Veteran Stories:
Saul “Sonny” Breger

Air Force

  • Saul Breger.

    Saul Breger.
  • No. 6 Bombing and Gunnery School, RCAF Station Mountain View, Ontario. Saul Breger is in the back row, centre.

    Saul Breger
  • No. 6 Bombing and Gunnery School, RCAF Station Mountain View, Ontario. Saul Breger is second row, third from the right.

    Saul Breger
  • No. 6 Bombing and Gunnery School, RCAF Station Mountain View, Ontario. Saul Breger is back row, third from the right.

    Saul Breger
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"So the sergeant in charge, he took - I think the bullets were on the belt - so he said: 'The heck with that,' and he opened a door in the floor and he dropped all the bullets out on Lake Ontario."

Transcript

I couldn’t make pilot. I was on a Link Trainer and they tested the pilots. Like I thought I had landed beautifully but they said I was eight feet underground. Anyway, so I was aircrew but I couldn’t make air. So they asked if I liked to be a WAG, which is wireless air gunner, and so I said: "Yes, that was alright." I didn’t want to be a straight air gunner but I thought being a wireless. I was thinking maybe flying the Mosquitoes [the British multi-role combat aircraft de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito] or something like that. And I graduated fairly high up in my wireless and then they sent us to St. Catharines [Ontario] for our flying; do the wireless in the air. And that’s where I had two incidents I was going to talk to you about.

We flew in an old-type aircraft, the Norseman [the Canadian Noorduyn Norseman bush plane] with the wings on top. The pilot came back after, he’d been on two, he wore two bars, twice been overseas. And he flew us. The communication set was in the very back of the plane and there was two passengers and him and two cockpits. And we went two of us. We had to crawl in and each fixed something in there. And when it was fixed, you’d say, "wheel in your aerial," and then he had to keep, that was like 15 or 20 minutes, we were pretty good at it and he had us stay in the air for two hours to be logged on as a two hour flight. So now he had over an hour and a half to do nothing. And how can a guy who come off two tours do nothing? So he started playing around, he’d go down on the highway and he’d go right to the cars. And the cars would get off the side and you’d think he was crashing, but he’d come up again. And then he went over a farmer’s field, he saw a farmer and a dog and he went right down and the farmer fell flat on the floor and the dog chased him, like the dog barks at him and up he went. But when he went up, he now was right over the airport. He didn’t know where he was when he was down low. But he was right over the airport and he had to come down this way to the airport.

And that was fine. But we got about I say 1,000 or 2,000 feet, it’s hard to really judge it; landing, everything got dark. I look up and there’s a big four engine plane coming in. Nobody expected this guy to be doing this. And they’re coming in from Toronto and it was Vice Admiral McGill. When we landed, one of the kids that puts the blocks under the wheels ran up and he put a block under the wheel, then he got down on his knees and he says, "I was praying for you." So that’s how it was. And then he landed and, of course, the pilot got a month’s duty [a punishment].

We were at [RCAF Station] Mountain View [Ontario; No. 6 Bombing and Gunnery School], where we took our gunnery. We did it over the lake [Lake Ontario]. And you know, we flew in an old [Bristol Fairchild] Bolingbroke, old plane, big four engine plane, but the tower where the gunner is, it went up and it was an open slot where a gun went through. And it was February and it must have been 70 [degrees] below up there with the high winds and everything else. Well, the fellows in the plane are okay, but you when you were taking your turn and trying to fire a gun, that was pretty rough. And you could see his sleeve, the guy with the sleeve was flying. And two fellows came down, one at a time, and took it and went up and he said: "They kept it so cold." I don’t think I had any heat at all; the second said the same one and I was third and I said the same thing. It was ridiculous.

So the sergeant in charge, he took - I think the bullets were on the belt - so he said: "The heck with that," and he opened a door in the floor and he dropped all the bullets out on Lake Ontario. But Lake Ontario was frozen. So they fell on either snow or ice, we could see them falling way down below. And he turned back. I don’t know what he reported to them, it didn’t get anybody hitting the target. But, anyway, he got away with that for then. But, about two weeks later, a farmer come in across the lake with a horse and buggy and he comes in and he says: "I found these on the lake." (laughs) And they could tell who it was because it was the serial number and everything else, telling you who it was. So he got a month duty (laughs). That was my two stories.

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