How do you mix comedy with tragedy?

How to create dark humor:
The main character in my novel has wartime trauma and is attempting a voyage in a rubber raft. He was once a bomber pilot, so he has a certain quality of leadership skills he can use on himself. On the other hand he is trying to escape from the evil in his own mind and cannot conceive of how to do that. Perhaps this gives me the opportunity to create some wild flights of imagination to play out in his mind. They contain scenes of an idyllic childhood juxtaposed with scenes from the darker scenes he remembers from literature. He is obviously attempting to avoid his own memories, but I would like to know if these flights need to be funny out loud, or does being merely ironic work for him?

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