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Bombing and Gunnery School, Staff Pilot

Heroes Remember

Bombing and Gunnery School, Staff Pilot

Well we, we were sent to, after our leave, we went back to Rockcliffe in Ottawa and hung around there until we were posted. I was sent down to a bombing and gunnery school outside of Belleville called Mountain View as a staff pilot. First thing I had to do, was start flying Ansons, I'd never flown twin engines before. So I flew Ansons in that bombing flight where they taught bombers, or bomb-aimers I should say, and then I moved over to another flight called drogue flight where they used to tow targets for air gunners and there we flew Lysanders. And I became the CO of that flight and eventually we changed from flying Lysanders to flying Bolingbrokes which were a twin engine aircraft, well they had been operational early in the war. The air gunners were being trained there were flying in the Bolingbrokes, with a turret and they were earlier on they had been firing at a target towed by a Lysanders which was slow, so they eventually decided they could tow a drogue out of a Bolin Bolingbroke, so the speed was more comparable to the gunners. So I stayed there until the end of the war and then I got my discharge.

Mr. Spear describes being posted to a bombing and gunnery school in Mountain View, Ontario as a staff pilot.

Allen Maxwell Spear

Mr. Spear lived in Sussex, New Brunswick, before attending Business College in Saint John - he worked in Bathurst, New Brunswick, for a number of years before joining up. Mr. Spear had not enjoyed his Army camp experience in high school and was attracted to joining the Air Force, particularly as a fighter pilot, because of the recognition the Air Force was receiving in the Battle of Britain. He joined as soon as the Air Force lowered the education requirements to high school which allowed him to qualify. After much basic and initial flight training, Mr. Spear was excited to begin Spitfire training in England in fall 1941. In early 1942, he was stationed to North Africa. The camp locations changed often as the RAF and German Air Forces leapfrogged back and forth across the desert. A few months later (July 1, 1942), his engine gave out during a mission. He landed his plane behind German lines, was captured as a POW, and was shipped to Sulmona, Italy for internment. In September 1943, when the Italians capitulated, the POWs at the Sulmona camp escaped. Mr. Spear, along with two other Canadian POWs managed to escape by travelling along the mountains, avoiding the valleys where they were more likely to run into Germans, until they met up with other Canadian troops in November 1943. After being shipped back to England, Mr. Spear was returned to Canada to serve as a Staff Pilot at a Bombing and Gunnery School in Mountainview, Ontario. A post he held until the end of the War, at which time he was discharged.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Allen Maxwell Spear
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Warrant Officer
Staff Pilot

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