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Thread: Bravery of WW2 airmen

  1. #1
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    Default Bravery of WW2 airmen

    After reading recent posts here asking for information about particular WW2 airmen who crashed or jumped out of crippled planes, it again struck me again how brave these very young men were .Or was it bravado , parachuting out or dying in a crash ? It's something often talked about or wondered about [especially the soldiers living in and fighting from trenches in WW1].

    Many WW2 allied airmen were based in squadrons thousands of miles from their home , saw planes crashing and exploding on take off or had friends who failed to return from missions. But yet most climbed into their bombers to take part in missions for many days at a time, some over their homeland, such as the Polish airmen. The pilot climbed into his Spitfire or Hurricane to face the dangers alone .I imagine the "enemy " airman felt the same .
    Did they get hardened ,which they had to be or think it might not be "their time" that day ?
    Anne

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    Hi Anne,

    it is very difficult and very wide theme...
    From my experience, books and meetings with veterans, there is a lot of stories, just few examples:
    - a Spitfire pilot leaving for leave was asked by mechanic to test his Spitfire. Why returning he recognized that the squadron is leaving for escort and one Spitfire returned for engine problem. He joined his unit, was shot down and parachuted to the safety in the uniform with Czechoslovakia flashes and pocket full of IDs..
    - one bomber airman was going for his 13th sortie and the unit was sending 13 planes - he told to his comrade that he does not like the number 13... This night the unit lost 13 men, he was one of them...
    - there was a one air gunner who on Refresh course said to the course leader that he is leaving for his unit that the plane he was ordered in for training will crash... when he got to his unit his CO was informed that the plane really crashed...
    - the same AG than was flying with different crews time to time changing them... some captains asked him to join them but he refused few times - those crew did not returned...
    - Squadron CO flying on the first patrol on Liberator after re-arming did not returned and when his room was opened there was lying an envelope inscribe "my last will". His batman told that this was for the first time the CO done this...

    And there are many more stories like those...
    Generally some of them have really bad feeling that something will happened on the particular night and they were right.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Pavel
    Thanks for your reply .
    I was told by my father's friend that every time he [my father] returned from a mission he sat on his camp bed and brushed his shoes before going to join them in the mess .Was he relieving tension, trying to relax or just polishing his shoes ?
    I now have that shoe brush, given to me by his friend when we made contact a few years ago, who found it under my father's bed ,after his other possessions were packed up to be sent home .

    Anne

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