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Becoming a navigator

Heroes Remember

Becoming a navigator

When we enlisted, I say we, but when I enlisted it was for either pilot or observer, they were the two... elite kind of jobs in the air force. So, and of course with my... uncles having been in the air force, I was very, very keen on being a pilot, so I went to ITS and started this math training and just general school work, and we had Link Trainers there. The Link Trainer is a box that looks like an airplane with little stub wings on it and, you can you can control it with a joy stick and turn it, bank and that kind of thing. And part of the training was testing on that, on that Link Trainer. So we all had to do that. So one of the jobs was to, one of the things was to turn the airplane around, the Link Trainer around and stop it on a point. I think it was a lighthouse on the wall or something, and I’d bring it over and I’d go past the lighthouse and then have to come back. I think the trick was to bring it over and stop on the lighthouse not go past it like I told you about these guys coming in and landing on the Debert, on the Debert runway and being all over the place. Well, that’s what I would have been like. So, anyway, they selected me as a navigator; I’d had all this experience in my business too, you know, bookkeeping there and I guess I looked as though I knew something about arithmetic and that kind of thing so, I was selected as a navigator.

Mr. Bower-Binns describes training on a Link Trainer and being unable to stop it on co-ordinates, and thus being designated as a navigator

John Bower-Binns

John Bower-Binns was born in Ottawa, Ontario. One of two children, he was born on March 7, 1921. He had two uncles in the Royal Air Force, inspiring him to build model aeroplanes. There being a six month waiting list for naval enlistment, Mr. Bower-Binns opted for the Air Force. After being screened out of the pilot queue, he became a navigator. After crewing up in England, he flew many bombing missions, including one to Berlin. Mr. Bower-Binns was fortunate to fly with the same crew during his entire tour of duty. A recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, he achieved the rank of Flight-Lieutenant during his Second World War service.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Bower-Binns
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
#1 Bomber Command
Flight Lieutenant

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