The Bombing of Berlin: An Eyewitness Account

Click here for Elinor’s post.


My family members, on both my mother’s and my father’s sides, served in the Canadian forces in both world wars. But I also have another connection with wartime: my husband’s family.

He was born in Berlin after the war and emigrated to Canada as a young man. His father Kurt Drews flew with the Luftwaffe, and his mother Gerda Kernchen lived through the bombing of Berlin and its occupation by Russia at the end of the war.

Gerda is now 86, still living in Berlin, and often visits us in Canada. Recently I interviewed her on tape about her wartime experiences. Since she doesn’t speak English, the recording was translated by my husband.

Her description of what she experienced during the bombing is very sad. Please note that by repeating her words, I make no comment on the Allied bombing initiative, or the incredible bravery of our young air crews. But their courage in the air shouldn’t detract from the suffering of the civilians on the ground.

This is the first of a two-part series. This week, Gerda describes her life during the war, when Berlin was bombed 363 times. Next Wednesday, she explains what happened when her city fell to the Russians.

Hawker Hurricane: Pure Determination

Pierre Lagacé:

Free French pilot who died at Dieppe on August 19th, 1942.

Originally posted on The Dreamy Dodo:

Hawker Hurricane: Pure Determination

Overwhelming portrait of Adjutant Emile Fayolle. He was a Free French pilot in the RAF,a Battle of Britain veteran,Fayolle was sadly shot down by Anti-Aircraft fire during the Op. Jubilee in 1942.
He is wearing the early-WW2 usual British headgear: the iconic B helmet,the not very efficient Mk IIIA googles and the crude D oxy mask.

His stare burns.

View original

Who remembers Earl Charles Mayo?

Post 681

MAYO, Earl Charles
W/C (ret’d) DFC, CD
September 8, 1917 – January 3, 2014
Charles Mayo

Passed away peacefully, with family at his side, on Friday, January 3rd, at the age of 96. Beloved husband of Elizabeth Mayo (nee Newcombe) for 64 years. Survived by his children Bob (Evelyn), Barbara (Emidio Melara), Bruce (Sandra West) and Bill (Lillian Sung). Proud grandfather of Christopher, Ian, Jamie, Laura, Andrew, Lisa, Katie and Jake. Predeceased by parents Charles and Ella, and by brother Russell. Earl served during WWII as a bomber pilot with 427 Squadron R.C.A.F., completing a tour of operations, for which he was awarded a DFC. Continued to serve in the R.C.A.F. as a pilot and administrative officer, retiring in 1968 as Commandant of Canadian Forces Headquarters. After retiring, he worked as Secretary to the Royal Architectural Institute. After fully retiring to Burritt’s Rapids and ultimately Kemptville, Ontario, his retirement years were filled with travel, outdoor cooking, golf, curling, volunteer activities and grandchildren. He will be dearly missed by his friends and family.

Published in The Ottawa Citizen from Jan. 6 to Jan. 7, 2014

Who remembers Earl Charles Mayo?


His navigator does…

To the Mayo family,
I was the navigator in Earl Mayo’s crew with 427 Squadron during WW II. While on the squadron in 1944, Earl and I enjoyed many good drinks together. My late wife, Irene, and I kept in touch with both Elizabeth and Earl, and enjoyed many visits to their homes. From myself and my family, our sincerest sympathy. On behalf of the Lion Squadron, a last ‘Roar’!

Allan Todd, Gatineau (Buckingham), Quebec.

Charles Mayo

MAYO, F/O Earl Charles (J25382)

- Distinguished Flying Cross

- No.427 Squadron

- Award effective 15 March 1945 as per London Gazette dated 27 March 1945 and AFRO 1127/45 dated 6 July 1945.

Born 1917; home in Toronto; enlisted there 15 September 1939. Trained at No.6 ITS (graduated 11 September 1942), No.20 EFTS (graduated 4 December 1942) and No.2 SFTS (graduated 16 April 1943). Commissioned April 1943.

No citation other than “completed…many successful operations against the enemy in which [he has] displayed high skill, fortitude and devotion to duty.” DHist file 181.009 D.1729 (RG.24 Vol.20607) has recommendation dated 19 November 1944 when he had flown 25 sorties (129 hours 45 minutes), 24 July to 4 November 1944.

This captain has completed twenty-five heavy operational bombing attacks against the enemy. His work in general has been exceptional and through his courage, skill and determination in action he has been an inspiration to his crew. (source)

The Myth of the Good War: America in World War II 60 Years Ago, February 13-14, 1945: Why was Dresden Destroyed

Interesting information on why was Dresden destroyed.


Dresden was obliterated in order to intimidate the Soviets with a demonstration of the enormous firepower that permitted bombers of the RAF and the USAAF to unleash death and destruction hundreds of kilometers away from their bases, and the subtext was clear: this firepower could be aimed at the Soviet Union itself. This interpretation explains the many peculiarities of the bombing of Dresden, such as the magnitude of the operation, the unusual participation in one single raid of both the RAF and USAAF, the choice of a “virginal” target, the (intended) enormity of the destruction, the timing of the attack, and the fact that the supposedly crucially important railway station and the suburbs with their factories and Luftwaffe airfield were not targeted. The bombing of Dresden had little or nothing to do with the war against Nazi Germany: it was an American British message for Stalin, a message that cost the lives of tens of thousands of people. Later that same year, two more similarly coded yet not very subtle messages would follow, involving even more victims, but this time Japanese cities were targeted, and the idea was to direct Stalin’s attention to the lethality of America’s terrible new weapon, the atomic bomb.[27] Dresden had little or nothing to do with the war against Nazi Germany; it had much, if not everything, to do with a new conflict in which the enemy was to be the Soviet Union. In the horrible heat of the infernos of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cold War was born.

Click here.

The Night Witches

From Elinor Florence

I don’t have to read it to know it’s that good.

The Russians were the only women in the world who engaged in combat during World War Two. These daring young women, some of them just teenagers, flew lightweight aircraft that dodged and darted and dropped bombs on the enemy under cover of darkness. So feared were they that the Germans called them The Night Witches.

Click here.