With the phrase “we were lucky to get away with it” and a ready laugh, 97-year-old Douglas Smith describes some of the close calls he had as a trainee and later bomber pilot during World War ll. Luck yes, but skill too, as he survived a 30 mission tour of duty. Douglas first tasted action flying a small, twin engine Dakota Boston over France and the Netherlands. Graduating to four engine Lancasters, he took part in huge raids over some of Germany’s biggest cities. Never afraid himself, he laments the vast loss of life among friends and enemies.
Nuremburg, I was on that raid, we lost a hundred aeroplanes that night. A hundred four engine bombers out of eight or nine hundred. Berlin one night, we lost 85. We were losing far too many aeroplanes. That’s why you realise you were bloody lucky to get away with it.– Douglas Smith