Veteran Stories:
Douglas Victor Haynes

Air Force

  • Contemporary Photograph of Mr. Douglas Haynes.

    Douglas Haynes
  • Portrait of Douglas Haynes in Calcutta, India, 1944.

    Douglas Haynes
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"I remember that we all had to muck in and do the best of a bad job. Well, I remember Harry Dodd, George Keane, Robert Aldus, and Monkman. A different group of men and different characters, but we were a cheerful lot in the long run."

Transcript

I was posted to [No.] 17 Fighter Squadron on the 10th of November, 1939, no. 11 Group, defense of London. We weren’t doing very much the first part of the war and about May 1940, it started and we were pretty busy from then on. First part of the war, we were patrolling the English Channel and defending the ships that were sailing around. The first time we came in action was in May. We moved over to France and we flew from France and it was pretty hectic at the time because the Germans were advancing very rapidly and we were skating around all over the place. We were moving regularly on very short notice, very disorganized. So many good things like the [Hawker] Hurricane. It was the most beautiful aircraft that was ever made as far as I was concerned. It was single engine, but it was a beautiful aircraft and it could take any amount of punishment and still come home. I got shot up and legs was damaged, and I couldn’t fly anymore. It was a Messerschmitt 110 fired from the air, from underneath. A bullet came up through the floor of the aircraft and entered my right leg. I was retrained as a wireless operator and HFDF operator, as High Frequency Direction Finding. I was posted to Farnborough in Hampshire after I qualified, but I volunteered for overseas when another fellow was posted and his wife was pregnant and he didn’t want to go, of course, so I went instead. We were seven of us in the unit that transferred out. We did wireless operations and reported back to the base by wireless. We had to be pretty well self-contained and first time I was out, I was out for 15 months and then we returned to Calcutta [India]. There was seven men in it and we had a tent if we were lucky. We listened out all of the time for enemy activity. The Japanese weren’t as well organized with radio as we were. I didn’t like the Japanese, I hated the Japanese quite frankly, and I still do. Some of their tactics were pretty terrible. I remember the comradeship with the fellows I was with. I remember that we all had to muck in and do the best of a bad job. Well, I remember Harry Dodd, George Keane, Robert Aldus, and Monkman. A different group of men and different characters, but we were a cheerful lot in the long run. I think they ought to know there’s far more troops out there than they realized. There was over a million troops as far as I know, and they had a pretty rough time.
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