Edison Trott with the 1st Canadian Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, 1940. Mr. Trott served in the army before transferring to the Royal Canadian Air Force.Edison Trott
Edison Trott and his wife Joyce on their wedding day, 1943.Edison Trott
Edison Trott in his Royal Canadian Air Force uniform. He started his military career as a private in the Canadian Army and finished as a RCAF officer.Edison Trott
The front cover of Edison Trott's air force log book.Edison Trott
Edison Trott's log book showing the sortie to Stuttgart, Germany on 25 July 1944.Edison Trott
Edison Trott's log book showing sorties to the German cities of Kiel (16 August 1944), Bremen (18 August 1944), and the French city of Brest (25 August 1944 and 28 August 1944).Edison Trott
"The city was in flames and the heat was coming up and there was an airman, in a parachute, and he was swinging back and forth but it wasn’t going down because of the heat coming up from the fires below."
Well, I worked in a hydro-electric power plant at Seven Sisters on the Winnipeg River [Manitoba], and when war was declared, we all thought “Well, it’ll be over in a day” – I mean this is not serious. But it was. So, on the 1st of July 1940, I went into town and joined the Royal Winnipeg Rifles. I didn’t get very far with them; got out to Shilo [Manitoba], and I was there about ten days and there was a call came out for six people to transfer into the 1st Canadian Light Ack-Ack Battery of Yorkton, Saskatchewan.* It was going overseas to fill out their complement. So I thought, “Well that’s for me.” And, in a matter of – in August, about August the 27th, 1940 I was in Britain. I stayed with the unit, the 1st Canadian Light Ack Battery, but went on a number of courses as a gun-fitter and eventually was moved over into – when they put all trades people into the Royal Canadian O[rdnance] C[orps]. So, I moved over with them. And then a call went out that they wanted air crew, and I thought, “Maybe that’s for me, too.” So, went up to London [England] with the whole battery, because you got a day off to go up to London. I went through and they said, “No, you’re no good as a pilot, perhaps a navigator.” And went I got back they said, “If you’re not taken as a pilot, you don’t go.” Unfortunately, I didn’t go, on that one. But, I went on a number of courses from the army and when I got back from one course, there was anger with me. I was out on the parade square about one hour and they called me out and sent me to get my kit bag and to get off the station. And I was now transferred into the RCAF. Now that was a bit of a fluke, because one of the men, that I went overseas with in the 1st Canadian Light Ack-Ack Battery, he’d been injured and then gone into the air force and was in their administration unit. And he happened to see my file going by and he said, “Oh, that’s him” – tossed it into this basket. And about a year and three months later I was in the air force, whether I liked it or not.
As an air gunner, they were supposed to go with a tried crew. And I went with one, this crew, and the guy had, he had 20 flights in and number of them to Berlin. And, we went to Le Mans [France] marshalling yard, just outside of Brussels[sic], and there was a bulge in the bottom of the Halifax [bomber aircraft] with an opening about 18 to 20 inches wide and there was a .5 machine gun,** on an elastic band that you pushed it out, pulled it back, and put your head out to see what you could. And, all I did see, when we were over Le Mans, and coming out, was two or three aircraft being shot down, and the sky was brighter than the sun. So I got home and wondered, “Is this the place I should be?” Well, there was no turning back. So I did 30 flights, mostly in the Low Countries, over places in Holland, Kiel [Germany], and that, but never deep into Germany – yes, once – to Stuttgart.
The first few we did – and you more or less set out with a number and you’re on your own, but later on you were in a group. And, the first one, which was Stuttgart - we got over there, and here was some poor guy. The city was in flames and the heat was coming up and there was an airman, in a parachute, and he was swinging back and forth but it wasn’t going down because of the heat coming up from the fires below. And I often think of him, you know, you see him back – I don’t know whether he was Canadian or British, but he was in a RCAF uniform, with his hat on, by the way, his officer’s hat. And people would swerve slightly, to go by.
On D-Day [6 June 1944], we were going in to bomb on the coast of Normandy, and there were searchlights between Leicester [England] and London, every mile pointing up in the air, and we flew on one side and on the other side they were taking [in] paratroopers. And what might have been, maybe a two or three-hour flight ended up being eight and some hours, because as soon as you went over the coast and dropped your bombs, you turned around and you went out to sea, for so many – well, was about seven hours, frankly, and then we came back and we landed on a fighter [aero]drome and our pilot got reprimanded, because, when he was parking the plane on the fighter ‘drome, he clipped the wing of another Halifax and knocked some skin off. So, that was about it.
*1st (Yorkton) Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery
**.303in Browning machine gun