Well, I joined the RCAF [Royal Canadian Air Force] I think in 1942 and after graduating as a pilot, I found myself joining the RAF-TC, which is RAF [Royal Air Force] Transport Command. Well, Transport Command simply took airplanes from one place to another and they were always unarmed airplanes. And usually, not accompanied by other airplanes. We were simply transporters. We just took them from one place to another. In my case, most of my transporting was from Canada to the U.K. [United Kingdom] and to North Africa as well.
I took 12 over in total and six of them were Mosquitoes. The others were a mixed bag. It was a lovely little airplane, made of plywood. A lot of people don’t know that. They carried I think it was two 1,200 horsepower Rolls-Royce engines. They were just wonderful. I set a transatlantic record flying one of them, six hours and 42 minutes. I had taken a number of them across. I think six or eight. Mostly we went from one place to another in order to get there and this time I got silly and I had an extra fuel tank strapped or attached I guess, two gasoline caps was under the wings, one under each wing. And you use those up and then with a button, you could get rid of them. And then you’d be on your normal gas tanks from there on.
So being able to do that, and having decent weather conditions, you were able to get across with a Mosquito. On this particular day, decent wind conditions and so on and so forth, I did it in six hours and 42 minutes from Gander, Newfoundland to Prestwick, Scotland. I had a little squirt of a guy who called himself a navigator but he had trouble finding the bathroom.
Mr. Weather, he was the one and only challenge. I mean, I was flying Mosquitoes, so they’re pretty fast. I wasn’t worried about Jerry [the enemy], could run away from him easily. But you couldn’t run away from the weather.