Once I met a retired English man at Stone Bridge Park subway station, northeast of London. The station was empty on a Sunday morning. We expected the arrival of the convoy that those hours spent every long time. I saw a guy sweeping the sidewalk full of vomit and garbage weekend. I happened to tell ..
What a thankless job, isn´t it?
Ungrateful?. Son. I’ll tell you what it was a thankless job.
Being tail gunner in a heavy bomber in World War II was not ungrateful, it was a deadly bitch. You could give your self for fucking.
We were young guys, we had done a course at RAF artillery, people who were not worth for pilots, navigators or bombers, but with guts, good aim and reflexes.
Most did not live to tell the tale.
It was like being gunner, but instead of an anti air battery in Dover, from a port Mate-watching, looking the wiggles of auxiliary nursing home guard along the promenade and wear fancy uniform at the Pub Royal Oak at dusk, you had to flight by night out tucked inside a glass bubble in the tail of a Lancaster or Wellington bomber to defend him in flight from attacks by packs of BF109.
The post is a cold and lonely place, separated from the rest of the crew by two doors and 11 meters fuselage. A very narrow gap, where just fit oneself, there was no place for the parachute, so that only wearing the harness
You were wearing a heavy parka, pants and boots lined of sheepskin at minus 10 degrees and expect the accurate arrival of black dots in the sky that gradually came closer enough to see the krauts faces ready to download their tracers and then all the ammunition of 30mm over you.
Or anti-aircraft explosions that could exploit you at any time.
I use to hang the picture of my girlfriend in the cockpit or American pin up to cheer, but honestly my real girlfriend who I petted and revised a thousand times were the ammunition belts and gears of my mg17, 50 caliber.
That occupation son, was thankless indeed. But someone had to do it.