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Comparing bombers

Heroes Remember

You go through the process of dismantling guns and putting them together and find out what they can do and what their capabilities are, what their muzzle velocity is, and all the things that go with that. And you had to strip them down, put them back together again, and look for stoppages, and all this type of thing. Y'know, it was good training, but they had got you, you know, in that mood right from the time you went in after the parade square. They, they had you, and they had you trained, and you were learn, gonna learn what you're gonna do. .303 Browning. That's the one that you did the most work on, but, actually, when you first started to fly, what you're using was the old Vicker's gas-operated, with the drum on the top. Yeah, and that was when you're in the Bristol turret too, on the back of the old Fairey Battles. Things that used to leak glycol all the time. So, you know, and that was the one that you worked the controls on, and you went up the seat and so did the guns, and then the guns went down. You went up... go the other way. But yeah, they had to load your own drum, but you were given a certain colour, the bullets were painted, like. So it's when, when you're shooting at the, at the drogue, yours would leave a mark on there, so when they dropped the drogue and then they, they would count how many holes in that belonged to you, because there was at least two of us go up at a time. You would fire 500 rounds or 300 rounds, and then the next guy would come up with his drum and put it in, and then he'd fire that. But, it, it was good when you were shooting at the target because that's all you were doing, that's all your mind was doing. You weren't paying any attention to the aircraft or anything else around you. You were concentrating on that drogue flying out there. And, of course, then you'd go into different positions because you'd do a crossover and back, but you had to shoot from different angles at the, at the drogue. And that's what you were going to do. See, the turrets weren't, weren't like they were on the bombers, because you couldn't swing them around like... it wasn't really a turret. It was just, get up and sit between them and shoot. And I got wings in the middle of October. That was quite an experience, the wings parade, because my father and mother went down to Rimouski and when I saw them, and then I asked the guy, the commander who was doing the ceremony, I asked him if my mother could pin the wings in. He, he said, "Yeah."So, mother did. And then dad pinned the sergeant stripes on your, on your arm. That was good, and they stayed in, around Rimouski over, over that period of time, and they actually, they came back...But he had a pass. Mom and him had a pass on the railroads, so it didn't really cost them anything to travel on the train. But that's about the first time dad had been ever anywhere to speak of. So, it was, it was nice. It was an emotional time for me. Still is.

Mr. Garrison describes different turret capabilities of the Halifax and Lancaster bomber.

Glenn Garrison

Mr. Garrison was born in 1925 in Sarnia, Ontario. His family moved to Blackville, Ontario, in 1930. Although his father was a boiler maker with the Canadian National Railroad, Mr. Garrison's family was poor. When old enough, he went to work in a factory, then enlisted in 1943. He received his Air Gunner training in Lachine, Quebec, then shipped overseas on the Mauritania. He was a member of 428 Squadron. The Mid-Upper and Tail gunner positions were extremely vulnerable and he was fortunate to survive many bombing missions over France and Germany. These missions included the bombing of submarine pens in Southern France and the industrial area of the Ruhr Valley. At the age of 18, Mr. Garrison returned to Canada with 43 missions to his credit. At 19, he became a flying instructor at Fingor, then CO of the Turrets and Gunnery school at Mountain view. Mr. Garrison and his wife live on a farm in Sarnia. He has his own air plane and is still flying.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Glenn Garrison
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Bomber Command
Air Force
428 Squadron
Flying Officer
Mid Upper / Tail Gunner

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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