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From Battle School to Squadron

Heroes Remember

From Battle School to Squadron

When we got to England, we went to No. 6, 6 Group Battle School at Dalton, Yorkshire, and we trained there and before that, the station before that, it was a receiving station. They picked about 36 of us out one morning and we went right to battle school and from there we went right to squadron. We didn't go to OTU where usually you were crewed up but we were sent right to squadron and I was lucky enough to get involved with a wonderful crew, all Canadians, and I flew about 20 trips with them and hree of them are still living as far as I can determine and we had a real good skipper, really a good guy. And there again, I was the youngest in the crew and the skipper was the oldest, I don't know how old he was but I would say in '44, he was likely about 26 or 27... you know the way he... And I completed a tour of 32 trips and I finished my tour in Willy the Wolf, and the nose panel of Willy the Wolf is in our national museum up on the wall with about ten other nose panels. So when I go over there I see Willy again! Gee, I often think of those days, you know. Interviewer: I bet! And what type of aircraft would you be in at this time? Halifax Mark III - overshadowed by the Lanc as the Hurricane was with the Spitfire. But good aircraft, brought me back 32 times, you know, and it was a sturdy aircraft and oh it was good, it was good.

Mr. McLean speaks about becoming a member of the crew holding position of mid upper gunner.

John “Jack” McLean

John (Jack) Caldwell McLean was born on June 1, 1925, in Port Elgin, Ontario. He moved to Hull, Quebec, with his family at age 12, and then eventually settled in Ottawa, Ontario. He enlisted at 55 Queen Street in Ottawa on September 15, 1943, and joined 415 (Swordfish) Squadron, Bomber Command, as an air gunner on an all-Canadian crew. Number 6 Group consisted of 14 squadrons on 7 airfields in Yorkshire, England. Mr. McLean ended the war as a flying officer (FO), after completing a tour of 32 trips. He was also a volunteer for “Tiger Force.” He enjoyed a successful career in the public service at the Department of Finance, the Treasury Board Secretariat, and Indian and Northern Affairs. He was married on May 15, 1948, and raised a family of five. Mr. McLean is a member of Branch 593 of the Royal Canadian Legion (Bells Corners), and is a member of the Air Force Association.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 22, 2012
Person Interviewed:
John “Jack” McLean
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Bomber Command
Air Force
415 Squadron
Mid Upper / Tail Gunner

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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