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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."
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University of Guelph - Guelph, Ontario

Sunday, May 30, 2010

An RCAF Flight Sergeant's Diary

From "My Diary of Ops" - the notebook of Flight Sergeant E. Burnett, 419 Squadron R.C.A.F. (part of a series)

Sat May 30/42
Fourth trip.

Took off from Base in own aircraft, with own crew as rear gunner. With bomb load of 2 1/2 ton to 3 ton of H.E. Target:- Cologne. Made history tonight as this was the first 1000 aircraft raid, the largest ever carried out up to date in aerial history of any nation.
Actually there were 1,045 bomber air craft and approx 500 fighter A/C took part.
When we arrived there the target was more lit up than broad way, with fires and mostly search lights which were combing the sky. I have never seen anything like it in all my life. There were more search lights than I could count. easily two hundred at least, and flak of all sorts every where, mostly coming up at random as Jerry was or seemed to be completely foxed.
Visibility over the target was indeed very good. We were among the first lot in and going in at 20,000 ft. dropping our bombs of high explosives right smack on the centre of the town at 14 000 ft. On return back to base I saw one of our aircraft caught in a concentration of about 20 search lights, and flak coming up at him in great quantity. he suddenly burst into flames and going down exploded on impact. Shortly after that at two different times we were chased by two night fighters in the first case our front gunner opened up and we took evasive action on both occassions thus shaking them off.
No damage was done except one piece of flak hit our aircraft but was stopped by the skippers parachute, rendering it U.S.(Un-Serviceable) Landed at base approx 0420 hrs.
Everybody quite happy.
P.S. The raid was very successful. London, Coventry, Bath and any other two of British towns were fully revenged this night. As Cologne to my estimation was practically wiped out I personally feel very sorry for the population of Cologne for many people in deed must have been killed ???
This city (WAS) the second largest in Germany.

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