Clarence Dietman - Death of his brother

Running time
1 min 50 sec
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Well, I was a radar operator on the HMS Sussex. Then tragedy hit. My brother got killed in the Air Force. He was only 19 and three quarters. He was a rear gunner on a Lancaster. That was on the 22nd of February 1944, when I was still on the Sussex. I asked the skipper, "Could I go home to my parents for leave?"

I wanted to stay on the ship, but he says, "Unfortunately Dietman, we gotta draft you off." 'Cause they got about an hour's notice to go to sea. He had to draft me off the ship. Otherwise, I would've stayed on the ship. I liked the ship.

But I thought my parents ... He was my only brother. My parents were pretty well upset. So was I, for that matter, I couldn't comprehend it ... 19 and three quarters, killed. Returning from a ride over Stuttgart and he's returning from an air raid over Stuttgart, and they crashed.

That must've ... They were shot at so much they crashed. He's buried in England. I haven't been to England. I would've made England for D-Day had I stayed on the Sussex, but I couldn't. I had to be drafted off and I thought my parents came first.

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