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English Fog And 26 Dead Airmen

Heroes Remember

English Fog And 26 Dead Airmen

Bomber crews were reluctant to make friends with other crew members because they didn't know whether they would still be there the next day. A night that I will never forget as long as I live is when at briefing time the weather man told us that we would expect some atrocious weather upon return. He used another word but... but he told us that we should return just ahead of this bad weather that was to be or awaiting us on return. The target that night was Berlin and none of our aircraft were missing from our squadron, all returned, but upon return we found that this atrocious weather was already over our area and this weather was thick, low clouds right on the ground, thick fog, drizzle and the air bases during war time were not lit up - even the landing, the runway lights were hooded and the pilot could only see them on his approach on his landing at a certain angle and upon return we couldn't even see our base because of the thick fog, low clouds, I mean. So the control tower stacked us about 500 feet above each other and we circled. Now normally they could divert us to another base but this weather covered such a large area that we weren't able to, we wouldn't have had the fuel to do it. You were only given a 15 minute fuel margin as it was so they even laid a search light along the runway to help us locate it but even then it just provided a glow and two Lancasters from our squadron on our base collided trying to get in. Two flew just a bit too low, hit high ground and they crashed. And so next morning we had 26 dead air men.

Mr. Kondra describes the safe return from a bombing run of his entire squadron, only to have four aircraft crash trying to land in dense English fog, resulting in the loss of twenty-six airmen.

William Kondra

On January 14, 1922, William Kondra was born in Prudhomme, Saskatchewan. He finished Grade 8 at his local school, and, with difficulty, finished high school through correspondence. He was working on local farms for a pittance, so he decided to enlist in the Air Force, where he trained as a bomb aimer/front gunner. Mr. Kondra's tour of duty was completed with his original crew members aboard a Lancaster Bomber, and primarily consisted of air strikes on industrial Germany. Mr. Kondra offers many insights into the technology, strategy and stresses of flying in a bomber.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
William Kondra
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Northwest Europe
Air Force
101 Squadron
Flying Officer
Bomb Aimer

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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