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Safety in numbers

Heroes Remember

We’d come back home with bullet wounds in us and flak wounds and that kind of thing, but I don’t ever remember anything serious with fighters, and I think it was due to the fact we were mainly on track. If you could fly, I don’t know what you call it, the track was the line you were flying on, just a pencil line on the map but if you could stay within five miles either side of that you were considered to be in the stream of aircraft and if you were in the stream you were comparatively safe. So I always put it down to our being on track and in the stream most of the time that we didn’t get into really any serious trouble. The trouble we had in France, was that our airplane was unserviceable when we went to take off and we couldn’t get away and we decided, after about a half an hour the ground crew got it running and we decided to go. As I said earlier you don’t want to miss a trip. You don’t want an excuse not to go because there’s another trip, let’s finish it. So we went about half an hour behind the rest of the guys and the Gerry was waiting for us, see, he had nobody else to chase but us and that’s why we got into trouble, I think, and the gunner spotted this guy, you know, a long time before he got close enough to shoot at us. He followed us all the way back to England but I don’t think he ever did shoot at us, you know, but we knew he was there so that was a bit frightening even though he didn’t do us any damage.

Mr. Bower-Binns discusses the relative safety of flying within a formation.

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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