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Comparing bombers

Heroes Remember

If you want to talk air planes, there's, the, there was a, there was a difference between the Lanc and the Halifax. Halifax was the old workhorse and the, and the turrets were different. They were electrically operated and on the Lancaster they were hydraulic. So, but the Halifax never gets the credit that it should've got, it's just, it's sad because a lot of people, you know, were killed in the old Halifax, too, but they did a lot of bombings. They did far more than Lancaster, but yet the Lancaster gets the... It's the same way with the old Hurricane fighter. That was a backbone, they shot down more air planes than the Spitfire did. And where are they? They're history, but the Spitfire seems to be always the one, the Lanc's always the one that's out there. That's rather disappointing because I flew them both. I flew both the Halifax and the Lancasters. So I know that, you know, there is a difference, but... Interviewer: Can you tell me more about the differences between them, or...? Well, the, the old Halifax, they had four guns in the mid-upper territory, like, and it was, the turret wasn't as high as it was on the Lancaster. But it, it worked, with just like a joy-stick. And the firing button was right in the thing. In the top of the handle, the... but it was working so your guns would go up and down, so you... and, of course, they had fire interrupters so that you wouldn't shoot the tail off, because, ( inaudible) but anyway, that, that's the way, you know, it would interrupt the fire if you were going by the tail. But you know, it was, it was good actually. I enjoyed the, really, this. In the Lancaster, they had pistol grips like on a, on a bicycle and the triggers were in a, like a trigger as you would see in a gun, on a rifle. But they, they were the same, except that the bubble on the mid-upper turret on that was, was bigger, and you asked me a question about which one I liked the best... there's a question. Actually, the one on the Lancaster was better to see out of, especially the mid-upper. And, and actually it was the best riding one because you're just about in the middle of the air plane, you know, it didn't matter whether you, when you were going into a corkscrew, because you fall down two or three hundred feet and then roll over at the bottom back up the other side. It's that first throw-over that you... and the tail turret there, you'd just go up to the, you know, if you weren't strapped in you'd be up in, at the top of the turret. It just throws you right up. But the mid-upper, it was pretty well, just follow it down and back up again, but, you know? But the thing about mid-upper turret, you go 360 degrees, you go this way or that way, go where you like. And you could put it to the front, you know, and look ahead for a change instead of looking behind you all the time. See where you'd been. So that was one of the advantages, and you could look over the side, down, or anything with it. It was good. But the Lancaster only had two in the mid-upper, two guns in the mid-upper. But that, that was the best, actually, the most scenic place to sit, I'd say, if you're going to sit somewheres, you might as well sit and enjoy it. If it was a nice night, starry night it and that, it was beautiful sitting up there. And mid-upper, was it, you could turn around and you could see the engines. And if you were lucky, if you'd look ahead, there was an astrodome there where they, where they took the section shots at the stars and stuff for navigation. And once in a while you'd see the wireless operator come up and look, stick up his head into the astrodome so he could go... a little wave, but, no... But it was, it was, I don't know... Flying is, to me, is even another world.

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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