Getting “Crewed Up!”

Heroes Remember

Getting “Crewed Up!”

You were “crewed up.” That was one of the first duties was to be “crewed up.” And that was a real, you know, it was a real exercise beyond belief. You were in a parking lot, an area like a parking lot and there were a couple of hundred guys there of all ranks and all trades and the big question was, “Are you crewed up yet?” And so this chap, I had red hair at the time and this fellow walked up to me, Blair McSwain from PEI, Allison, I believe he was from. He walked up to me and said, “Hey Red, are you crewed up yet?” And I said, “No,” and he said, “Where do you want to fly, tail or mid upper?” And I said, “Well, uh,” and he says, “I want the tail.” I said, “Well hell, that leaves the mid upper to me.” And he says, “See that tall Canadian captain over there, he’s looking for Canadians.” So he says, “Get the hell over there before somebody else nails him.” And so I went over and asked him if he was looking for another gunner and so he says, “Well, if you come with me I have a training program that you have to agree to or I don’t want you.” And so I said, “Oh, I’ll train, I’ll train, anything you say!” So I ended up with Tommy Groze from Wetaskiwin, Alberta, my lucky day and we ended up there were five Canadians and two Brits in our crew. And Tommy was a taskmaster. He was only a couple years older than me but man he put us through the ropes, let me tell you, all through training. The scheduled training wasn’t enough. He would do more, he’d demand more. So we ended up with a top crew when we eventually ended up on squadron. So he said at the time, “It’s the only way we are going to get through is to be the best.” And the navigator was… Jack Payne was his name. He was thirty three, he was an old man. And we’d say, “Jack, what the hell are you doing, you should be home by the fireplace instead of with us young guys.” He was a master at navigation. We were always in the midstream and that was the trick to stay in the middle of the stream. If you got out in the, sort of a loner and off course, you were easy pickings for the fighters so we would say that everybody just worked together. We had a tremendous crew. So that was one of the reasons that I’m here today.

Mr. Muir shares his experience of how he became part of his crew, considering this a very lucky day!

Fraser Muir

Fraser Alexander (Red) Muir was born on June 27, 1924, in Westville, Nova Scotia. Mr. Muir trained as an air gunner and received his wings at Mount Stewart, Prince Edward Island, in January 1943. He was seconded to the Royal Air Force (RAF) after arriving overseas in April, 1943, and was eventually posted to 50 Squadron, 5 Group, RAF Bomber Command based in England. Mr. Muir served as a mid upper gunner, and completed 35 operations over enemy territory, and had achieved the rank of warrant officer 2 at the end of the war. On returning to Canada, he returned to high school, and went on to complete a Bachelor of Commerce at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He was employed at Air Canada, retiring in 1983 after 30 years of service.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 3, 2012
Person Interviewed:
Fraser Muir
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
RAF 50 Squadron
Mid Upper / Tail Gunner

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: