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An amazing Russian woman - not a dancer


Pas de Quatre
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Fascinating - and sad. 

 

Sad, too, that the women were willing to give their lives like their male counterparts but were  given the worst of equipment (or none in the case of parachutes) to do the job. 

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A very interesting story Pas de Quatre . Extraordinary dedication and bravery. My dad was a gunner on a Halifax plane which had a sort of bubble on the top where he sat. I thought he was pretty brave but I think he and the rest of the crew did have parachutes at least which luckily they never had to use.

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Lin: Sounds like your Dad would have been what was called a Mid-Upper Gunner, flying in one of these, where the upper turret is clearly seen:

 

file-1.jpg

 

Yes, they would have had parachutes and, as you say, he was fortunate not to have to use his - many were less so - and you may rightly think of him as having been brave.  Might I ask which squadron(s) he flew with?  If No 10 Squadron, we need a conversation offline here.

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What a super picture!! Thanks

 

He flew with 51 squadron based up near Leconfield I think or somewhere in South Yorkshire anyway.

 

I have a great picture of him with his crew standing by the plane. I wish I could post it but cant. I think a lot of Canadians flew in the Halifaxes. Unfortunately there is only one left flying now and that is in Canada.

 

His crew won the DFM medal but he never talked about this and I did not find out about it till I was in my forties.

You can PM me any time about this....where did squadron 10 fly from?

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Recently I watched a TV documentary about female pilots in the UK in WWII, they used to fly their planes, spitfires and the like, from the manufacturers to the air bases but weren't allowed into actual combat.  One of the girls was a real beauty and had her picture on the front of magazines, but the best story was the one where the girl delivered her plane and stepped out to be asked by a member of ground crew where the pilot was, she explained she was the pilot but he didn't believe her and searched the plane himself to look for the man who had flown it.  A feat beyond the capabilities of any woman of course.

 

Attitudes to women back then really were the same as in Harry Enfield's Mr Cholmondley-Warner sketches.

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As I recall reading, in the USA during WW2, women were the test pilots.  When a plane was repaired a woman pilot took it up to make sure it worked.

 

They also trained the men to fly in combat.  Some of them rather enjoyed looping around till their students were a bit green in the face with very upset tummies. :)

 

Though these women were in the military and wore military uniforms - there were no medals, little to no recognition, and no post military benefits. 

 

A lot of this was also true for nurses who served in the military - many in very dangerous places like in the Pacific theater where many ended up in Japanese prisoner camps. 

 

As I also recall readding - there were a number of British women who "manned" the radio towers to aid British pilots and became particular targets of the Luftwaffe. 

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