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Pre-flight protocol

Heroes Remember

We’d be told we were going on an operation, some hours beforehand, and from then on a navigator started preparing, you know, we started... we had a briefing of what the target was going to be, everybody had their jobs to do, a bomb aimer had to know what his bomb night was going to be, the gunners went out and cleaned the perspex on their gun, or turrets because they didn’t want a spot of dirt on them or anything. At night in the dark a spot of dirt might look like an airplane out there so... they did all that kind of thing. Pilot went out and did a few engine tests and that, and then we... we had a full crew briefing and we’d prepare for a take off and about an hour before, we had to go to the crew room and if it was in the wintertime we’d have to put on winter underwear kind of thing and a heavy sweater and flying boots and parachute harness and a Mae West which was the life... you know, in case you came down in the sea, all that kind of clothing. And then we’d be moved, get into trucks or buses and taken out to the aircraft which was around dispersals. In the Halifax, the navigator’s position was in front of the pilot, down on the lower deck under his feet - the wireless operator, the navigator and the bomb aimer’s position right up in the nose. Well, those three positions aren’t filled in take off because that’s kind of a dangerous place to be if you don’t get off, you hit something or, so we’d be in the rest position back behind.

Mr. Bower-Binns describes the various checks and procedures performed by the air crew prior to takeoff.

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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