David Waterman flew on Lancaster bombers during the Second World War with 408 squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
David Waterman was a navigator with 408 squadron that was part of No.6 Group Bomber Command stationed out of Linton-On-Ouse, near York, England. The Royal Canadian Air Force took over command of the airbase at Linton-on-Ouse in June 1943, which equiped the 408 Squadron initially with Lancasters and later with Halifax bombers.
David flew on numerous missions over Germany with the 408 squadron, including missions to Helgoland Island to bomb German U-boat pens, and to Peenemunde where V1 and V2 rockets were launched in attacks against England.
David recalled flying missions with hundreds of other bombers and fighter escorts in tight formations, with not only the danger of enemy anti-aircraft fire and fighter planes to contend with, but also with the real danger of mid-air collisions with other bombers.
Flying for long hours in an unheated Lancaster was difficult, which added to the already strained nerves of a bombing mission. David also recalled, that when they had been unable to get to their designated targets, they would purposely drop their bombs on unpopulated areas to avoid civilian injuries.
During the war, two of David's cousins had also volunteered with the RCAF. David Davidner of Winnipeg was a navigator on Lancaster bombers, and his other cousin, Philip Waterman of Vancouver, was a Spitfire pilot. Both of these men were shot down during the war and captured by the Germans. They remained imprisoned in Germany as POW's for the remainder of the war.
The experience of flying all those missions took it's toll on David, and as he recalled, after the war it was always difficult to travel on airplanes again. David Waterman was proud of his service as a Canadian and a Jewish war veteran, and remembered his fellow aircrew fondly.
The 408 "Goose" Squadron distinguished itself during the war by flying over 4,600 sorties and dropping over 11,000 tons of bombs. A total of 170 aircraft were lost and 933 aircrew were either killed, listed as missing in action or taken prisoners of war.
Squadron members were awarded two hundred decorations, including 160 DFC's (Distinguished Flying Cross) and 30 DFM's (Distinguished Flying Medal), and 11 battle honours for its wartime operations.