Crew - Rear Gunner

Personal particulars

Height - 5 ft 2in min and no taller than 6 ft
Weight - not over 175lbs

Physical position and conditions

location of rear gunner

He sat in isolation in the rear turret. He had the control yoke between his legs and used this to rotate the turret and elevate his 4 x .303 machine guns. Very cramped. Space too small to store parachute – stores outside turret. No time to get out of turret and put parachute on, resulting in many rear gunners not escaping in an emergency! Usually the crew member who got the coldest.

Responsibilities

Because of his position and what he could see, it was often the gunners who advised the pilot on evasive action.

Dress

A typical uniform consisted of a helmet, oxygen mask, parachute, boots, shirt, trousers, tie, gloves, a whistle and an escape kit.

The mid upper gunner and rear gunner would also wear a flying suit as these positions meant that they was exposed to the elements. It was electrically wired and adapted for use under extreme conditions by using a variety of electrically heated linings, gloves and boot liners.

AWM UK1219Flying Officer E. H. Giersch, Henty, NSW, in the rear turret of the Lancaster bomber "Whoa Bessie", of No. 463 Squadron RAAF of Bomber Command. UK1219