Veteran Stories:
Clifford M. Robinson

Air Force

  • Clifford Robinson (far left) and his crew, Sgt. Larry Pegg - Air Gunner; Flight Officer (F/O) Larry Mahler - Navigator; Flight Sergeant (F/Sgt). Bill MacDonald - Wireless Operator; Warrant Officer (W.O.) Robert Tovey - Pilot; & Pilot Officer (P/O) Henry Hudson - Bomb Aimer

  • Clifford Robinson (left) and his pilot after their investiture at Eglinton Hunt Club in Toronto

  • Mr. Robinson's flight log book. This page shows the raid on Hildesheim

  • The Lancaster Bomber

  • Aerial photo of some of the explosions during the raid on Hildesheim, March 22, 1945

Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"We flew to Lubeck airdrome, picked up twenty-four prisoners of war – soldiers from the 51st Highland Division who’d been captured at Dunkirk."

Transcript

My name is Clifford Robinson. I was born on Cockburn Island, now a place with a population of two, in upper Lake Huron. I grew up on Manitoulin Island. I joined the Air Force in April of 1943 while I was still seventeen. I took my training as an air gunner in Quebec City, and No. 9 Bomber and Gunnery School at Mont-Jolie, Quebec. I went overseas just after Christmas in 1943 and was posted sometime after I arrived there to an Operational Training Unit [OTU].

My first crew was broken up, and I finished my OTU at Atherstone. From there to 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit at Topcliffe in Yorkshire, where we flew Halifax aircraft. That to 432 Squadron in East Moor. We flew ten operations with the squadron there, and after that the pilot and the navigator of our crew were asked to go to Pathfinder Force in 405 Squadron, and the pilot and navigator decided that if they were to go, they only would go if the rest of the crew agreed to go with them, which we did. Arriving at Pathfinder Force we spent some time at the station, learning new tricks and also converting to Lancaster aircraft.

We flew our first operation with 405 Squadron, Pathfinder Force, on the 26th of September 1944, and our last one was on the 9th and 10th of April 1945. We served as Master Bomber that night, and the people that were with us sunk the Admiral Scheer, which was the last German battleship that one. After that, the only trip we did was on May 9th of 1945. We flew to Lubeck aerodrome, picked up twenty-four prisoners of war – soldiers from the 51st Highland Division who'd been captured at Dunkirk.

I returned to Canada the end of May, along with Alvin Williams from Penetanguishene. We were going to do our third tour in Japan. They gave us six weeks leave, and at the end of that time the Japanese surrender had taken place and we were out of work.

I re-enlisted in 1952 and served a further seven years, mostly as a fighter control officer at various stations in Canada.

Follow us