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Heroes Remember

Every mission could be a, a story. But the one that, really, is the, the only time that I came to bailing out of that one. And if you know the rear, the tail-turret and the mid-upper are part near-dead people, to start with, because you very seldom ever got out of there, very seldom, unless the air plane was still stable. Because in, in the tail-turret, you're locked in. You got, you got the doors, and, and they lock it at the back... and you slide in, you slide in feet first on two railings, and you slip in there. I used to undo the flying boots, just in case. Close the doors, and you're in there. And your parachute is hanging in the inside of the fuselage. Same with mid-upper, his is hanging down on the side of the fuselage, too, held in by two bungie cords. So, the minute you've been hit or something or other, what happens? Hydraulic system's gone. So in the tail-turret, how are you going to get out? You had, there was, there was a little handle, a little gear down here and you just engaged it and wound it back, trying to get the turret straight. Reached behind you trying to get the doors unlocked. And lean back and pick up the parachute off the rack. Snapped on the two snaps on your chest. Crank the tail-turret around to the side and bail out blackwards, backwards . Pretty near impossible. And the same with mid-upper. You sat on a little seat of about yay wide, and you got all your flying clothes on, you got an inner suit, you've got underwear on, you've got an inner flying suit on, and I have, you have a turtle-neck sweater on, and you have slippers on that are hooked up for the hydro, and into the air plane when you plug it in, you had juice going into the... Same with the gloves, they had heated gloves. And the suit was kind of heated up. And then the big heavy old canvas type of a suit, on the outer, outer suit. And, you know... and you only got such a small space to get in and out of. And then to go in the mid-upper turret, you had to go up a ladder. You'd have to climb down, get your parachute on, go and find the door that you can jump out. I don't know... people just... not too bad at the front. They're fine at the front, the escape hatch is right there, they can just kick the door out, and you could bail out through the door. And that's what they do, the bomb-aimer and the, and the navigator and all went through the front. But those two little fellas at the back there, they haven't got much chance, I'm afraid. But the only time, as you were asking about the trip, which we were down doing a job on some submarine pens down in St. Nazaire and, and coming back we got a fire in the nose of that thing. And we were over the English Channel, and of course the front was gone pretty well off the, of the nose , and was the only time that I got close enough... And you, you have a one-man dingy, hitching a snap, a snap on the harness and then you had the door open, and that was the closest I've ever come to just waiting for them to say "abandon ship." But I wouldn't have lasted once I hit the water. That Channel's cold and you don't know where you are, nobody knows where you are. You get a "may-day" out, it's ok. Might be lucky if you get the PT boats to come along and pick you up.

Mr. Garrison describes the plight of Upper-Mid and Tail Gunners when a bomber is going down.

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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