Albert Ray Irvine recounts his experiences as a flying officer, wireless air gunner, 214 Squadron, No 100 (Bomber Support) Group and a prisoner of war, 1942-1945, in an oral memoir.

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Accession Number S02855
Collection type Sound
Measurement 50 min 8 sec
Object type Memoir
Physical description audio cassette; BASF Ferro Extra I 60; mono
Maker Irvine, Albert Ray
Irvine, Albert Ray
Place made Canada
Date made 1992-07-05
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

Irvine discusses his training in Australia, Canada and Waddington in England before posting to 214 Squadron flying Stirlings and then B-17s specially equipped with radar jamming devices to protect the main bomber force; 34 operations on his first tour; shot down south of Stuttgart on 14 March 1945 on 41st mission (second tour); parachute landing in the Black Forest; discovered by a German civilian and his dog; skipper and navigator also captured; interrogation by German officers including the shooting of his fellow air men, head dunked in bathtub and almost drowned. Surprised by the amount of information the German officer had on his squadron. After several days of interrogation was taken to POW camp Stalag 5A. Camp held 2000 allied prisoners with a separate compound holding 2000 Soviet prisoners; very poor conditions in camp; Red Cross parcels; American P-38 Lightning aircraft attacked a target nearby; after several months all prisoners were ordered on forced march away from advancing American forces; American P-38 aircraft attacked column killing some Soviet POWs at end of column; attacks stopped when it was realised they were prisoners of war; German guards shot those who fell behind; became too ill and weak to continue on march and was assisted by some Gurkhas and Indian troops; walking for a number of days; POWs stole food from houses and farms they passed; some allied prisoners bashed and raped German women as well as stealing from them; American 7th Armoured Division caught up with column near Munich; put on American C-47 (DC-3) aircraft and flown to France where they transferred to RAF aircraft for flight to Gatwick in England; took train to Brighton to join Australians; after a period of recuperation travelled to Liverpool where he boarded the SS Mauritania for his return to Australia. END OF RECORDING

  • Listen to Albert Ray Irvine recounts his experiences as a flying officer, wireless air gunner, 214 Squadron, No 100 (Bomber Support) Group and a prisoner of war, 1942-1945, in an oral memoir.