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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

An RCAF Flight Sergeant's Diary

Many years ago a neighbour of mine showed me a notebook that had belonged to her father, RCAF Flight Sergeant E. Burnett. It was titled "My Diary of Ops" and contained a fascinating account of his experience flying bombers into Germany in 1942. I asked my neighbour if I could make a photocopy of the journal. She agreed, and I filed it away and forgot about it. Last week I was sorting through some files and came across it again - it seems a shame not to share it with others, so over the next few weeks I'm going to post entries on the anniversary of the date they were written. I've kept the spelling and punctuation the same as the original.

The title page of the little notebook (which measures 4" x 6.5") reads:

264 A. F/SGT E. Burnett
419 Sqdn R.C.A.F.

My Diary of ops.

The diary starts on Wed. May 6 1942:

First Trip.
Took off from Base (Mildenhall Suffolk County Eng.) in Wellington bomber aircraft as rear gunner. Skipper F/SGT. Wilson.
Target:- Dock area at Nantes in french un-occupied territory. three oil tankers anchored there. Night was good visibility fair, thick haze over target area. No opposition accross France until reaching target. Dropped six flares Made five runs over target Dropped 16(250) lb Bombs Raid successful. Time of take-off 9:30 P.M. Landed 4:30 AM.

Thur May 7/42

Second trip.
Took off from Base at approx 1050 hrs. in Wellington aircraft as front gunner. Skipper Sgt. Foye. Target:- Shipping lanes just off East coast of Denmark North of Kiel harbour. Night was good, no moon or clouds visibility perfect Had no opposition what so ever. Made two runs over target. Dropped two mines into water. Raid successful Time of return approx 0430 hrs.

[Next entry: May 29 1942]


Anonymous said...

Don't you know those in Bomber Command were war criminals?

My father served in the RAF and RCAF and thought it was shameful that there was never a separate medal given to those who served in Bomber Command...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this; I'm looking forward to seeing the rest.