November 11, 2011 | Posted in:Childhood, Family, Holidays

Today is Remembrance Day.

This is my grandfather. He was a tail gunner in World War II, and a member of the RAF228 Squadron where he accepted the detail of tail gunner. He had initially planned to be a pilot, but when they asked him to be a tail gunner he accepted.

They asked him because the average lifespan of a British tail gunner in WWII was less than two weeks or 10 missions.

Being a tail gunner was “a dangerous and un-enviable position.” You sat in a cramped rear turret of an airplane, froze your ass off, and tried to return enemy fire while being cut off from the rest of the crew who were often flying over the most dangerous territory.

TWO WEEKS.

Frankly, they were running out of men for the position.  They knew it; everyone there knew it. 

My grandfather knew it.

He accepted.  

Today I will remember my grandfather, who fought in WWII and came home. He came home, had a family and was able to hold his first great-grandchild, my beautiful daughter.

Remember the men and women like him who came home from a horrible duty.  

Remember those who didn’t.

  • http://loyalistcottage.blogspot.com Debra

    My husband’s uncle held the same position. He never made it. I’m glad somebody did.
    I never commented before but I just want to tell you I love your blog!

  • http://highlyirritable.wordpress.com highlyirritable

    Thank you so much, Debra.

    Your husband’s uncle was a brave man.

  • michaeljones909

    A very brave man lndeed ,it took a lot of courage to do that particular job.I believe they where called tail-end charlie’s and their were very few takers for the job,glad to see he survived the odds.

  • Bonnie Duimstra

    Beautiful story, Jeni. My Dad was in the Air Force also – and obviously was was one of the lucky ones who came home safe.

  • http://www.hearinglosss.blogspot.com ronniecat

    I suggest everyone who reads this post to also Google “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” to understand. I’m a bit weepy so that’s all.

  • Myrna

    Hey Jeni
    That was beautiful.
    Love, Aunt Myrna

    • http://highlyirritable.wordpress.com highlyirritable

      Thank you, Myrna. XO

  • Tracey

    ..thank you for sharing that Jeni..what an awesome man!! You must be proud!!

  • http://www.gooddayregularpeople.com Alexandra

    He came home?

    Thank God for that.

    And Thank You for your service, dear man.

  • auntie

    What a touching remembrance of your grandfather and my dad. I miss him a lot but especially on Remembrance Day. He was very proud to be part of the Royal Air Force in England and shared some of his experiences with our family. He would be so proud of his grand daughter too!!

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