Sqn. Ldr Geoffrey Whittle, DFM RAF (Ret'd)

BWhittleGGWhittleGGv1.pdf

Title

Sqn. Ldr Geoffrey Whittle, DFM RAF (Ret'd)

Description

A brief memoir of Geoffrey Whittle's wartime service. His training starts in March 1942 in Scotland. One year later he converted to Wellingtons, then Lancasters at RAF Lindholme. He was then posted to RAF Ludford Magna. On his 15th operation over Hannover they were attacked by a night fighter and anti-aircraft fire but they managed to return. After the war he served in Germany and the Middle East. He left the RAF in 1961 and worked for the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute overseas until he retired in 1988.

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.

Language

Identifier

BWhittleGGWhittleGGv1

Transcription

Sqn. Ldr. Geoffrey Whittle, DFM RAF (Ret’d)


On reaching the age of 18 in September 1941I volunteered for aircrew duties and was accepted for training as an Observer. Called up in March 1942 I undertook all of my training, which was brief to say the least, in the United Kingdom. Flying training was undertaken in Scotland during the months of November 1942/February1943, not in the best weather conditions but a very good introduction to things to come.

Passing out at a wings parade on 1st March 1943 I left that evening for 27 OTU Litchfield which started the following day. There I crewed up with my Pilot and W/AG and converted to the Wellington aircraft. That was followed by conversion to the Lancaster at Lindholm in Yorkshire. It was at Lindholm that the full crew complement was made up.

At the end of training in June we were posted to 101 Squadron based at Ludford Magna, a wartime airfield near Louth. At that time I had completed 200 flying hours one third of which was at night. Our first first operation,two nights after joining the Squadron, was a mine laying sortie to La Rochelle and our first raid on Germany was to Cologne.

As part of Bomber Command we took part in operations against Berlin, Nuremberg, Turin and Peenemunde, the German Flying Bomb Research Establishment which put back the German Flying Bomb attacks on the UK by several months.

On our 15th operation against Hannover, near to the target the aircraft was caught by searchlights attacked by a night fighter and ground AA fire all within seconds which resulted in severe damage that included an engine fire and also one within the fuselage. We managed to evade our attackers attack the target and get home. As a result all the crew were decorated with immediate awards of 2 Conspicuous Gallantry Medals, 1 DFC and 4 DFMs.

Unfortunately, on our 16th operation I suffered a perforated eardrum and was hospitalised. On their 19th trip flying with a replacement navigator the crew was shot down and 5 of the crew were killed, The Pilot and WAG survived and became POWs.

Whilst in hospital my Commission was Gazetted back dated 27th September.

After six months ground duty I returned to flying with a height restriction of 8000 feet to became part of the Air Sea Rescue Service before being earmarked for the Tiger Force scheduled to go to the Far East (which never materialised due to the war ending). In the years after the war (with a full flying category restored) I served in Aden, Egypt and Germany in a variety of roles.

I attended the RAF Staff College at Bracknell in 1959 and was then posted to Fighter Command HQ at Bentley Priory from where I took early retirement in the rank of Squadron Leader in December 1961

I initially went into banking but decided the life was not to my liking so joined NAAFI as a Trainee District Manager. During my 26 years with the Corporation I spent 18 years overseas serving in Cyprus, Libya, Singapore, Berlin and Gan and visiting several other countries like Nepal, India and Bangladesh. My final appointment was as a Departmental Manager at NAAFI Headquarters in London from where I retired in1988.

Settled in Hampshire I became a District Councillor in 1989 for East Hampshire, and after moving to Lincolnshire in January 2007, I became a District Councillor for North Kesteven Distrct Council.

Now living at Ruskington where both my son and daughter also reside I have been very lucky to have had a varied and interesting career, seen many parts of the world and now live in a lovely village with my family nearby.

Reflecting on my time in Bomber Command I had the upmost admiration for those older aircrew who had families (my pilot was 33 years old with a family). I was young ---and if not flying just enjoyed life.

Collection

Citation

Geoffrey Whittle, “Sqn. Ldr Geoffrey Whittle, DFM RAF (Ret'd),” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 22, 2019, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/10573.

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