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Heavy Losses in Bomber Command

Heroes Remember

Heavy Losses in Bomber Command

Interviewer: During the time that you were with the New Zealand Squadron and 3 Group, were you aware of the losses that were being taken? Oh, yeah. Interviewer: What affect would that have on the morale of the station? It didn't seem to affect it. I remember one night, we sent eight aircraft on a mining mission. And mining missions were usually considered, like, a milk run and usually there was very little problem when they took a mining mission. And we lost seven aircraft out of the eight. It just happened. I, I never did understand. I never did know what happened. I presume they ran into a flock of German fighters. But the next morning, I was sitting in the sergeant's mess, having breakfast and there was a New Zealand... I think he was a navigator. He was a Maori. Is that how you pronounce it? He was sitting there eating his breakfast. You wouldn't think that he'd been on a bus ride, let alone he'd been on the mission last night. And he was in the only crew that survived. No, I didn't sense any loss of morale. They knew by the empty seats in the mess who was gone. They just seemed to take it as part of the game.

Mr. James recalls the affect the losses in Bomber Command had on the #75 New Zealand Squadron, describing the state of a survivor of a 'milk run' that claimed 7 of 8 planes.

Albert James

Mr. Albert James was born in London, Ontario, on April 3, 1919. He attended school there until grade 13, before beginning work with D.H. Hauden and Co. - including years spent in the war, he stayed with the company for over 43 years. In 1940, Mr. James joined the London Militia, and on April 28, 1941, was called to report to the RCAF. After 4 weeks basic training in Toronto, a 14 week radio course at University of Toronto, and 5 weeks training at a RAF radio school in Clinton, he was posted overseas as a radar mechanic. He would eventually land in Gourock, Scotland, on November 23, 1941. From there Mr. James spent a short time in Yatesbury before being posted to #3 group, 115 Squadron with RAF Bomber Command. There he installed, tested, and maintained G radar - a new technology, introduced to aid in navigation, that would revolutionize bombing. In the fall of 1942, Mr. James was selected for project Mandrell and was sent to London to help assemble, and learn to maintain, new radar jamming units. He and other mechanics returned to RAF #3 Group to service the new units for squadrons in the area. Eventually he was promoted to corporal, and put in charge of one of the servicing units. In July 1943, Mr. James was promoted to Senior NCO in charge of the radar section for #75 New Zealand Squadron - RAF Bomber Command. He would remain as an administrator for the remainder of the war, returning to Canada on August 25, 1945. He received his discharge in October, and immediately returned to work.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Albert James
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
RAF Bomber Command
Radar Mechanic

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