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Flying a Mustang

Heroes Remember

From Bournemouth I went on to an advanced flying unit and while I was there, I've forgotten where it was on Masters, somebody tried to talk me into instructing because of my track record. And I said, "No, no, I'm too young, too innocent, I'd be far better just as a fighter pilot." So I escaped that. Having trained on single engine airplanes at Aylmer on the Harvard, then the track was that I would carry on be a, run into the fighter stream somewhere. Either on Spitfires or on Mustangs. And I had never really realized that the Mustang I was in place in Canadian squadrons. It was a new air plane but at this advance flying unit, on the Masters 1 base, a couple of Canadian pilots came in on their Mustangs. And we talked with the pilots and they extolled the virtues of this beautiful American air plane which was, turned out to be very heavy and underpowered, the Mustang I. But I was highly attracted to it. So when I had a choice, either go to Spitfires, straight fighters or to the Mustangs on fighter reconnaissance which involved visual reconnaissance, photographic reconnaissance and the direction of artillery fire, I elected to, to go to the Mustangs. The amount of skill in flying a straight fighter such as a Spitfire or a Mustang IV are the same as flying a Mustang I, but the duties and the roles are quite different. As a fighter reconnaissance pilot my role was to do visual reconnaissance of the enemy behind the front lines, seeing what I could see on the ground, reporting that. Or we might be tasked to do low level photography with the camera, huge camera out the side pointing 45 degrees back to the left. Usually very low level stuff. Or to direct artillery fire when the ground OP's, observation people post, or the Air OP's in their little aircraft couldn't hack it because of 88 millimetre guns or whatever. We would take over and we would direct the artillery fire. And we were highly trained for that. It was a very significant role for me ultimately. So, but in terms of the airplanes, the flying was all the same but the roles were quite, quite different.

Mr. Rohmer experiences both Spitfires and Mustangs, and elects to join aerial reconnaissance in Mustangs. He describes the nature of their duties.

Richard Heath Rohmer

Major General Rohmer was born in Hamilton, Ontario on January 24, 1924. He enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force on his eighteenth birthday. He had received some training in Canada before being shipped overseas to Bournemouth for further training on both Spitfires and Mustangs. He chose to fly a Mustang and was finally able to get into operations in the Fall of 1944.

General Rohmer provided reconnaissance for D-Day, the Falaise Gap and the Liberation of the Netherlands.

After the war, General Rohmer instructed Spitfire pilots on how to attack in the air at Gunnery Instructor School and later went back to college in Ontario, Canada. After graduating from college he went on to practice law. General Rohmer has received several awards throughout his illustrious career including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Canada Defence Medal and is an Officer of the Order of Canada just to name a few. General Rohmer is also a best selling author.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Richard Heath Rohmer
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
436 Squadron

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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