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He was supposed to come back and help me out.

Heroes Remember

He was supposed to come back and help me out.

Our parachute was just outside, in the aircraft but in a location where you could reach down and pick it up and put it on. I opened the door and reached down to get my parachute and I saw the mid upper gunner was heading out the front. He was supposed to come back and help me out and then head out the front. Anyway he didn’t so then I had to bail out of the aircraft. I had a new flying suit on it was the first one used, they gave it to me to test that night and it was very bulky. I had a hard time getting into the turret and a lot harder time getting out when I had to. But I got out and got hung up on my right leg. I got burned, you would never know it now, but I got burned. I came... it went into a spin and the centrifugal force pulled me out of the turret and I was able to pull my chute and I just pulled it and I landed in some trees. One tree, there was one tree, it was quite a copse, but there was only one tree and I landed in it. My chute wasn’t full open then. But I was just damn lucky. The aircraft was oh, about two hundred yards away from me burning on the ground and the ammunition started to go off and I thought I gotta get outta here. Which I did. I dropped out of the tree and left the parachute there, of course, and just took off to get as far away as I could before the thing blew. Four of the other guys got out but the pilot and bomb aimer flew in. They died because I didn’t go by, which is something that I’ve never been able to live down. But I couldn’t help it. I tried to get through on the intercom and it was dead. They waited too long for me and they flew in. The skipper as I say was an Aussie. Great guy, wonderful guy. The bomber, he was a pretty good head too. But the skipper was top notch. Not only as a pilot but as a man. I haven’t lived it down to this day. Terrible, almost weep when I think about it.

Mr. Fawcett describes escaping from his disabled bomber despite the failure of the Mid-Upper Gunner to help him, and how he is haunted by the deaths of two crew mates.

Charlie Fawcett

Mr. Fawcett was born June 15, 1922 and grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He first became interested in planes when his father took him to Regina to go for a ride in one. It was this early interest in aviation that led him to sign up with the air force in 1942. He received gunnery training at Dafoe, SK and from there went overseas in the latter part of 1942. He chose to be a rear gunner as it was the fastest way to get overseas. Once in England he was assigned to an RAF squadron, stationed in Yorkshire, that consisted of an Australian pilot and an all English crew. In 1943, while on a trip to Czechoslovakia, they were shot down over Germany by a Messerschmitt. After bailing out of the aircraft Mr. Fawcett landed in a tree. The following day he was taken prisoner by the Germans. Over the next 2 ½ years he was interned in three different POW camps. Mr. Fawcett remained a POW until the end of the war.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Charlie Fawcett
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Bomber Command
Air Force
158 Squadron
Rear Gunner

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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