One of my postings during WWII before I went overseas was in Bathurst New Brunswick.
We were flying Ansons at the time. There were usually four of us in the Anson and two students in training – making a total of six. We all got to know each other quite well – sometimes too well.
On one of our flights over PEI, my wireless air-gunner (WAG) asked me if I’d land because he wanted to see his girlfriend. Of course, we couldn’t just land – we were working. I said, “no”. He wasnt’ too happy, but accepted and understood my decision. We had respect for one another.
A bad habit we both had, however, was that we both smoked. You have to remember that smoking in those days was much more acceptable as the hazards were not well known. Everyone smoked. And if you were in the Forces, even more of us smoked. Anyhow, since even then cigarette smoke was bothersome, we needed to open the windows in the Anson we were flying. My WAG opened the window so far it actually slid right out. That wasn’t the biggest problem we had. You see when it slid out it flew to the back of the plane and hit the tail. It made one hell of a bang. I didn’t know what kind of damage the window had done and, wouldn’t you know it, I felt the best thing to do was to land the craft.
I radioed in an emergency landing – guess where – Prince Edward Island. The landing went well – the plane was checked over – but we couldn’t get back up into the air until the morning. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves – so we decided to go downtown for a couple of drinks. My buddy arranged to meet his girlfriend afterall.
We were back in the air the following morning – the plane was fixed and my buddy’s heart too. I guess some things are just destined to be – with a little help from lady luck.