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Pursuing the Germans after El Alamein

Heroes Remember

Pursuing the Germans after El Alamein

Transcript a good time because they were moving and we had all the...we seemed to have full force. Lots of air planes, you know. The whole thing sort of turned around eh. Yeah, we had three wings of Kittyhawks and several of Hurricanes and there was the bombers. Many light bomber squadrons. And we even had some heavy bombers that were flying on a Palestine, and some night fighters, night bombers. It looked like we were in command. This is the first time I felt that we were in a war. We weren’t just running away. First time. And they were on the run. At one period, when the Alamein broke and they headed back, we had some bad weather otherwise, they could probably have wiped them all out before they got to Tubruq. But once they got scattered up there, they were also experienced desert fighters, too, with Rommel and they had to leave a lot of things, but they made it hard for us.

Mr. Edwards describes the aftermath of the battle that, in his opinion, finally gave the Allies the upper hand in the Desert Campaign.

James Francis Edwards

Mr. Edwards was born on a farm near Lockwood, Saskatchewan on June 5th 1921. His father, a First World War Veteran, kept horses until the depression forced him to move the family to Battleford where he became an insurance salesman. His mother had been a nurse during the First World War. In June 1940, Mr. Edwards enlisted in the Air Force. He was sent to the Brandon, Manitoba to do his Initial Training, then to Edmonton, Alberta for Flying School. After completing Flying School, Mr. Edwards was sent to overseas. He was assigned to 55 Operational Training Unit in Osworth, England where he flew Hurricanes. From there he was posted to Africa to take part in the Desert Campaign. Among many battles and operations, he took part in the El Alamein Battle (Egypt) and the Tunisian Campaign. In Egypt, he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant. After a period in Cairo running a gunnery school, he was called back to combat in Italy. There he fought in the Battle of Ortona and Anzio and he was given his own squadron, the RAF 274. He was shot down on his first flight as squadron commander. Surviving, he and his crew were sent back to England to take part in D-Day. He would also fight in Holland and Germany. In total, Mr. Edwards served two tours of duty, flying over 360 missions. He had more than 19 confirmed kills. After the war was over he returned to Canada and continued service with the air force retiring as a wing commander.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
James Francis Edwards
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Desert Campaign
Air Force
RAF 260 Squadron
Sergeant Pilot

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