we were out flying together and I often flew in close formation with them. And we were returning to base and all of a sudden, the nose dropped quite a bit and I thought he's going down very steeply but if I break away, they'll, when we land, the relationship was such they'll say, "Warren, what's the matter? Did you have too much to drink last night? You we're not keeping formation,” you know. But then I realized if I don't break away I'm going to crash and I just pulled back and he went in sort of right beside me and everyone was killed. Everyone was killed. I was terribly shaken up by it. And I remember it was in the middle of a field with cattle and the cattle were just running in all directions from where the aircraft had exploded as I pulled up and looked down again.

Mr. Warren is returning to base in formation with the radar equipped bomber, when the bomber suddenly drops its nose and plunges into a pasture, killing all aboard. Sadly, this was to have been the crew's last tour of duty.

Douglas Warren

Douglas Warren was born on May 28, 1922 in Nanton, Alberta. His father, a farmer, was an isolationist emigrant from the United States. One of four children, Mr. Warren had an identical twin brother with whom he was very close. They had always wanted to fly, and enlisted in the Air Force in 1940. Mr. Warren completed his pilot training in High River, Alberta. Once overseas, he joined #165 Spitfire Squadron in Ayr, Scotland, and was involved in the air battle during the Dieppe Raid, as well as later flying cover on bombing raids. He then joined #66 Squadron at Falaise, France, flying the new SpitfireMK9B in ground attack operations. Mr. Warren was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war, Mr. Warren's exemplary career continued after permanently joining the RCAF. He became Fighter Leader for Canada's Meteor Jet Squadron, served in the Korean War, was a NATO pilot instructor in Germany, and served time with NORAD. Mr. Warren eventually became Assistant Base Commander at Comox from where he retired with the rank of Wing Commander.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
May 7, 1999
Person Interviewed:
Douglas Warren
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
166 Squadron
Wing Commander

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