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Father’s Mission

  • Minnie Driver
  • Interview by: Joshua Levine


You know, it was the coldest winter on record, 1939,

flying a daylight raid, which they never flew again.

That was the first and last daylight raid,

and the fact that when they got to Wilhelmshaven,

the gunboats they were meant to bomb,

which they had the intel that were at sea,

they were in harbor.

According with the rules of war from the First World War,

you never bombed a boat that was a gunboat

that was in harbor because of civilian casualties,

so it was a noble turning around and going back.

From what I found out, they had no idea

of the development of the Messerschmitts, of the 101,

they had no idea that they had become

as brilliant as they had.

They were these great, lumbering bombers.

They were so hard to defend.

My dad was very uneasy about being made a hero by it,

because I think the MOD, they wanted heroes.

You know, it just beggars belief.

The dinghy hadn't been tethered to the wing

of the Wellington when it went in.

Dad dove into the water and dragged it back,

then helping these wounded men off into the dinghy

and then jumping back in to get Ramshaw.

Also not knowing, they didn't know

if it was a trawler or a German gunboat.

They didn't know, and they knew

that they were gonna ditch and they were for sure gonna die,

but the fact that they didn't,

and then the story unfolds, I mean,

I am sad I can't talk about it with Dad

or I couldn't introduce him to all these amazing people

that I've met who have nothing

but sort of quiet compassion for what

all those men went through

as opposed to this giant celebration that, I think,

so many of these men felt terribly uncomfortable.

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