Sam Garnet had this photo taken on April 22, 1945, while stationed at Leuchars, Scotland, with #547 Squadron.Sam Garnet
Silk handkerchief Sam Garnet sent to his mother in 1944. He bought it in Londonderry and had the words: "To Mom from Sammy" painted on it.Sam Garnet
Booklet for the 66th entry of the No.2 Wireless School in Calgary, Alberta. All graduates of the school are listed and Sam Garnet tried to keep track of his classmates, 1943.Sam Garnet
Photo of a museum exhibit showing indentification tags that Sam Garnet's crew wore in case they were shot down over Russian territory. The tags said in Russian: "We are British."Sam Garnet
A view inside the barracks at the Air Force base in Leuchars, Scotland. There were five or six squadrons at this base during the war.Sam Garnet
"The Channel looked like you could walk across it, there was so much shipping in there. Very few of our ships were sunk by the Germans."
My name is Sam Garnet. I joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in October of 1942, and because I had left school when I was only sixteen, they sent me off to Queen's University for six weeks to bring my academic stuff up. After Queen's, they decided that I had the ability, or the adaptability, to be a wireless operator and a wireless air gunner. I spent about six months in Calgary at the No. 2 Wireless School there. After wireless, we went to Fingal, Ontario, where we did our bombing and gunnery. It was the first time I fired a gun, and it was a machine gun. I wasn't very good at it, but they passed me and they gave me my wings.
I was then sent to operational training in Nassau, and we became part of the Royal Air Force. We did about three months in Nassau, flying in B-25 Mitchells, and then on to the B-24 Liberator. I then joined a squadron – Coastal Command Squadron 547 – and we were stationed at a drome called St. Ebal. From there we did lots of patrols, especially down in the Bay of Biscay, and halfway across the Atlantic. That lasted until D-Day. We did a lot of work on D-Day. The Channel looked like you could walk across it, there was so much shipping in there. Very few of our ships were sunk by the Germans. We had the Channel pretty well covered, and that finished D-Day. And after D-Day, I was posted to a permanent drome in Leuchars, Scotland, near Dundee. That's when I got my commission. I sat before a commissioning board. That was rather difficult, but fortunately I passed it.
I guess the highlight of my career in the Air Force was when we did a patrol, or raids, to an island called Bornholm. Bornholm is due south of Sweden. We flew from Scotland at about fifty feet until we got to Norway, and up over Norway, over Sweden, and down over Stockholm. It was the first time I had seen, in almost two years, night lights on, because Sweden was a neutral country. They told us that the Swedes would throw anti-aircraft at us, but they also told us that they would do it only to tell us we were on course. The Germans were working on midget submarines – two-man subs – that were very, very fast, and very maneuverable. Everyone was quite worried about what those midget subs could do. At Bornholm, the Germans were training their crews to handle those midget subs, and we did two raids to help knock out the subs and maybe the personnel.