Veteran Stories:
Stanley Raymond

Air Force

  • Portrait of Stanley Raymond shortly after enlisting in the Royal Canadian Air Force at the age of 18

  • Stanley Raymond's Royal Canadian Air Force wedge hat. The white strip of fabric was worn while he was in training

  • Stanley Raymond's log book page from when he was at East Moor Station with 432 Squadron, 1945

  • Edition of the Daily Mirror from May 5, 1945 that annouced the surrender of all German forces

  • Program from a Special Service of Thanksgiving marking Victory in Europe (V.E) Day at East Moor Station in Yorkshire, 1945

Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"Our aircraft was boxed in so we could not move right, left, or up."

Transcript

I'm Stanley Raymond. I was a Flying Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force, and a pilot at 432 Squadron in England, the bomber group. My story starts basically way back in World War I. My father was an RAF pilot in the First World War, and they got tied up in a disease down in Quebec and he never got to England. It was sort of natural that I should join the RCAF and maybe become a pilot in World War II. One really well-remembered day was at elementary flying in Oshawa. That was the day I soloed in my Tiger Moth. I was so excited, I sang around the whole circuit. It was a wonderful day for me. My active service was at Eastmoore, 432 Squadron, north of York. We flew the Halifax 7 [Bomber] over Germany and Denmark, and down to the French border. The first outstanding bombing flight was attacking an oil refinery. Before we left the target, black smoke billowed above our bombing height of ten thousand feet. Our target photo showed our bombs exploding amongst the storage tanks. One of the last trips over Germany was a daylight raid. Clear blue sky until our last turn toward the target, then the sky filled with puffs of smoke from exploding anti-aircraft shells. While we were on our bombing run, the Mid Upper Gunner observed shells breaking off our starboard side. My response was to keep us up to date. By the time we were in our bombing run, the shells were exploding off our wing tip, and getting closer. As soon as the bomb aimer had released our bombs and checked to make sure they were all out, I decided to take further photos of the bomb. It didn't really warrant getting killed – we were that close. I warned the crew and went into a two thousand foot dive to port. Our records of photos show half sky and half land. We went home safely from that trip, thank goodness! Most of the night raids over Germany were a bit dangerous. One night we approached the target. Our aircraft was boxed in so we could not move right, left, or up. When thirteen bombs with aircraft above us came into view, all I could do was slow down and try to avoid being hit, or have any of the bombs land on our aircraft. I reduced the speed as much as possible, and watched as the lines of bombs fell towards us. I knew we were in the clear when the last three bombs were in front of us. We resumed bombing speed and completed our assignment. Another night, on our way home, we turned towards England. German aircraft released bright flares on our port side, along the path we were to follow to the coast. German fighters cruised along our starboard side and attacked the easily-viewed Canadian bombers. But for us, we were not attacked; nervous, but ok.
Follow us