Received some flak damage over target. Relieved to have made it away from target okay. Returning to base on a bright moonlight night.
Procedure at base was to contact tower and search lights would be turned on over runway. Due to danger of enemy aircraft, runway lights would not be turned on until final approach.
Pilot tried to contact tower. Received no response. Search lights came on up ahead. Pilots thinking it was the base, headed for them. Too late they realized it was the British trying to warn them of barrage balloons around Port Said. Because all our planes had an I.F.F. transmitter, they knew we were a friendly aircraft.
Pilots took evasive action but hung a cable, and the bomb exploded behind number one engine knocking out the hydraulic system. Luckily, there was no fire.
Over base, the landing gear was lowered manually, but the right gear failed to come down. Tried to raise the other two so they could make a belly landing, but the cables were stuck. Pilots decided to try and land it anyway. Crew was given the choice of bailing out or staying with the plane. I asked Whitlock what he thought I should do. His reply, "Barineau, you are married. I think you should jump.” Two of us did jump. He told us he would make one pass over the field and give the command over the inter-com when to jump. Upon command, I went out the back bottom hatch, counted to eight and pulled rip cord. What a beautiful sight when that white silk canopy blossomed overhead in the moonlight. As I neared the ground, I missed landing on top of a building by just a few feet. Guess what? In that building was my bed. I had landed less than twenty-five yards from by bed (a world record, I guess). Whitlock and Britt landed the plane by holding the right wing up as long as possible and then letting the plane skid off into the sand by the runway, doing no major damage. Due to their skill and bravery, this plane was saved to fly again after some repair work. Planes were a real premium at that time, so it helped a lot for them to have saved this plane. I am very proud to have flown with them and the other crew members.
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