Veteran Stories:
Robert Perry

Air Force

  • Robert Perry still carries a photograph of a crew from his squadron that were killed on a bombing raid in 1944.

  • A copy of a letter from Mae West addressing the use of her name for allied life preservers.

  • Robert Perry is seen here (in the front row, on the far left), with the crew of his Halifax.

  • Robert Perry poses in his uniform while overseas.

  • A painting of a Halifax Bomber.

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"Their fighters were coming underneath our aircraft and shooting the cannons straight up. And blowing the bombers right out of the sky."

Transcript

There was an aircraft going down the runway and all of a sudden, he went right, he pulled up his wheels and just went on the grass. Oh geez, what the hell’s going on there. Anyways, we were the next and so when that was cleared, we were ready to go. And we got approved, so we started down the runway. And all of a sudden, Norman yells out, “I don’t have any airspeed, I don’t know what we’re flying at!” So he shuts it all off. And we were going at a pretty good clip.

Anyways, we went down the runway, we went off the runway and just in front of us here was a great big level where you’d have to go in and out. So we went down there, and the moment we went down there, the wheels came off and the bomb stuff, the material underneath the bombs were coming through and out. We kept on going, we were going to the other side, and just ahead of us there was a farmer with his material growing there. And we went through that and marked it and every damn thing else.

And things were flying all over. And we finally stopped and it was all shut off at that time, we finally stopped and we got the hell out of there, got away, because these bombs were all broken apart and we wondered what was going to happen to us. Oh, but we got out of there. And as we crossed over, they had sent a truck for us, said that, “There’s another aircraft, you can go and get that one.” Well, we’d have to go back and get our material, so I think we all agreed, what the hell, we’re not going to worry about that one, and we didn’t. And what happened was that the two things that I found funny was that actually, the commanding officer talked to the farmer and he said, and he was yelling about we hit some of his wheat down. And I thought to myself, here’s a, what, nearly a $40 million aircraft here and seven guys and he wasn’t worried about that.

So, well, we got in his car and went there but we said, the pilot said, just take our time. So we started to put this stuff in the aircraft and they finally called us and said, “Don’t bother.” So we went back to our rooms and we got cleaned up and went downtown and had some beer.

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