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True Valour and Honour

Heroes Remember

True Valour and Honour

Transcript
Interviewer: When , Mr. James, when you think about the latter-day revisionists who are looking at the history of the time and have denigrated the contribution of strategic bombing, in general, and Bomber Command, in particular. When you think about what's being said now about that campaign, what's your reaction? I think that campaign was absolutely disgraceful. I think it was, first of all, I, I begrudge spending taxpayers money on it, which I think we did through the CBC. I think the, the men who produced it should be ashamed of themselves. They painted an entirely false picture of Bomber Command. And I'm sure the other services would say the same about their segment of the film. They, they seemed to zero in on Hamburg because Hamburg, I think, had a 100,000 casualties. But Hamburg was a big military base. And when you're bombing strategic targets, they're not all going to fall on the building that you've selected. And they completely forgot what was done in Rotterdam and Warsaw and London and Manchester and Liverpool, and Coventry. They just ignored that completely. I think they were just out there to try and destroy Bomber Command. And, unfortunately, it got a lot of showings. I understand there were copies put in schools. I'm not sure, but I understand there was, which would give a false picture to coming generations for one of the most dangerous jobs in the, during the war. Men who... They were willing to sacrifice their lives. They knew it was...The chances were, they weren't going to make it. No, I was very upset with it, and... Do you know the name, Jeannie Muldoon, mean anything to you? Interviewer: No, sir. She's a Londoner, and she'd been very much involved with air force. And she's a very, very well-spoken woman. Partly disabled, but you wouldn't know it with the work she does. And she actually made a tape to offset that "Valour and the Horror". And they did a fine job. In fact, I think she got some kind of an award for it. And it was just to point the finger at, at the inaccuracies of that "Valour and Horror" film. Interviewer: Mr. James, when you reflect back on the experience that you had with Bomber Command, and you think of the men that you've served with, what's your feelings now about the fact that no campaign medal was issued for Bomber Command? There again, I think it was a disgrace. I think as... I believe it was our Air Marshall Harris said that every cook,and candlemaker and whatever else, who stepped foot on the European continent, even though they might have been so far away from the fighting, they wouldn't even know what was going on, they all got their campaign medals. And Bomber Command, which really at one time was the only offensive arm that the Allies had, got nothing. I think it was a disgrace and I think it could still be rectified, but I don't expect they will. But I have never lost my admiration for the courage of the bomber crews, who went out night after night in, over enemy territory, knowing full well that their chances of surviving a tour of 30 operations were pretty slim. They didn't talk about it. I don't think they admitted it to themselves, sometimes, but I think they knew. And it's my understanding that something like 40 percent of aircrew actually completed a tour. And I think they were all heroes.
Description

Mr. James speaks against the portrayal of Bomber Command in the CBC production "The Valour and the Horror." He also shares his opinion on how disgraceful it is that no campaign medals were issued for Bomber Command.

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
Medium:
Video
Owner:
Veterans Affairs Canada
Duration:
04:36
Person Interviewed:
Albert James
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Branch:
Air Force
Units/Ship:
RAF Bomber Command
Rank:
Sergeant
Occupation:
Radar Mechanic

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