Remembrance Day is right around the corner and I am proud to say that my Grandfather flew a typhoon in RAF 193 Squadron on D-Day in the Second World War. In relation to first aid and emergency kits, here is an excerpt written by my Grandfather (Jack “Boots” Brown) from a the book Flying Under Fire: Canadian Fliers Recall the Second World War recounting the supplies that he and other pilots were provided with before a typical fighter/bomber operation:
“We were each issued a pouch of French currency and an escape kit containing a water bottle, chocolate, a needle and thread, a fish hook, a compass, pills to keep us awake, and a list of French, German and Spanish words. Then we returned to the crew room, emptied our pockets of any identifying material, and donned life jackets and escape boots. These boots could be converted to street shoes by cutting off the uppers in the event that we had to wear civilian clothing to evade capture. In one boot we carried a dagger to deflate our seat-pack dinghy should it accidentally inflate in the air. We put on gloves and a flying helmet containing goggles, a microphone, earphones, and an oxygen mask.” (p.73)
The pilots of 193 Squadron pose with one of their aircraft and a 500-pound bomb at St-Croix-sur-Mer, Normandy, on 1 July 1944. My Grandfather, Jack “Boots” Brown, is pictured in the front row, 6th from the left.
Be calm, be confident and be thankful for those who fought for our freedom!