Browse Items (933 total)

  • Tags: air gunner

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Describes the role played by the air gunner and his attitude toward danger. In the afterlife, the air gunner goes straight through the Heavens's gate as his wartime suffering is considered equivalent to expiation.

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Cyril Abbotts volunteered for the Royal Air Force while he was an engineering apprentice with W T Avery at Smethwick. After his reception at Lord’s Cricket Ground and initial training,he trained as a pilot at RAF Bowden and Moose Jaw in Canada. On…

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Charlie Darby joined the Royal Air Force in September 1943 and recounts in great detail, his training as an air gunner/wireless operator on Wellingtons and Ansons at RAF Bridlington, RAF Bridgnorth, RAF Castle Kennedy, RAF Acaster Malbis and RAF…

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Langford "Joe" Green was born in Wales but moved to Marlow, Buckinghamshire with his family when he was still a child. He worked in a factory from the age of 14 until he joined the Royal Air Force. After training he flew operations as an air gunner…

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Glenn Atkins was born in Newport Pagnell and was called up for National Service in 1951. He was involved in exercises to test the defences of Europe during the Cold War. When he was released from National Service he returned to his former company…

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Warrant Officer Harry James flew operations as a rear gunner with 166 Squadron.

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Jim Copus was born in Watlington and volunteered for the Royal Air Force when he was eighteen. After training, he flew operations as a mid-upper gunner with 97 Squadron from RAF Bourn. On one operation he realised that it was very quiet. He could not…

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Ron Doble grew up in London and joined the Air Training Corps and the fire watchers when war was declared. He volunteered for the Air Force when he was 18 and trained as an air gunner. He talks about the conditions in his turret and the mishaps he…

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He was born in London and worked for some time as a clerk until joined up the Royal Air Force. He did not like the idea of serving in the Army or in the Navy but - as a Londoner - he was keen to take part in the war having experienced the Blitz. He…

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John Ormerod left school at 14 and worked in the textile industry before he volunteered for RAF. At first he trained as flight mechanic but later remustered to be a flight engineer. He talks about synchronising props and the German speaking eighth…

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Jan Black Stangryciuk was born in Poland but his family emigrated to Argentina in 1934. He volunteered to travel to England to join the Royal Air Force in 1939. He recounts his journey, why he made this decision and how he joined the RAF. He was…

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Hugh Parry was born in Oswestry and joined the Air Force in April 1943 and volunteered to be an air gunner. Knowing that there was a height restriction on air gunners of six feet he hid his height by wearing baggy trousers. After training, he was…

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Stanley Bradford was working in a Reserved Occupation until he volunteered. The three services were represented but as he approached them in turn the army and navy both rejected him because of his work. The RAF said that since he was in Reserved…

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Joy Colbeck was born in Maidstone, Kent and served within the Women’s Royal Naval Service during the war. Her brother, John, joined the RAF on the 28 of April 1943, qualified at as an air gunner in April 1944, before being transferred to an…

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Allan Avery Farr was working at the market in Birmingham before he joined the RAF. He wanted to have the quickest entry to see action and so trained as an air gunner. He trained in Canada where he was offered a post as an instructor but he wanted to…

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Peter Hazeldene joined the RAF from Wales when he saw a poster to see the world from a different perspective. He trained as a wireless operator and during training suspected a couple of incidents of sabotage on the base. Peter was posted to 106…

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Derek Gurney was working at the De Havilland Works before he volunteered for aircrew. While on training he saw one Wellington blow up and another with a broken wing. He was posted to 10 Squadron, RAF Melbourne for his tour. On one operation they…

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Upon leaving school, Ronald was employed first as a pawnbrokers assistant, followed by butchers assistant. In 1943, upon reaching the age of 18 he followed his brothers footsteps and enlisted in the Royal Air Force. After initial training, he…

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Two of Evelyn Paine’s three brothers joined the RAF. She discusses the service of her brothers Philip Jenkinson and Peter Raeburn Jenkinson. Philip Jenkinson trained as an air gunner. He was was shot down on his tenth operation and after evading…

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Margaret Saint was employed by Airworks Limited as a civilian office worker throughout the Second World War, and met her future husband, Trevor, an air gunner, who she married in June 1945.
Daughter of a Welsh miner, the family moved to the…

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In 1936, Dennis went to Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham, where an Air Training Corps was formed. At seventeen, he got a job with the North British and Mercantile Insurance company. He visited Halton with the Air Training Corps each…

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Clifford Watson at first wanted to join the navy because of a high demand in pilots. After being rejected, he joined the RAF and was sent to Rhodesia for pilot training, but then remustered to become an air gunner. He flew seventy-six ops in total.…

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Clifford Watson remembers his training as a pilot in Salisbury, Zimbabwe, but being scrubbed at the flying test. Tells of when he flew a Ju-88 at RAE Farnborough. Talks about the different wages in various trades. Tells of an emergency landing at RAF…

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Completing school and moving on to work at 20th Century Fox Films, he worked as a fire watcher at the beginning of the war before joining the Royal Air Force. He states that he did that because he always wanted to fly and didn’t want to join the…
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