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I will go and visit them this year

Heroes Remember

I will go and visit them this year

They say that aircrews, the bond between them is stronger than the bond between brothers. And I think that, that's true because you lived together, you played together, you drank together, you fought together and they died together. So it's a bond that, crews that, that were not dealt with in this way. Their, their friendship today, is as strong as it ever was stronger perhaps. You know when you think back, and I can only really speak of Bomber Command, because I was with bomber command. There were 55 thousand people, aircrew, from Bomber Command that were killed, 55 thousand and that's about 50 percent of all aircrew, all Bomber Command aircrew. You know, I've known where they have been now for many, many years and I've avoided it. I was in, in the British Air Forces of Occupation for three years after the war, in Germany. And I used to travel to the American zone quite often, where this was, I always avoided it. I, I visited other concentration camps at, Dachau for example and at Belson. And I saw that sort of it and saw gas ovens and so on but I, for whatever reason, I have avoided going there. Even though, I've been to Munich, I didn't go down to Dimbach, which is 17 kilometres away. But I will this coming year. It's interesting you know, each February down at the United States Air Force Base, Minot, they have a ball, a military ball, and together with other people from Royal United Services Institute here. I've attended two or three of those. And the last two I've attended have taken place the anniversary of the day we were shot down. And somehow, the one that took place this year, February the 25th this year, they had got wind of this. And while I was sitting down to dinner it was the 63rd anniversary, the 61st anniversary of sorry the 63rd anniversary. No I'll get it right, the 61st anniversary of the day we were shot down. And they shone a spot light on and I had to stand up and people were applauding there, as to someone who had experienced this and this is the 61st anniversary of that occasion and that brought these guys back to mind, so much so, I said "I will go and visit them this year, this coming year."

Mr. Yeomans discusses the bonding among an air crew and his need for closure, as the only survivor when his Lancaster was shot down.

John Yeomans

Mr. Yeomans was born in Manchester, England. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was an apprentice electrical engineer. Too young to enlist, he was still involved as a firewatcher during the German air raids on his city, during which time he witnessed heavy destruction and numerous deaths. In 1941, Mr. Yeomans volunteered for the RAF, and went to South Africa, where he took Navigator training. His combat activity saw him take part in the bombing campaign against Berlin. Mr. Yeomans was the lone survivor when his Lancaster bomber was shot down and after spending a year in several different POW camps, he escaped and finally returned to England. After the war, he spent time in the RAF before moving to Canada as a flight instructor for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Yeomans
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Germany, The Berlin Series
Air Force
156 Pathfinder Squadron
Wing Commander

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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