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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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A Reargunner's Tale

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Charles Heiden
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
08 September 2005

I was nineteen years old - a rear gunner for the desert air force in the 14th squadron. It was 1943 and we had landed in Guardabia where we were missioned to bomb mile harbour. After this was accomplished we had to take off from this very shallow harbour set in a deep valley. There were 22 aircraft amongst us - only 7 returned. Infront of me, i had to witness 15 aircraft crash into the mountains as they attempted to take off over the very steep mountains. Many of those who lost their lives were good friends of mine. Yet, we simply had to continue flying and the next day we were posted somewhere else. I'll will never forget this day.

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