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Dangerous friends

Heroes Remember

The hairiest were daylight raids when we were bombing on a system called Oboe, and you’d send 500 airplanes on a target, now they weren’t all on a target in the same instance, there might be over a twenty minute period. But we’d be trying to bomb an oil plant which isn’t very big from 20,000 feet and so you got these airplanes trying to get over that and the marking is so good, this Oboe system of marking was so tremendous every airplane was trying to get over the target, and I’ve been in situations where two airplanes, one is over the top of the other and the gunner is yelling, “Get out of here, there’s an airplane with his bomb doors open. He’s going to drop on us!” And the bomb aimer is down at the front saying, “Left, left, right, steady,” he wants to drop the bombs, he doesn’t know about that guy up there. So that’s, you know, that’s kind of frightening. And our airplane was never hit with a bomb but some of my squadrons airplanes were - they passed through the wing, they passed through the fuselage, and I think that was one of the hairiest things. Another kind of a dangerous thing was coming out of a target, you’d fly out maybe two or three miles and then do an almost right hand, no they’d do a right angle turn, 90 degree turn heading for home and there you might be flying across, this guy’s off track on the inside of your turn, might be flying into you, you know, so those are... some kinds of those things were hairy things, dangerous things.

Mr. Bower-Binns describes the risks from accompanying aircraft when a bomber formation converged on its target.

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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