Extract from Tom Fitzgerald's interview by Tim Bowden for the Australian
War Memorial, 1989
Australian War Memorial: Tom Fitzgerald, Navigator No.
547 Squadron Royal Air Force RAF, interviewed by Tim Bowden for the Keith
Murdoch Sound Archive of Australia in the War of 1939-45, 10 March 1989,
ID Number: S00536
At that school [General Reconnaissance School at Summerside, Canada]
- this was the second fateful streaming point for me - we were told towards
the end of the course that, as it turned out and quite contrary to our
expectations, there was no prospect of any of us going into Bomber Command
in the UK, Bomber Command had its complement, we would all be in Coastal
We were also told that, if we took our absolutely final training, which
was the Operational Training Unit, OTU, in the Bahamas, we would get into
operations more quickly than if we went on to England where the OTUs,
again, were a bit over-blessed with people.
There was only a limited number of places available in the Bahamas, at
Nassau in the Bahamas. I opted to go to the Bahamas. I asked my very best
friend, Cam McCall…whom I'd known since Kingaroy days, to come with
me to the Bahamas so we could be together. But he had a brother in England,
and he said he would prefer to go to England. I therefore went definitely
to Coastal Command in the Bahamas, that was a Coastal Command OTU. [Photo
69 -- Bahamas]
He, like the others, went on to England. In his last letter to me, dated
early June 1944, he said that when they got to England they found the
delays in Coastal Command OTUs were even worse than they had expected,
and he and some others had asked could they be transferred to Bomber Command,
been told they couldn't, but later were told they could. And he did.
While others were virtually told that they had to, in his words, in quotation
marks, ‘volunteer’ to go from Coastal over to Bomber. As it
turned out, he was killed on his first bombing mission over Germany.