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Emotional rollercoaster

Heroes Remember

Emotional rollercoaster

I’m not saying I wasn’t scared, I was scared, damn scared, but you’re so busy you don’t really have time to worry about being scared, you know. You’re not really scared flying across England and down across the Channel or the North Sea or wherever, but when you start seeing flak coming up on the coast and you start seeing the search lights and that kind of thing then, you know, you start to know it’s a little bit dangerous and you can look out and you can see flak coming up and it looks as though it’s coming slow, it comes slow at you and then zoom it goes by. It picks up speed, it seems, as it goes by... so those kind of things. You see airplanes, you see fire balls out there where airplanes are being shot down and you see... you know you run into the slipstream of an airplane and the whole thing bounces, and you know, those things kind of make you feel a little nervous. Going through the target... there’s an excitement to it because the target is usually well lit up, I don’t mean the Gerries put the lights on, but we drop some flares down, some of them being ahead of us and drop some bombs, and there was fires going, so that was a bit of an exciting place, but there was always, there could always be Gerry fighters around and their predicted anti-aircraft fire was very dangerous. And then you’d go through a target and turn to come back and that was a long, usually a long haul back; if it was a trip to Berlin it was 4 hours back with maybe 3 hours over Germany and often with the head winds, winds were going the wrong way there. And that was a little tension building coming back from that. And once you got into over England, my main worries was to find our own aerodrome because there were hundreds of aerodromes around and I’d put the skipper on a route to get to the aerodrome and when he’d call out there would be flashing lights, different flashes, flash codes and when he’d see that, boy my job was done, you know. I could start closing my books and folding my maps and enough, that was that.

Mr. Bower-Binns discusses the emotional impact of flying into action, avoiding flak and predicted fire, and the relief of reaching home safely.

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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