Interview with Bruce Minnitt
Interview with Bruce Minnitt
Bruce Minnitt served in the Second World War flying Wellingtons on maritime reconnaissance in the Mediterranean and B-24s in India. When war started Bruce joined the Home Guard, and in 1941 when reaching 18 years of age, he enlisted in the Royal Air Force. He actually wanted to be an air gunner but was assessed as suitable for pilot training. His flying training was carried out in Alberta, Canada. After over two years of rationing, he enjoyed the improved diet he received in Canada. Flying in an open cockpit through a Canadian winter was particularly challenging. On his return to Great Britain, he was posted to No. 6 Operational Training Unit near RAF Carlisle to fly Wellingtons. He was then sent to RAF Haverfordwest, from where he was sent on leave for 48 hours before being sent overseas. Arriving home, he proposed, and married by special licence before returning to his unit. It was to be over two years before he saw his wife again. On return to his unit he was tasked with delivering a Wellington to Rabat in Morocco. From here, Bruce joined 221 Sqn in Southern Italy. He flew 29 maritime reconnaissance operations, but before what would have been his final operation, both Bruce and the wireless operator became ill and had to be replaced. His crew failed to return from their final operation. He describes one sortie when his aircraft was attacked by two Me 109s. With no radio or hydraulics, they were forced to divert and upon landing they discovered both main wheels had been damaged. Luckily, the airfield was aware of their plight and were able to dispatch immediate assistance when they crash landed. Allocated with another crew in Egypt, he carried out four further operational flights on 244 Squadron, and following its disbanding, Bruce was posted to 36 Ferry Unit in India. He spent the remainder of the war delivering B-24s to operating units throughout South East Asia. Bruce finally returned in June 1946 and having declined the opportunity to remain a member of the RAF, was subsequently demobbed. Whilst in India, Bruce met up with his brother, a serving army officer who was on leave. By disguising him as a RAF officer, Bruce was able to smuggle him on board to enable him to accompany Bruce on a delivery flight.
IBCC Digita Archive
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02:02:47 audio recording
David Kavanagh, “Interview with Bruce Minnitt,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed August 2, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/11406.
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