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Reporting for duty

Heroes Remember

I reported to 51 Squadron on Christmas Eve, 1943 and it was dark, dark, and I walked up the road from the railway station, through the... all the aerodromes were right on roads, now this wasn’t necessarily a main road, but it was accessible to anybody, you know, you’d think all these airplanes would be guarded, and stuff but they weren’t. We were guarding airplanes here and Debert but in England they weren’t guarding an any airplanes on the ground. Anyway I walked up this road, and there were these Halifax airplanes parked around and some of them damaged; they’d been out on a raid the night before and you know they had damage... gunshot damage on them and everything. And I reported to the mess, it must have been 7 or 8 o’clock and there was a big party going on; Christmas Eve and they’d been out the night before and they were having a celebration, and was it ever a wild celebration. The mess had a fireplace up at one end about as big as that wall there and the squadron commander was leaning with his arm up on the mantle and I walked up to him and said, “Bower-Binns reporting sir.” He says, “Oh, I’m glad to have you here,” he says, “I guess you’re glad to be here.” I don’t know whether I was or not after all, walking in and seeing all those wrecks, well they weren’t really wrecks, they were damaged airplanes.

Mr. Bower-Binns describes reporting for duty despite having had to walk by a tarmac full of damaged aircraft.

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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