Veteran Stories:
Martin “Marty” Albers

Air Force

  • Martin "Marty" Albers in his graduation photo after he completed Air Observer School in Edmonton, Alberta in 1943. Mr. Albers was 21 when he enlisted.

  • Mr. Albers' crew: F/Sgt Herring, Navigator; Mr. Albers, Air Bomber; Sgt. Hall, Rear Gunner; F/O Materly, Pilot; Sgt Froyling, Mid-Upper Gunner; Sgt. Coleman, Flight Engineer; F/Sgt Stephson, Wireless Operator.

  • RCAF helmet given to Mr. Albers when he was training in Manitoba. The intercom system for the crew went in the side of the helmet. Mr. Albers flew on Wellington and Halifax bombers.

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""I considered myself very lucky that we made it, because during that time I was in the squadron, only forty-nine percent of air crew survived.""

Transcript

This is Martin, also known as Marty, Albers. I enlisted in the RCAF in the fall of 1941, and I took some pilot training because I wanted to be an air bomber. After, I graduated as a Pilot Officer and went overseas. Took more training there at various bases. I started operations in August of 1943.

I went in Wellingtons. We bombed ammunition places that the Germans had established in western France. From there I went to the squadron and we went out thirty-five times. We hit the bad ones – the Ruhr Valley, Berlin, Leverkusen, Frankfurt, as well as Nuremberg, that disastrous raid where we lost ninety-five aircraft and six hundred and seventy men. During my time with the squadron we were also asked to check out the new and more advanced Halifax Bomber, but when we went out we had engine problems. We lost two engines far over northern Britain and we had to bail out. Somehow the pilot didn't get out and was killed. Subsequently, our rear gunner had gone out with the Wing Commander in our squadron, as he was waiting for us to re-crew. And he never turned up.

So in our crew of seven, the pilot and the rear gunner were killed, and our engineer and our radio operator had lost their nerve and quit flying. But three of us re-crewed and finished the tour. Anyway, I finished my tour of operations in August of 1944. Instead of coming home for a month, I took training as an instructor for air bombers coming over from Canada, and I stayed there until the end of the war. I considered myself very lucky that we made it, because during that time I was in the squadron, only forty-nine percent of air crew survived. We prayed a lot and there was a lot of fear, but we tried to do our best.

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