The Pyjama Interview
In 1944 Harry Hardy was a Typhoon pilot with 440 RCAF Squadron flying ground attack missions against the German Army in Holland. Today, he is a member of the Friends of the Canadian War Museum living in Burnaby, BC.
This 9 minute video was recorded in November, 1994. Harry and his former squadron-mate, Bill Clifford appear resplendent in their pyjamas – Harry in the grey ensemble and Bill in the striped!
When asked to describe the squadron both of them remark on how short of pilots they were – only 19 out of 27 were available for operations.
They then go on to describe three different missions. In the first, one of their colleagues was forced to crash land after suffering damage. He was thought to be lost because nothing was heard of him until he turned up over a month later after being assisted by the local Dutch population.
The second did not have such a happy ending. Another squadron pilot, Buck Jenvey, attacked an enemy supply train causing a large explosion. Unfortunately, Buck flew through the explosion debris, damaging his aircraft, causing him to ditch. After eluding capture for two months he was captured by the Germans and shot. Harry and Bill talk about how they had been able to discover Buck’s grave site.
The final incident was one in which Harry himself was forced to bail out after being damaged while attacking a Tiger tank. He notes that he opened his parachute too early, when he was travelling too fast, causing him to lose his gloves and creating a frightening descent. This gives rise to a joke between Harry and Bill about the effects of having his parachute harness on too tightly.
Fortunately, Harry landed in an Allied army camp and lived to fight another day and to share these reminiscences with us.