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A Berlin bombing run

Heroes Remember

A Berlin bombing run

I really probably should tell you something about the navigation aids we had. We had good navigation aids in Britain but once you got to where the Germans could jam the radio waves there was no more navigation aids from Britain. So when we crossed the coast of Denmark we were out of our home base, home country navigation aids and if you were lucky you’d find a landmark on the ground and that would indicate how well you were doing - whether your pre-flight planning was good enough or whether you had to make some adjustments. On this particular one, we were south of track by about twenty miles which indicated the winds were stronger than we’d been led to believe. We were blowing south, so we made corrections to make that and then headed up and then turned south to come over Berlin. And we crossed Berlin oh about 300 miles an hour ground speed, air speed was only about 180 or something like that so we had a good 100 miles an hour pickup on the wind. We crossed at a tremendous rate, we did cross it though, we hit Berlin. We did a good job on that one and then turned to come home from there. But we didn’t really get the full force of wind, and we were supposed to turn up between Hannover and Osnabrück, two towns, two German towns. Instead of that we were leading the flight, that flight through and the first thing we knew, we got predicted flak. We got hit with predicted flak. One of our engines knocked out and I think we were coming in about 23,000 feet and we got knocked down to about 5,000 feet before we, before we could get out of this flak and by this time we were pretty nearly through, we went through the whole Ruhr barrage and their, and their... predicted flak was really, really great and if they got you with the search lights and flak that was really bad but anyway we got through. And we were so far south that we landed, so far damaged that we landed on the south coast of England at a fighter aerodrome.

Mr. Bower-Binns gives a detailed description of flying to Berlin, accurately delivering a bomb load, having an engine disabled by flak, and managing to limp home.

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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