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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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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Wednesday, September 01, 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)

[NOTE: Although there are no pages missing from the notebook, Sgt Burnett's journal has a one-month gap between July 31 and September 1, and the entries jump from "21st trip" to "23rd trip"]

Tues Sept 1/42
23rd trip

Took off from base Topcliffe Yorks. in Bal 887 H harry Skipper Jimmy Clark.
Bomb load one 4000 lb bomb.
Target Saarbrucken coal and pig iron centre in Germany.
Partially cloud cover on way in clear over target Half moon to-night
Started huge fires and left whole town ablaze on return half way between coast and target. I was looking around when suddenly I saw an air craft about 100 ft below and 75 yds behind moon was dead astern. A/C passed out of sight under neath us I told the pilot to whip our A/C over he did so and levled out. I was looking around for other A/C unknown as to what it was at the time but later identified it as a ju 88.
All of a sudden tracer started coming at us from our starboard quarter about 200 yds away I told pilot to turn to starboard E/A.C. was lost to my vision due to evasive action. We levelled out again and I was searching for E/A again when I spotted him about level with us on the starboard quarter about 200 yds away I think Jerry and I opend up at the same time. I gave pilot evasive action to starboard, he did and as he saw tracer hitting our port wing he ducked and accidently pushed the stick fore ward. our A/C went into a 350 mph dive from 7000 ft. Jimmy had both feet on the dash board yanking back on the stick, and much to every ones relief she started to pull out. We did at 500 ft. very close indeed and for a bit Jimmy didn't think that he could do it. But thanks to him and good fortune he did we climbed to 5000 ft and weaved like hell all the way home. Every one was pretty well shaken up. We never saw E/AC again thank God.
The W/OP. who was standing in the astro dome was hit by a splinter in the fore head. but only a super fitial wound. We landed at Mildenhall very low on petrol as our Port tank had been pierced by cannon shell also received a machine gun bullet through one prop blade Port wing flaps were in shreds.
Every one was indeed very happy to see good old Terra firma once again
This is my last trip although I volunteered to go as fill in for the regular gunner of this crew who was sick.
[ILLEGIBLE] I wouldn't step into another A/C to save my life


This is the end of Sgt Burnett's Diary

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