Veteran Stories:
Reg Blundell

Air Force

  • Reg Blundell, Navigator, and fellow members of RCAF 429 Bison Squadron, No. 6 Group outside their Lancaster bomber. The crew has just returned from operations when this photo was taken.

    Reg Blundell
  • Reg Blundell and Mr. Barlow standing beside an Anson training plane. Mr. Barlow was later killed during a landing.

    Reg Blundell
  • RCAF 429 Squadron, No. 6 Group Bomber Command, stationed at Leeming, York, England.

    Reg Blundell
  • Jim McCarthy and John Ambrust standing in front of a Lancaster bomber. These two men were the gunners (mid-upper and rear) for Reg Blundell's crew. They both survived the war but Mr. Blundell eventually lost touch with them.

    Reg Blundell
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"Mostly the traditional night bombing of strategic industries in the Ruhr and the Rhine. Three or four ‘gardening’ trips, which is throwing mines in enemy waters."

Transcript

My name is Reg Blundell. I'm an RCAF navigator of heavy bombers. I'll start at my early years. I was born in London, England, in 1913. My dad was killed in the trenches of the First World War, and he left four of us children with our mother. In 1919, we immigrated to Canada – Montreal. In 1928 I was working factory work because it was very common in those days. If a widow only had a British pension to live on, then the four kids would have to start work at a very early age. Therefore I started work at age 15. I worked nine years with one company, and eventually changed in 1937 to another company. We're getting up to the war years now, and I was working for Northern Telecom in the Defense Department, in the design and manufacture of needed war equipment.

In 1942, I was twenty-nine years old when I enlisted with the RCAF. From Manning Depot in Montreal, to No. 1 ITS Training School on Avenue Road, Toronto. Light flying of Avro-Ansons in London, Ontario, No. 4 AOS. Finally found my way into No. 429 Bison Squadron flying out of Leeming, Yorkshire, where I flew successively Wellingtons, Halifax's, and Lancasters.

Throughout my career I flew eighteen missions during the war. Mostly the traditional night bombing of strategic industries in the Ruhr and the Rhine. Three or four 'gardening' trips, which is throwing mines in enemy waters. And experienced several significant episodes. Planes blew up in front… three in front of me when we were taking off one day, and my wireless operator and myself had to act as pallbearers to our good friends who had trained with us in Ontario. Other significant incidences were on my second and third operations. We were attacked by the enemy.

On V-E Day, according to my log, we were bringing back Allied prisoners of war who had been incarcerated for about five years in the Crete area, and we would bring twenty-four prisoners at a time on our Lancaster, which was stripped down and only three of our crew would go over to bases near Brussels and Paris and bring these poor fellows back. They'd been five years in prison and just scarecrows, really. That was a very poignant portion of my memories. Bison Squadron was chosen to be sort of a clean-up squadron, where we demobbed all the bombs of the No. 6 Canadian Group, and we dropped them into the North Sea. All part of our getting home.

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