Alexander Kerr - Shot down returning from Hamburg

Running time
3 min 32 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


I was shot down on my fourth mission. Our target was Hamburg, the Blohm and Voss aircraft works at Hamburg.

We bombed our target and were on the way when some flak hit our aircraft and it severed the hydraulic line to the rear gun so that our rear gunner had no control of his gun after that, unfortunately, it might have been a different story, but as well as immobilising his gun it started a fire in the rear turret and as soon as that happened a searchlight picked us up from the ground.

Shortly after that, just a matter of minutes after that, a night fighter appeared and put a burst into our aircraft which set off one of our flares inside the aircraft so things weren't very good.

But as well as setting off one of the flares, the machine gun burst which hit our aircraft also hit me. I took seven bullets in my body.

Also our navigator, Bill Legg, took two bullets straight through his stomach and out the other side. So the captain gave the order to abandon aircraft and the front gunner and the wireless operator and the captain did so but I was lying on the floor of the aircraft unconscious and so was the navigator, Bill Legg, beside me and in the rear gun turret, Dave Fraser, who was our rear gunner found that he could not turn his turret around and jettison it out of the way that he normally would and so he had to crawl back into the body of the aircraft.

He knew there was an escape hatch there and when he did so he saw me lying there and I'd managed to crawl along a bit along toward the escape hatch. So he clipped my parachute on and put my hand on the rip cord and he kicked me out and he said 'For God's sake pull it.' So fortunately I came to consciousness enough to get that message and I pulled the rip cord and then I lost consciousness again and I floated down until all of a sudden with a bang I hit the ground.

When I think about it, had the rear gunner not been forced to come into the body of the aircraft which he normally wouldn't do in abandoning it he wouldn't have seen me there, so that would have been that.

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