BOMBERS: Reaping The Whirlwind
By David S. Craig, With Music by Justin Hiscox
“BOMBERS” is a story of the optimism, patriotism and heroism of the young men and women who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, 6 Group (Bomber Command) during the Second World War. Bomber Command was Canada’s largest contribution – in cost and human loss – to the war effort. The story opens with Kate Ritchie, a young historian, who has come from England to interview Peter Benton, 94, who is living with his daughter Margaret. Old Peter has never spoken of his war experiences but Kate has pictures which provoke his memories who, in the form of the acting company, come alive on stage and demand his attention and honesty. He is reminded of his crew – Bobby, Gordy, Artie et al and the young woman, Emma Ross, whom he met on the boat crossing the Atlantic on his way to England.
As the story unfolds, we are drawn into the optimism and youthful hope of these young man, this naïve and undertrained crew, the mechanics and the officers who became part of the machine, and their ultimate acceptance of the devastation that this war is bringing. In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, Peter pilots his crew on harrowing missions; there is loss, but also triumph. The story is one of loyalty, bravery, honestly and fear and ultimately one in which Peter Benton looks his past in the face, one that he has been reluctant to remember, greets each memory with clarity and compassion and accepts that the glory that he envisioned as a young pilot, serving in a devastating war, belonged to the members of his crew, the people on the ground, the friends whom he lost and the young woman whom he loved and had to leave.