Flight Lieutenant, Gunner Jim Petersen DFM

Arriving at Breiton  as a Sergeant, Jim spent a long time on operations, Flying with 10 different pilots, as he flew mainly as an odd bod. Any crew short on a gunner was joined by Jim. He flew a couple of trips in Wellingtons as the front gunner but wasn't too happy as there was too much action for him to see, and he was much happier as the "tail end Charlie" excepting on one trip through the Ruhr, when an ack – ack explosion turned their Lancaster completely upside down. Jim suspended upside down over the Ruhr target, held in place by his belt, only had one worry "How the hell could I get out, if I have to bale out, When I get out which way do I go Up or Down". His other pet hate was to be sent with a rookie crew while on his second tour. After flying with Sgt Sullivan a NZ pilot who weaved most of the journey making Jim airsick he fronted up to the squadron commander Wing Commander Chad Martin, and complained to please not send him with a sprog pilot. Thereafter he completed the last six raids of his second tour by invitation as Chad Martin's rear gunner.

Jim Petersen ended his two tours with a Distinguished Flying Medal and a rank of Flight Lieutenant as gunnery leader on 576 Canadian squadron. Air crew usually owned a bike to get from one place to the other, and many bikes changed hands. It was common for a mate to be given the option of taking his mate's bike should his mate get the chop. Here Jim proudly rides his inherited mate's Doug McLoud bike after Doug was shot down over Dutchie, Holland. As Jim said, " he was a wonderful mate he even left me his bike. I didn't like taking it, but as it was pointed out if I didn't take and use it then someone else would".

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