Belgian aircraftman and NCO served with RAF in GB and Canada, 1942-1944; NCO and officer served as pilot with No 350 Sqdn, RAF in GB, North West Europe and Germany, 1944-1945
REEL 1 Background to joining Royal Air Force in GB, 3/1942: background in Charleroi and Brussels; reaction to German invasion, 10/5/1940; journey to coast; news of father's wounding and evacuation to GB; scenes in Ostend; crossing of Channel, 27-28/5/1940, including attack from E-boat, wounds received and population of ship; father's time as POW during First World War; reason for return to France; journey to Rennes; news of German victory; attempt to travel into Spain; car journey to Belgium; hospitalisation in Deal; father's preparations for escape to GB including journey to Lyons; journey to GB via Lisbon and Gibraltar; life in occupied Brussels, 1940-1942; activities during period in Gibraltar harbour; details of period in Portugal; voyage to Greenock; arrival in GB; details of Patriotic School; joining of Royal Air Force. Aspects of period as aircraftman and NCO in Royal Air Force in GB and Canada, 3/1942-7/1944: initial period in London. REEL 2 Continues: pattern of training including knowledge of English language; promotion to leading aircraftman and increase in pay; flight training with de Havilland Tiger Moth; wait in Manchester for voyage to Canada; details of voyage to Newfoundland; weather on arrival; train journey across Canada to De Winton; climate; rations in GB and Canada; leisure activities in Calgary; opinion of training; leave in Vancouver; background of airmen; posting to and details of Medicine Hat; pattern of training; discipline and punishments; buying and drinking alcohol; story of celebration on first weekend; details of aerobatics tests; failure rate including reasons for failure; Canadian Military Police presence; opinion of night flying; navigation in Canada; question of accidents; flying of North American Harvard. REEL 3 Continues: visit to brother in Quebec including impressions of French Canadian civilians; conditions and activities during return voyage to GB; wait for squadron posting including assistance given to local farmers; conversion course and differences from flying in Canada; flying hours; health problems; first flights in Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes including story of crash on landing; story of eating officers' meals; opinion of Supermarine Spitfire; rank; opinion of relationship between NCOs and officers; details of fighter pilot training in Supermarine Spitfire Mk II. Aspects of operations as NCO with No 350 (Belgian) Sqdn Royal Air Force in GB, 7/1944-10/1944: story of first flight in squadron. REEL 4 Continues: details of first bomber escort operation; life with squadron; rations; story of cousin's death; duties of squadron; news of Brussels' liberation; squadron's actions against V-1s and V-2s including first landing and night in Brussels. Aspects of operations as NCO and officer with No 350 (Belgian) Sqdn Royal Air Force in North West Europe, 10/1944-5/1945: memories of Wing Commander Johnnie Johnson including briefing for action over Germany; reactions to and results of orders including opinion of bomber escort duties; reflections on life as fighter pilot; involvement in Battle of the Bulge and German reaction to Allied air activity; hit taken from anti-aircraft and concerns during return flight; landing in Brussels. REEL 5 Continues: details of and reaction to posting to Limbourg, 31/12/1944; description of German attack on airfield, 1/1/1945; return to GB for re-equipment; leave and posting to Eindhoven; story of attack made on train and loss of leader; solo return flight to airfield including problems encountered en route; debriefing; landing in Celle; subsequent actions against German armed forces and airplanes including Messerschmitt Me 262; story of fighter sweep over Berlin; visit to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp including contact with inmates and taking of clothes from civilians for inmates. REEL 6 Continues: opposition faced in closing stages of war; physical state; details of operations involved in including Battle of the Bulge and opposition from German fighter planes; VE Day celebrations including story of first motorcycle ride. Aspects of period as officer with No 350 (Belgian) Sqdn Royal Air Force in Germany, 1945: accommodation; details of fly passes involved in; posting in Copenhagen; contact with civilians and leisure activities; education undertaken by mail; departure from Royal Air Force. Aspects of period as civilian in GB and Belgium from 1945: later flights; civilian work; reason for not joining reserve air force and reflections on decision; reason for not flying again; comradeship in air force and reunions.