Certificates of Qualification stating that James O'Driscoll had recieved his wings and comission in 1943.James O'Driscoll
James O'Driscoll, 1943.James O'Driscoll
James O'Driscoll's operational wings certificate, 1945.James O'Driscoll
James O'Driscoll's flying uniform.James O'Driscoll
James O'Driscoll's collection of articles detailing his service.James O'Driscoll
"The next trip that aircraft took was with a different crew and they were all shot down. They were shot down the very first time they ever had that plane."
I was posted to Dauphin, Manitoba, to an airfield there. We were flying for bomber training. We took flights over targets on the prairies, day or night, we practiced bombing with small bombs, eleven and-a-half-pound bombs. In the daylight, when they hit, they would give off smoke and at night, they would flash. These targets were targets that had people that would measure how close you came to the target. And then after that, I was posted to an Observer School in Winnipeg. Then I was posted overseas. I was sent to England.
The first place I went to is Bournemouth, in the south of England, stayed there for a couple of months. Then I was posted to my squadron, which is a little place called [RAF] Kirmington, 166 Squadron. That was the Royal Air Force, the English air force. And that’s where I did my bombing raids from there.
One of the things they brief you on, before you go on a raid, they tell you about the weather. And in this particular raid, and I’ve forgotten where the target was, but they told us that the weather was going to be all clouded over, except for one spot, there was a hole in the clouds. When we got there, they were right; I couldn’t see the target at all because there was clouds all over the place. But just at the time we got to where we should be letting the bombs go, there was a hole in the clouds. But I didn’t get a good look, so I just instructed the pilot to go around and approach the target again. Which was kind of an unhealthy thing to do. Nobody in the rest of the crew appreciated it because we were all flying in flak [anti-aircraft fire].
But we saw the target eventually, right over this hole in the clouds, which I thought was pretty fantastic for the weather people, to be able to forecast where and when that hole in the clouds was going to be.
The biggest target that I can remember was the Ruhr Valley [in Germany] and there was all kinds of industrial armament manufacturing plants there, the Krupp munitions [Krupp AG, significant German steel, vehicles, munitions producer], they were located in the Ruhr Valley. And it was a very active area, lots of flak, if you flew over that valley. And that was, my last flight was in the end of October and it was in the Ruhr Valley. And I was glad to get home from that. The aircraft was called ‘J’ for Johnnie. When I did my last trip, I went on vacation in Wales. The next trip that aircraft took was with a different crew and they were all shot down. They were shot down the very first time they ever had that plane.