Saturday, July 25th (St. James’ Day)
I’ve posted this picture before. It’s my father William James Hunter in his RAF training gear. Today makes the 79th anniversary of him being shot down. His Beaufort Bomber was attacking the battleship Scharnhorst – a brave but futile action, since one lone aircraft couldn’t hope to do much damage. Still, they tried, and were promptly shot down. The wireless operator, Sgt. Appleby, was killed outright. A large caliber shell saw to that. The others survived to become POWs.
The fact was not lost of my father that this, the worst day of his life, turned out to be a blessing. Because he was captured he survived the war; many others in his squadron didn’t. The loss rate was about 70%. He reckoned his patron saint was looking out for him that day.
I often think of that when things look especially bleak.