I am always amazed by the people I have met since I started writing my first blog about WWII.
Souvenirs de guerre was written in French to pay homage to the sailors of HMCS Athabaskan who died on April 29, 1944. Although I knew a lot about WWII, I did not know about the sinking of that Canadian destroyer. My wife’s uncle in a family reunion told us for the first time that he was a stoker aboard that ship. He did not want to talk at length about it, and at first, I could not understand why he did not. I have learned since then that veterans seldom talk. So without much information on his part, I started looking on the Internet for information on HMCS Athabaskan. What I found gave me the idea to start written a blog in French, then to write an English version: Lest We Forget.
I have not stopped writing since then…
Getting back to Jack, that’s what he told me at the Gatineau Air Show when I talked about my Mosquito pilot, George Stewart, and all the people I have met since 2010.
It never stops!
What about the Bomber Command Memorial unveiling?
Jack McLean was there!
June 28, 2012
The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, is leading an official delegation of Canadian Bomber Command Veterans to the unveiling ceremony of the Bomber Command Memorial in London, United Kingdom.
The memorial will pay tribute to some 55,000 Allied airmen, including approximately 10,000 Canadians, who lost their lives in the skies over Europe, prisoner of war camps or training accidents, Forty-two Canadian Bomber Command Veterans made the journey to London to witness the unveiling along with their comrades from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Someone else was there also.
I know because Jean Cauchy told me when I met him in Bagotville in 2012…
He told me.
Notes taken from Wikipedia…
Bomber Command crews also suffered an extremely high casualty rate: 55,573 killed out of a total of 125,000 aircrew (a 44.4% death rate), a further 8,403 were wounded in action and 9,838 became prisoners of war. This covered all Bomber Command operations including tactical support for ground operations and mining of sea lanes. A Bomber Command crew member had a worse chance of survival than an infantry officer in World War I. By comparison, the US Eighth Air Force, which flew daylight raids over Europe had 350,000 aircrew during the war and suffered 26,000 killed and 23,000 POWs.Of the RAF Bomber Command personnel killed during the war, 72% were British, 18% were Canadian, 7% were Australian and 3% were New Zealanders.
- 55 killed on operations or died as result of wounds
- three injured (in varying levels of severity) on operations or active service
- 12 taken prisoner of war (some injured)
- two shot down and evaded capture
- 27 survived a tour of operations