Interview with Keith Boles

Title

Interview with Keith Boles

Description

Keith Boles left school at the age of fourteen and took an apprenticeship in engineering. He was called up to the Air Force at the end of 1941 and was in Singapore when the Japanese invaded. He arrived in UK via Australia and Canada and after a refresher course he trained to be an instructor. He decided he wanted to go on ops and joined the Mosquito Training Flight and flew Mosquitoes on OBOE operations as a Pathfinder. On one occasion his navigator lost consciousness through lack of oxygen so he flew his aircraft at low level so he could recover. He also lost an engine on one operation, returning to base safely. At the end of the war he flew a Cook’s Tour to see for himself the bomb damaged cities. He also took part in the ferrying of Mosquitoes to New Zealand for the RNZAF.

Date

2018-02-12

Temporal Coverage

Language

Type

Format

01:03:30 audio recording

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Contributor

Identifier

ABolesKM180212

Transcription

JB: Ok. We’ll make a start. Ok, this is Jennifer Barraclough interviewing Squadron Leader Keith Boles on the date, what’s the date [laughs] the 12th of February, thereabouts, at his home at [ buzz] Howick, Auckland. Ok, Mr Bowles. Thank you very much for talking to me. Could you tell me a little bit about your early life and how you came to join up with, with the RAF, please?
KB: My early life? Well, it was difficult because I ran straight in to the Depression as a youngster and thereafter it made life not funny at all or not even pleasant. And as a consequence to that it was find yourself in employment when you can leave school which I left when I was fourteen. And I took an apprenticeship in engineering as they used to have in New Zealand in those days and that was a five year duration and I completed that with a little bit of makeup time because of the, a few items of no help particularly during those five years. And just before I finished this period our big worry started and it was all sorts of things and, ‘What are you going to do? You’re in the Army, Navy, Air Force.’ Well, with all the words of, ‘Don’t join the Army, son,’ from my father with a lot of expletives to illustrate it, no way did I want to join the Navy. Couldn’t see that at all. And Air Force? I’ll see if they want a technical tradesman which, so, I asked and they came back and said, ‘No vacancies for the qualifications you appear to possess.’ Of course, at that time I’d just passed the first examination of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London and they came back and said, ‘No vacancies for the qualifications you appear to possess.’ Would I like to be aircrew? Well, aircrew was the thing for wee lads and I didn’t think I was qualified but however I was accepted with the provision from my parents that I wouldn’t be called up ‘til the latter end of next year. The latter end of ’41. It seemed to be perfectly ok. I’d finish my apprenticeship and I’d get called up then and, end of ’41. Well, it didn’t quite happen that way. By the end of ’41 I’d been called up with permission of my employer because I’d just finished my apprenticeship as I said, and I decided to go in to the camp. And by the end of ’41 I’d finished my twenty four weeks training in the RNZAF and in December 1941 I was in Singapore which became rather peculiar to say the least. And my stay in Singapore lasted ‘til about the 9th of February and if it hadn’t been for, how shall we say? [pause] Wondering what on earth was happening because nobody was talking to me, telling me, and people were disappearing so I went to see our new CO. Our previous one had created a big mistake and shot himself so that was most. So, the new CO, I said to him, ‘What am I supposed to be doing, sir?’ And in a voice that you could hear from here to there, he said, ‘I don’t know. What’s your trade?’ And I said, ‘Oh, pilot sir.’ Well, when he said, ‘What?’ I thought he’d spoken loudly before but when he said, ‘What?’ You could hear it [laughs] ‘All aircrew, you’re not supposed to be here. All aircrew are supposed to be evacuated.’ So, in due course I was told to go and catch a boat. I went down to go down 62 and the one and only gangplank was guarded by a major, an Army major complete with arms and he said, ‘You’re not on the list, Skedaddle. You’re not getting on board here.’ So, the traffic from that time on meant and this was just at dusk and my driver managed to get me back to Tengah Air Force at 4 o’clock the following morning. It was hellish. And then, I’ve not repeated it so often I’m almost forgetting it. I was sent to catch another boat on Sunday morning. Well, that was all right. I was let on board and there was about a hundred and fifty New Zealand aerodrome construction personnel also evacuating plus I understand a certain number of Asiatics in the far end of the boat and we set sail. But not for long. We sat all night out on the stream as it’s called, listened to the shelling going on and the following morning we disembarked for whatever reason. That evening we were re-embarked and sailed without stop there. But halfway to Batavia we halted, allegedly for wait for Naval escort. It didn’t turn up but the Jap’s bombers did so we got a shower of their contribution. So from there on we just went on to Batavia. I was there for about a week and then I was told to get on board a very large boat which I found out had about five thousand Australian troops from the Middle East, plus other civilian personnel and we sailed to Columbo. And we were there about forty eight hours if I remember rightly and then it turned out the boat I was on was one of a batch of four. They were cruise ships immediately pe-war and had bags of accommodation because as I said there were five thousand Aussie boys because the Australian government said, ‘Bring them home and we will to defend Australia from here from the Japs.’ And yes, Columbo. Left there one afternoon. We, the rumour was we were going to Australia because the troops were there. The rumour was one of those silly things that you hear. Everybody said, ‘What the devil are they talking about?’ And I happened to feel something funny about the boat movement two or three nights later. So, I dashed up on deck and sure enough the boat had done a a right-angled turn. The others that I could have seen in daylight I picked up one. He had done a right-hand turn going the other way and it turned out the convoy had come of four troopers and the Naval people, everybody separated. We got down to Adelaide and we disembarked for a day. Catch another boat down to Lyttelton and then what? Oh yes. We were granted three weeks survivor’s leave they called it because what had happened Iin Singapore was apparently very nasty and we were lucky. Very lucky to get out. I was anyway. From hearing of others my case was get off your bottom and go and ask. Find out. And at the end of that period we were called back to camp for a refresher course because virtually none of our, the people that came back from Singapore had done any flying because ninety nine percent of the aircraft had been sent to the Middle East as you can imagine because there was a lot of stuff going on there. And [pause] hence our refresher course. Well, about ten days later I’m in the link trainer and the sergeant in charge says, ‘Please sir, you’re wanted on the phone.’ I said, ‘By whom?’ And he said, ‘A flight lieutenant.’ And I said, ‘What does he want?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ So, I answered this chappie and he said, ‘Ah, Boles. We want two volunteers to go to the UK.’ I said, ‘Oh, come off it, sir. We’ve just come back.’ He said, ‘I know. So has everybody else.’ And I said, ‘Who have you got?’ I said, ‘What do you want them for anyway?’ ‘Oh, to take charge of a draft of LAC trainees who you will take to Canada for this further on training. And [pause] you will go on to the UK.’ I said, ‘Well, who else have you got?’ He said, ‘Oh, nobody yet.’ And I said, ‘What are you going to do about that?’ He said, ‘I haven’t asked them yet. You’re at the top of the alphabet.’ I said, ‘Alright. Count me in.’ I asked him what he’d do if there were two or three or four of us and he said, ‘Oh, the usual thing. Draw for it.’ And I said, ‘Oh yeah. Count me in as I said.’ Didn’t need to count me in. I was the only one. So off I go to Canada with ninety nine LACs and we picked up another pilot, sergeant pilot who had, had for some reason missed his earlier despatch and we dropped the LACs off in Edmonton I think it was and the sergeant and I went on to Ottawa. They gave us a week’s leave which we spent in New York because there was a New Zealander providing entertainment and looking after New Zealanders as they, if and when they went through there. And they were quite pleasant. In fact, very pleasant. A week down there. Up to Halifax. Catch a convoy and we were lucky. It was a convoy and we didn’t hear a thing. Well, if we did I must have been very deaf because we go to Glasgow and arrived in double British summertime and sunshine about ten or 11 o’clock at night up in, as I say in Glasgow. Train down to Bournemouth. Bournemouth. I’ve forgotten how long we were there and then we were sent on leave and I could tell you funnies about him too but he was a good, good chappie that. Manor house, manor you could call it and his manor house was very nice as well. And any rate, normal training took place then which was in the, I know it as the AFU which is the Advanced Flying Unit which was purely to make people trained elsewhere from Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, you name it to become acquainted with all the thises and thats of English weather and English map reading which even when I began to learn it I still got lost a couple of times and had to find myself out again of course. But so that was of some six weeks I think. I can’t recall. And they asked us what were we going to do next. I said, ‘I don’t know. What can we do?’ And somebody suggested that we should take an instructor’s course around something I never thought of but because of what I’d just had I said now if I learn to instruct that means I’m a better flyer. Now, that would do me a lot of good when I go operating. I think that was my line of thinks. So, I went on the instructor’s course and, of some weeks and, and then went instructing on Tiger Moths first and then, and that was cold in Scotland in an open-air aircraft and [laughs] I can still remember it. It was over Christmas, New Year. January. And then we went in to Oxfords. A twin-engined aircraft and just normal, I went to an AFU and did unto others what I had had done unto me. And though apparently I scared the proverbials out of one bloke his mate said, Jimmy or whatever his name was hadn’t have told me I would have been scared too. One of my silly exaggerations apparently and oh, this went on to the beginning of ’44 and then I got transferred in to a beam approach flight. That being a beam approach batt flight and the idea was there to teach people to learn how to do it yourself and then teach people how to do an approach and landing in ten tenths fog or similar. And enjoyable too. I quite enjoyed that and, but while so doing I’d still got to analyse my attitude, my thoughts because I said to me, ‘I’m in a nice Training Command job. This is not what I was supposed to be doing I don’t think.’ Shouldn’t we fear some operations with the other lads, a lot of whom I knew had been killed and after much I tried to analyse my thinking. I just couldn’t and, however I went off to London and went to see the adj and told him I should go on to ops and he said, ‘Oh, no way. We’re short of flight lieutenants in Training Command.’ And I said my usual expression. ‘Bulldust.’ And I said, ‘We’ve got —’ so and so, ‘On our station alone.’ And I said, ‘Any rate, have you any idea how I happen to be here?’ He said, ‘The same as everybody else.’ And I told him about my volunteering business when I took the lads to Canada and he said, ‘Oh, that’s different. Go and see the liaison officer at RAF.’ So off I went to see squadron leader somebody or other and related to him that I’d been to the adj seeking transfer to bomber groups, or Bomber Command and he said no. And I said, I told him the story. ‘He said come and see you sir.’ He said, ‘Alright Boles. What’s your story?’ And I told him. He said, ‘Right. Bomber Command Mosquitoes do?’ Well. That was, as far as we knew, number one job. So I said yes and duly went to the Mosquito Training Unit, MTU and whilst there I found that they used Mosquito pilots particularly most of them for a large area in 8 Group which was, turned out to be the, I didn’t know all about it then as much as I learned obviously Pathfinder Group and that was the Light Night Strikers. And the balance, I think the balance went on a task called Oboe and Oboe was a controlled flight to target and controlled dropping point of the target indicators. Now, up to [pause] August, I think it was ’42 they were happy, or unhappy because the ordinary Bomber Command if they got within five miles of the target they were, at least they’d been to Germany. But with this Oboe stuff we could get, could get, had to get, supposed to get a zero error. Well, the Oboe was a matter of a ground station sending out a radar, you can call it a radar beam or just a beam which was picked up by the special equipment in the Oboe aircraft. It was relayed back to base and from that relay they could tell whether we were flying on the exact distance that they required. If you went too far you got dots or if you didn’t go far enough you were getting dashes depending whether you were going north or south. I’ve forgotten. And of course, the dot was, shall we say one long, the dash was nine long. So, if you marry nine and one you get ten and that gave you a steady note which meant you were then flying right on the beam. Now, I’ve read and I’ve heard figures of how wide that beam is. We always understood it was roughly about fifty three feet which happened to be about the same width as a Mosquito. But I’ve read since that the width of the dot and the width of the dash were the fifty three feet so the whole thing was a hundred odd feet wide. Well, a bit late to tell me now that, and from that you would go and we were employed to drop markers for the bombers and we were supposed to be, our accu errors I always understood was supposed to be within three hundred yards. Well, the size of the bombing and everybody wasn’t going to be that accurate even if they could see our marking and so it was far better than five miles and [pause] we initially, when we went to squadron we went and dropped bombs anything up to a four thousand pounder on the target selected by somebody and it gave us training, experience, call it what you will and it also enabled the people back in the base to gauge how good or bad we were. And I must have been enough to stay in the group because I then went on to marking and in the extent of my tour and a bit I virtually had one third bombing things and one, two thirds target marking with target indicators. And I wish, I wish I’d taken more notice of, of my efforts but I happened to have heard [coughs] excuse me, that one night I got a zero error. And many years later post-war I’d always wondered how good everybody else was and I got in to conversation with one of the squadron people, obviously at a reunion who had been looked upon as one of the best on the squadron. And I said to Charles, ‘You know all those trips I did I only once got a zero. Once got a zero error.’ He said, ‘Oh, that’s alright Keith. I only got once one zero error.’ So it must have been fairly rare. And as an illustration of how this error was [pause] on, and I don’t know the target. I didn’t bother then. I wish I had. I said to my navigator who was, I think was the about the best on the squadron, he was good anyway thank goodness. And I said to him this night, ‘Haven’t seen a sausage. I’m going to turn around and we’ll have a look. See what the target looks like.’ So, I did a hundred and eighty degree turn. I should have said we were on our way home when I made this decision hence the hundred and eighty degree, took us back towards the target and there was a large diameter of target indicators which are little flare things that burn for I think three minutes or something. I wish I could remember all that and I don’t seem to be able to get the data nowadays at [pause] however they were relatively short burning because they were backed up by other aircraft so that the bomber boys didn’t lose sight of where the target was because they could have been still approaching and some of the target indicators were before they were due to land. Before the heavy bombers actually got there and that is to say to lead them to the right place without them leading themselves astray. And as I looked at this large circle of target indicators burning there was another clump appeared in the sky gradually spread into a large diameter and appeared to me to land right on top of my lot. I said, ‘Blow me down,’ or words to that effect and turned round and came home. The following day I went to the radar section and I said, ‘What was my error last night please?’ And, ‘Oh, hang on. We’ll look it up.’ Dah dah dah and they came back and this I do remember, ‘Two hundred degrees. A hundred and ten yards.’ So, a hundred and ten yards nearly due south of the target point. And I said, ‘And who was following me?’ ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ And I said, ‘I’d love to know because he appeared to be on top.’ And they said, ‘Oh, ok. We’ll find out.’ And he must have been from another, the other Oboe squadron because as I said they were falling right on top and they said, they were a bit surprised, not as much as me, ‘Two hundred degrees, a hundred and ten yards.’ Same error as my lot [laughs] And so we turned around. We kept on going home. What else? The [pause] this business of speaking glibly about it and doing that as though we were then competent but, and I think I was a good average. To get there was quite a headache and you worried if you were doing it rightly. You were apprehensive and hoped there wouldn’t be too much flak or anybody else to worry about and our casualty rates were very low. So we might have worried more than we should have done as emphasised by when in briefing one night in the crew room. Well, at the briefing the crew room was [pause] other people came in and they had just been to the target that we were going to the following occasion and they had had all whatnots shot at them. And here we were. Going. We, about five of us I suppose because we were all just small groups. It depends how long the bombing raid was. And so with a degree of apprehension shall we say we took off and headed for this place where the the wingco, as it happened had been shot at like the devil the night before. And we had a lovely cross-country flight. We didn’t see a thing. So, there’s no telling what you’re going to meet up with. Other nights are a bit different. What can I say? I think we got very keen to help. Help. To get complimented I think would be from what we heard about the heavies afterwards. They were doing marvellous jobs of work and we had heard reports of large areas and the one that we heard about first were the Ruhr which was the engineering centre of Germany. All that was, I think it just became, I’m pleased I’m doing something proper. If they can call it proper. And there was that certain amount of apprehension all the way from various aspects and you, as I had a nasty bit of five minutes one night when Geoff my navigator said, ‘Where’s the spare helmet?’ I said, ‘Oh, behind me. Usual place. Why?’ He said, ‘I’m not getting any oxygen.’ I looked and I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know. I must have the helmet.’ He turned in his seat which in a Mosquito was sort of one body thickness back and to the pilot’s right and so, and it was a bit lower than a pilot’s seat. And as he turned to reach for the helmet he passed out and fell more or less across my upper legs and thighs and I tried to lift him up to try and find out what bit of the tubing had come undone. I didn’t have any strength. He was about five ton and apparently this is what happens. You lose your strength. Of course, it was an awkward lift in any case so, I took my safety harness off to help me with freedom for lift. No better. I took my parachute off so I’d got freedom and I squirmed around in the seat on the parachute to try and lift Geoff up. No. No good. So, hell. What do I do now? Well, I was told by the throat noises coming from Geoff’s microphone, I’d heard of such a thing as a death rattle. I didn’t know whether it existed or not but that rattle that Geoff had developed it sounded very throaty. Very throaty indeed. I said, ‘Well, I’ve only got one thing to do.’ And the one and only time I rolled the aircraft over and down we went. I think we exceeded maximum permissible. I’ve got no idea but I know it was bloody fast any rate. And I knew from experience that, and we’d exercised at fifteen thousand feet without oxygen with no trouble. So I, with the aid of my trimming tabs on I pulled the aircraft out in to the straight and level and it was just seventeen thousand feet. So, from the breathing noises that ceased I knew Geoff was coming round and he came to and it just shows you what the human brain is. I don’t know how to put this. Geoff said, ‘Have we been called in yet?’ And I said, I was astounded. He'd been right out but his brain was still ticking and I said, ‘No. We’re down to seventeen. We’ll have to go up again.’ So, I climbed as rapidly as I could and we weren’t far from the target. Sorry. Say that again. We weren’t far from the start of the Oboe beam which I forgot to mention was fifty miles long and we got to roughly, according to Geoff and his, oh incidentally he found out where his oxygen was all awry. He got it all together again and he was quite ok and he got us to near to turning off point but lapse time we got beyond that. What they thought I can’t remember but they knew we weren’t going to operate. So, I decided, right. Off we go home, and a bit frightening with Geoff though and we were at thirty four thousand when that happened so there’s not much oxygen floating around at that height [laughs] And that and the funny noise in the throat I didn’t like. So however, what else happened? Oh, we lost an engine one night too. And I thought that that would, oh the COs came to me the following day and said do you know so and so and so and so that had broken. Come unclasped or something, and I said, ‘But that’s supposed to be wired in.’ He said, ‘Yeah, but the wiring had broke.’ Well, as far as I knew the ground staff, that was part of their daily duties so you never know when things break which means I’d lost an engine at thirty thou or something and I couldn’t maintain height on one engine so I had to turn around and come home on one fan and [pause] which I managed all right. And I think my previous experience when I was at MTU when we did a total of about four hours Mossie flying before we moved on because all we were learning about was not how to fly but just understand the Mosquito before we went to squadron on the MTU. But I lost an engine there because the plug in the propeller spiller, spinner came out and the oil in the spinner end just let all the oil out and I could see it drifting back over. The engine was sailing over the wing. So, I looked, initially looked and it was the pressure was sixty PSI. I said, ‘Ok, but I’m going home.’ And found out where I was because I’d been enjoying summer flying over Cambridge and I looked back in and looked at my pressure was only thirty PSI so I feathered. That is to say turned the engine off completely and feathered the propeller so it was the least resistance and went back to station. Landed at MTU because I couldn’t find the VHF controller and, and as we had been flying, I was flying a, an aircraft modified for dual instruction the VHF controller was not near the, the pilot was near the instructor but if he’s not there it’s still a long way away. But however, I landed safely and ran off the end of the airfield, of the runway on to the airfield proper to get out of the way of anybody else and then called up. And I said, ‘Could I have somebody to turn me home please? Turn me in.’ And they said, ‘What’s the matter, x-ray?’ And they said, ‘Have you burst a tyre?’ I said, ‘Oh, no. I just lost an engine.’ Well, pupil pilots aren’t supposed to lose an engine so there was a great kafuffle of cars and things coming around and they towed me back. So, I knew a little bit about single engine flying so when I lost it when I was on the squadron I didn’t worry too much. I knew I could do it and as I say did. The difference being when I was on squadron it was at night and whereas the Training Command MTU was daylight you could say it was a subtle difference. But I liked night flying so [pause] Always had. Bomber Command was a pleasure to have served there and I think we did a good job for the war effort. Shall we put it that way because it enabled the bomber boys to improve their abilities and when you, I saw parts of Germany some months after the war finished. I couldn’t believe my eyes of how much damage mile after mile and this was, in particular I was in Hamburg. I’d also seen memory, a town from two thousand feet because we did a Cook’s Tour in the Mossies to see what we’d done to various targets and the places I saw were, and we didn’t go too far into Germany then for some reason but we could see the damage. And, but when I went to, later on I’d taken a, I was taking an Oxford to Denmark and called in Hamburg at Fuhlsbüttel, the airfield there, and we stayed overnight in Hamburg. But the, and the, had a transport from there back to Hamburg proper where the one and only hotel they told us that hadn’t been ruined the RAF had taken over as [pause] nothing permanent or was permanently for the RAF but people who were passing through like ourselves. And then we went on to Denmark and oh, don’t mention that. That trip home [laughs]. They’d were supposed to send an aircraft and pick us up. Went on day after day and we drank the Danish mess out of beer, we smoked the Danish mess out of cigarettes and one Friday afternoon I think it was, one of the thirty two of us, sixteen aircraft had been over there, sixteen pilots, sixteen navigators were waiting a trip home and the bloke comes in to our bunch and said, ‘Any of you blokes heard anything about —' so and so, ‘Coming to pick us up?’ ‘No.’ ‘No.’ ‘No. No. Where did you hear this?’ ‘Oh, the CO just mentioned it. He thought he’d heard something about it.’ And I said, ‘Well, did you question him?’ ‘No.’ I was out of my seat in two seconds flat and I went to see the Danish CO and I said, ‘Well, what are we going to do?’ And such and such and about I don’t know how it was thought of but they whistled me up again and said, ‘Can you go down to, would you go down to Copenhagen? Copenhagen, and see your people down there?’ and I said, ‘Yes.’ And I was flown down there by a chap and his mate. The Danish pilot was a chap named Paul [Schilling] and we talked about this and that and one of his comments was if I ever met a Dane that couldn’t speak English don’t bother about him. So, I went in to see the air attaché and we had a a funny conversation about what was I going to do about the thirty one people because I had in effect established myself as CO of them. And he mucked about. He said this, he said that, he said the next thing. And I said, ‘They haven’t got any money, they haven’t got this beer, they haven’t got cigarettes.’ Dah dah dah. ‘And they haven’t got any change of clothing.’ Not funny at all. I’ve forgotten how I empathised that now. And so and so and so. And I said, ‘But sir you said —' such and such, ‘A minute ago.’ Out went his arm with a finger pointing and he says, ‘Get out.’ So as a group captain I got out and he had a liaison sort of officer, a flight lieutenant who was the biggest scrounger I think I’ve ever come across. He was not doing anything for the Air Force. He was enjoying himself no end. He said, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do —' so and so, ‘This morning. I’ll see you later.’ And all this sort of this thing and so, he was useless but any rate I got a summons from him later. ‘We’ve got thirty two hundred krona for your people and we’ve arranged for them to come down and they’ll go from here, or come down from a place called Viborg.’ Which was on the [pause] A Danish peninsula but I can’t remember the name of it, but a place called Viborg. And so, they came down by road and then they were duly monied. Given their tickets to catch the train to somewhere and they got, half of them got as full as the proverbial and spent all their money. And I didn’t bother about them. I just let them be and I went from, oh there were two or three of us together but there, was there a train first and then boat, then so and so something or other or it was a boat to a train and then we got to the, a German port where we caught a boat and travelled overnight to Hull. And that was our delivery of the Oxford to Denmark. That wasn’t the end of my delivery services because I then brought a Mosquito out from the UK to Ohakea. That was, there were twelve due that all took off on Friday the 13th. No. Six on the Thursday, six on the Friday the 13th of December. I was one of the six however and we were the first of about eighty that the New Zealand governor had purchased for post-war establishment and we had fun and games. UK to Sardinia I think it was. Sardinia to Cairo. Cairo to somewhere in the, I’ve forgotten. Then Allahabad. [unclear] And I might have missed somebody out. Or did I go in to Karachi on that trip? Yes. I think I did. Karachi, Allahabad, Calcutta [pause] And the big town up northern Malaya. I can’t think. Then down to [pause] I think. Oh no. Any rate, down to Singapore. Singapore to Dutch East Indies. Sumatra. Or was it Java? Java, that’s right. And Java to Darwin. Darwin to Townsville. Townsville to [pause] Sydney, I think. Must have been. Then Sydney to Ohakea. Took us six weeks would you believe. However, everybody was ready for us and no hold ups at all much and hence the six weeks. So, I went back as a passenger to UK and was offered the job of bringing another Mossie up and I said, ‘No. Thank you.’ So, I came home by boat and that was the end of my Air Force career. Whether that’s enough of Bomber Command for you dear I don’t know.
JB: That’s splendid. Just tell me briefly what you’ve been doing since.
KB: Hmmn?
JB: What you’ve been doing since then.
KB: Oh.
JB: Back in New Zealand.
KB: The New Zealand government
[pause]
You’ll have to excuse me.
JB: Yes.
KB: I don’t know but I’ve got to go [laughs]
KB: Alright.
[unclear]
JB: That’s ok.

Collection

Citation

Jennifer Barraclough, “Interview with Keith Boles,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed November 29, 2022, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/10111.

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