Aviation Memory



Aviation Memory


A detailed account of Reg Payne's service in the RAF. He starts with a list of 18 RAF bases where he served in his 5 years of service. He was 16 when war was declared but volunteered for the RAF at 17. After tests he was selected for training as a wireless operator ending up at Blackpool. Morse had to be 10 words a minute or retraining as a gunner. Moved to RAF Yatesbury and speed increased to 18 words per minutes. Then RAF Stormy Down for air gunnery followed by #1 AFU Wigtown for training in flight.
By June 1943 Reg is at RAF Cottesmore, 14 Operational Training Unit.
He details his daily tasks before operations.
Next he is moved to RAF Wigsley Heavy Conversion Unit for conversion to Halifaxes then Lancasters then ended up at RAF Skellingthorpe.
The social life at Skellingthorpe is popular and he met his first wife.
November 1943 his brother is missing over Dusseldorf.
Each operation he was involved in is described in detail.
Later in his memoir he details where and when he trained.
There is a list of prisoners of war from his squadron and a colour photograph of Reg and two colleagues at the tail of Lancaster 'Just Jane'.
There is a list of Reg's paintings.
He details his post war service via Libya, Cairo, Iran, India and Karachi, ending up at 56 Forward Repair Unit in Rangoon.
In June 1946 he returned to the UK by ship.




120 handwritten sheets

Conforms To


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[Underlined] 5 YRS [/underlined]


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[Underlined] Reg Payne [/underlined]

[Underlined] 1939 SEPT. WAR DECLARED [/underlined]

[Underlined] 16 YEARS OF AGE [/underlined]

Home Guard at 16 yrs (1939)

If you waited to be called up at 18yrs you could be sent to work in any of the coal mines, miles away from home

i volunteerd at 17 yrs RAF [underlined] 1940 [/underlined]

Took inteligence exams Moreton Hall Northampton then to RAF Cardington for more tests.
Training as a Wireless Operator.

My training would cost the Government twice as much as sending a pupil thro a university. Period.

2 years training before operations

[Underlined] 1 year to learn morse code 4 hrs per [/underlined] day

Only fighter pilots had long range radio speech.

Bomber pilots had only 10 miles range “Hello Darky” [Underlined] Give Details [/underlined].

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[Underlined] JOINING THE RAF OCT 1941 [/underlined]

16 yrs old War Declared

Always keen on RAF.

Joined Home Guard (then L.D.V.) Cransley reservoir & Pytchley Bridge

At 17 yrs volunteer’d RAF

Selection testS Dover Hall Northampton
later on Cardington

Selected as Wireless OP/AG. Training with ATC. Morse code

Short hand typing exam (Cacelled) and call up papers

Advised to get very short haircut ready for RAF

Train to Padgate with Sandwich’s
Poring rain ladies umbrella
Sore eye until Derbyshire

Soaking wet at Padgate hut to hut

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After issue of uniform next day parcel up wet cloth’s to send home to mum. Then train to Blackpool P.D.C. Personel Disp Centre

[Underlined] King St. Blackpool [/underlined]

One week only learning about

RAF regulations etc
Care of uniform
Told to get haircut and had one next day (thought I told you to get haircut
Corporal took four of us to nearby hairdressers lost most of our hair

Landlady taught us to polish boots Candle and spoon (hot)

First letter from home (over breakfast) after reading it the landlady said

[underlined] your mother still loves you [/underlined] (tears)

Then move to start our training in the tram sheds every day. Our instructors were ex naval wireless ops, 2hrs morning & 2 hrs afternoon

Morse code Morse code Morse code

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[Underlined] OCT 1941 [/underlined]

Mrs Clegg 4 Charnley Rd Blackpool

10 RAF young lads posted there

2 in each bedroom. 2 single beds 3 beds in our bedroom
No food in bedrooms. Ron Boydon Arthur Bromich
Electric lights out in bedrooms after 7pm.

We were detailed in turn washing up. If you didn’t eat all your meals she contacted the RAF Billeting Officer and had you moved
We got over this by flushing it all down the toilet.

Gym slippers had to be worn all the time 10 pairs of gym slippers in the hall always a job to find your own
[Underlined] RAF men had to be in by 10pm. [/underlined]
Mrs Clegg locked the door promp at ten
We could not see the end of film at Christmaas Day, for a small piece of chicken and a small glass of ale
We [underlined] were charged 2 and 6 pence [/underlined]
Ron Boydon & Arthur Browich
The two boys who shared my bedroom were both killed in the war

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All your personal clothing and items had to have your name and RAF number printed on it.

[Underlined] No bath or shower at Mrs Cleggs [/underlined]

Showers were allowed for us.

Sat mornings [underlined] Derby Baths Blackpool [/underlined]
We could swim in the baths but had no swiming trunks etc
We [underlined] could [/underlined] swim without costumes etc.
The medical plasters on our arms came off in the waters and floted on the surface on the swimming pool.

A pool atendant collected them with a shrimp net.

Female workers in a large building across the road could’nt take their eyes off us, and waved their arms to us

Morse code Morse code Morse code

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Reg’s close RAF friend.

[Underlined] RON BOYDON [/underlined]

Junior Ket Evening Tel reporter

[Underlined] Cover’d in Corby today [/underlined]

Shared my room at Blackpool
Tall young fellow

Ron carried the white parafin lamp at front of our squad, on dark mornings when we all had to march across
Blackpool, to the tram sheds for morse practice, or Stanley Park early morning for P.T. or drill.
On dark mornings & evenings

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Morse code speed tests were carried out in a room above Woolworths (Fridays) as your morse speed increast. We only went up to 10 words per minute

If you failed three times you would be taken off corse and be trained as Gunner (Air)

At further training at Yatesbury your morse speed reached 18 words per min

We didn’nt get our own laundry back from RAF Laundry (sizes) sent my laundry home to mum. Food also in parcel when returned Told to put food in cabinet Other boys ate it.

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Must be in doors by 10pm.
Home from pictures food not in cabinet! Next time put food in bedroom draw wrapped in underwear.
Later food not in draw contact Mrs Clegg.

Arrive back clock striking 10 oclock just in time we say

Ron Boydon late on parade oil lantern
Trim wick
Lights go out whilst shaving. 7pm.
Turn water off on landing.

Eat up food or will inform Billeting Officer Yellow Peril & hard cheese.
Food down toilet and down back of piano

Ron’s pygamas on landing

Drill with gym shoes on Tower Ballroom also lectures Ena Bagnor organ

Derby Baths shower and swim once per week
Vaccination scabs Office girls


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[Underlined] CHRISTMAS 1941. [/underlined]

No extra Christmas meal, we had to pay 2/6d for some chicken and Christmas Pud

Found out later my mother wrote Mrs Clegg nasty letter.

Of the three in bedroom I was the only one to survive

I recently returned to Blackpool where I visited Charnley Rd,
Our biller much enlarged (2 floors higher
Found my old room So small coul’nt believe 3 beds in a room.

Posted to Yatesbury, P.T. long distance runs over the Downs. P.T.I. ran behind the last boys Took his belt off and made the last boys run fast

Sunday bus ride to Swindon Drinking cider.
Ladies behind bar, kissing us before we got bus home

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[Underlined] YATESBURY WILTS [/underlined]

Morse code and wireless valves



Aerials & Accululators
Morse Keys

Stormy Down south coast.

Air Gunnery Cause
Browning machine guns
Armstrong Whitworth [underlined] Whitley’s. [/underlined]

[Underlined] NO 1 A.F.U. SCOTLAND [/underlined] Advanced Flying [underlined] Unit [/underlined]

Ansons & Botha’s

[Underlined] Night flying 34 hours [/underlined]

Pilot suspected engine trouble daylight flight. Landed over in England mid day. Nice dinner in Sgts Mess

Were told later nothing wrong with engine but all had a lovely meal

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JAN 42 Yatesbury Wireless study
MAY 42 North Coates Ops Duties, Coastal, Com
OCT 42 Radio Maintenance Kensington
JAN 43 Madely Flying Proctors & Dominies
APR 43 Gunnery Course Whitley’s Stormy Down
MAY 43 AFU Wigtown Scotland Ansons Bothas
JUNE 43 14 OUT Cottesmore Saltby Market-Harb
SEP 43 H.C.U. Wigsley Halifax Lancaaster
OCT 43 Ops Skellingthorpe

Now crew of 5 at Cottesmore

Heavy Conversion Unit Wigsley

At RAF Wigsley (Notts) we collected two new crew members

1/ Jock Higgins Mid Upper Gunner

2/ Don Moore Flight Engineer

We were lucky because Don had done a lot of work as an engine fitter before joining as air crew.

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[Table of Morse Code]

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[Underlined] 14 OTU COTTESMORE [/underlined]

[Underlined] JUNE 1943. [/underlined]

Bomb Aimers
Wireless Operators
Air Gunners

All taken to an empty hangar and told to sort themselves out into [underlined] crews of five [/underlined]

Later each crew would get a Bomb Aimer and [underlined] another Gunner [/underlined]

[Underlined] OPERATIONS [/underlined]

[Underlined] Take Wakey Wakey tablets on leaving English coast for Germany [/underlined]

F FOE [/underlined]

I.F.F. transmitter sends out a signal which recognises you as an RAF aircraft
and not an enemy aircraft.

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1 [Underlined] EVERY MORNING [/underlined] change intercom lead ACI batteries. Sign Form 700. Return used batteries to the Accumulator Section

2. [Underlined] Inspect all external aerials [/underlined] for any damage

3. During air test flight, [underlined] check all radio equip [/underlined]

4 [Underlined] Attend the WOPS briefing. D/F stations and frequencies etc. Attend the main briefing [/underlined]

5. [Underlined] Collect the colour of the, day charts, bomber codes, M/F D/F groups to use. Broadcast spare helmet W/T challenge chart [/underlined]

[Underlined] Check ground flight switch. Check voltage switch on A 1134 amplifier for inter com Check radio whilst engines are running Tidy up bundles of window on floor Oxygen mask on before take off Once air born pencil in ranges on Monica Screen IFF switched on Keep watch on Monica screen Listen for half hourly broadcast from Base Leaving the cost wind out trailing aerial

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At RAF Wigsley our pilot was given training on 4 engines, training starting with flying Halifax bombers, then changing to Lancasters

Luckily most the wireless equipment that I had was the same that I used in Wellingtons

We did a number of flights by night
Long distance flights which always ended up dropping bombs on a distant bombing range.

At last we were posted to our bomber squadron, which was 50 Sqdn only 3 miles from Lincoln city. Skellingthorpe airfield

The first thing we had to do when arriving was to contact the orderly room and give the name and address of our next of kin.

We were then taken to our sleeping quarters a hut alongside others in a field off the main road leading to Lincoln
Toilets were provided close by, but there were no washing or shower equipment on the site, this only in the Sgts Mess, some distance away a good ten minutes walk.
Rather than take our washing towel, and shaving kit backwards and forwards each day they were hung on pegs in the Sgts Mess where we did all our ablutions. The towels had to be folded back in our haversacks each day and they were always damp.

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It was after we had our evening meal in the Sgts Mess, and were returing to our hut, that we spoke to a group of chaps on our camp site. After telling them what a “terrible” place we had ended up in, they smiled at us and said, “terrible” it’s a lovely place, Lincoln is only 10 mins bike ride down the road, loads of pubs, and all of them have plenty of girls there that love meeting us RAF chaps, you will see when you go there.

Fred Ball our rear gunner and myself both had bikes and said we would give it a try. Biking into the centre of Lincoln we spotted a small pub called “The Unity? Finding a place for our bikes we entered the building, there was music in there and we found a table & two chairs to relax on
Sitting there enjoying a glass bitter we could’nt help notice two ATS girls also enjoying their drinks, we could’nt speak to them as they were the other side of a busy room. Before 10 oclock the two girls got up and started to walk out.
Fred said to them and where are you two off now, and they said we have to be in by 10 oclock, and our billet is near the Cathedral. Fred said do you mind if we walk with you, they said not at all.

We arrived at the large house near the Cathedral now the ATS Headquarters. We chatted for a short time and agreed to meet again the same time tomorrow. I didn’t know at that time I had just met

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[Underlined] SQDN CALLSIGN CODES [/underlined]

50 SQDN A/C Pilgrim (B. Baker etc.

Skellingthorpe airfield C/S Black Swan


50 Sqdn STB
5 Group A8X
STBB V A8X Radio call from 5 Group
STBB V STB. Radio call from our Sqdn

[Underlined] V means from [/underlined]

my first wife

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[Underlined] WAKEY WAKEY TABLETS [/underlined]

Not usually taken until getting airborn.

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French and Dutch money etc.

Emergency high protane food. Ovaltine tablets Water purification tablets

Knife and torch in our boots
The knife to off the tops of our boots

Map of the area (on a silk scarf) more like a large hankerchief

Dead mans rope at rear door

Amputation saw and morphia tablets in first aid cabinet

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[Underlined] OCT 1943 [/underlined]

Posted to 50 Sqdn Skellingthorpe Lincoln

Crew not up to operation standard

More training needed

Give name of next of kin and address to the orderly room.

[Underlined] NOV 3RD [/underlined] 1943


18 Aircraft lost (One of them my brother)

Telegram brother Arthur missing on operation

Mother asking me to come home

Making a promise to our Wing/Co to keep flying

Hoping for an easy operation for our first one

My first wife

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JUNE 1943

Crewing up in hangar Cottesmore




Change accumulators every morning.
Keep in contact with Base
Care of the inter/comm system.
Assist nav with bearings and fixes
Able to move about aircraft whilst in flight
Astro shots using the sextant
Check all aerials before all flights
Watching Monica screen Pilot had only [word missing] radio communication 10 miles
Jamming enemy radio messages
Demonstrate morse code.

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22.1.43. LANC JA899 F/O BEETHAM

7.15 [Underlined] OPS BERLIN [/underlined]

764 Aircraft – 469 Lancs, 234 Halifax’s 50 Stirlings, 11 Mosquitoes. This was the greatest force sent to Berlin so far. But it was also the last raid in which Stirlings were sent to Germany. Bad weather again kept most of the German fighters on the ground and the bomber force was able to take a relatively “straight in” “strait out” route to the target without suffering undue losses. 11 Lancs 10 Halifaxe’s 5 Stirlings 3.4 per cent of the force. Berlin was again completely cloud covered and returning crews could only estimate that the marking and bombing were believed to be accurate, in fact this was the most effective raid on Berlin of the war. A vast area of destruction. The mainly residential areas of Tiergarten and Charlottenburg, the dry weather conditions, several “firestorm” areas were reported and a German plane next day measured the height of the smoke cloud as 6,000 metres nearly 19,00 ft.
It is impossible to give anything like the full details of the damage or to separate completely details from this raid and a smaller one on the next night at least 3,000 houses and 23 industrial premises were completely destroyd, with several thousands of other buildings damaged. It is estimated that 175,000 people were bombed out, more than 50,000 soldiers were brought in to help. From garrisons up to 100KM distance, these were equivalent to nearly three

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Army divisions taken from their normal duties.
Interesting entries among the list of buildings destroyed or severely damaged are. The Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtwiskirche (The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which is now half ruined, half restored, (a major attraction in West Berlin)

The Charlottenburg Castle, the Berlin Zoo, much of the Unter den Linden, the British, French, Italian and Japanese embassies, the Ministry of Weopons and Munitions, the Waffen S.S. Admin College the Barracks of the Imperial Guard at Spandau and, among many industrial premises, 5 factories of the Siemens Group and the Alkett tank works which had recently moved from the Ruhr. It is difficult to give exact casualty figures, an estimated 2,000 people were killed, including 500 in a large shelter in Wilmersdorf which received a direct hit, and 105 people killed in another shelter in Wilmersdorf which was next to the Neukoln gas works where there was a huge explosion.

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23.11.43 2



[Underlined] OPS BERLIN LANDED WITTERING FLAPS U/S. [/underlined]

383 aircraft 365 Lancs 8 Mosquitoes to continue the attack on Berlin. The bombers used the same direct route as had been employed on the previous night. The German controllers made an early identification of Berlin as the probable target. Their single engined fighters were gathered over the city by zero hour and other fighters arrived a few minutes later
Fake instructions broadcast from England caused much annoyance to the German who was giving the running commentary. The Germans started a female commentator but this was mostly counered by a female voice from England ordering the German pilots to land because of fog at their bases. Spoof fighter flares were dropped by Mosquitoes north of the bomber stream also caused some diversions of German effort. Bomber crews noticed that flak over the target was unusually restrained with the German fighters obviously being given priority [Underlined] 20 aircraft all Lancasters were lost 5.2 per cent of the bomber force [/underlined]
The target was again cloud covered and the Pathfinders carried out sky-marking, but many of the main force crews aimed their bombs thro the cloud at the glow of 11 major fires still burning from the previous night. Much further destruction was caused to Berlin but because many of the details of the 2 raids were recorded to-gether by the Germans, it is only possible to say that more than 2,000 further houses 94 wooden barrack buildings and 8 industrial premises and 1 military establishment were destroyed, with many other buildings damaged
Approx 1,400 – 1.500 people were killed on this night.

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26.11.43 LANC JA376 F/O BEETHAM

[Underlined] OPS BERLIN DIVERTED MELBOURNE (YORKS) [/underlined]

443 Lancasters 7 Mosquitoes

The Berlin force and the Stuttgart force diversionary flew a common route over Northern France and on nearly to Frankfurt (diversionary) flew a common route over norther France and on nearly to Frankfurt before diverging

The German controllers thought that Frankfurt was the main target until a late stage and several bombers were shot down as they flew past Frankfurt. Only a few fighters appeard over Berlin where flak was the main danger. But the scattered condition of the bomber stream at Berlin meant that bombers were caught by fighters off track on the return flight and the casualties mounted [Underlined] 28 Lancasters were lost 6.2 per cent [/underlined] of the force, and 14 more Lancasters crashed in England. The weather was clear over Berlin, but after their long approach flight from the south, the Pathfinders marked an area 6-7 miles from the city centre (north west) and most aircraft bombed there. Because of Berlins size however most of the bombing fell in the centre and in the Siemen Sstadt (with many electrical factories) and Tegel districts. 38 war industry factories were destroyed, and many more damaged. The now routine destruction of housing and public buildings also took place, but not on such a great scale as on the previous raids to Berlin

The Berlin zoo was heavily bombed on this night many of the animals had been evacuated to zoo’s in other parts of Germany, but the bombing killed most of the remainder, several large and dangerous animals leopards, panthers, jaguars apes – escaped had to be hunted and shot in the streets

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Because of the confusion caused by so many raids in a short period, it was only possible for the Germans to record an approximate number of people killed on this night, of about 700-800. The local officials however produce a report in Jan 1944 giving details of combined casualties of the three raids of 22/23 23/24 26/27 November 4,330 were killed of whome the bodies of 574 were never recovered. The districts with the most deaths were Tiergarten 793 Charlottenburg 735 and Wedding 548. The dead were foreign workers and 26 were prisoners of war.

The property damage was extensive with 8,701 dwelling buildings destroyed and several times that number damaged

417,665 lost their homes for more than a month and 36,391 for up to a month

Reaching [underlined] Melbourne [/underlined] Yorks
Still heavy fog Diverted to [underline] Pocklington [/underlined] Yorkshire

We managed to land in heavy fog still,
All aircraft had little fuel left and could not find the runway
They were told to (head your A/C out to sea and bale out

[Boxed] 1 Lancaster ran out of fuel and crashed on a farm house. Killing the farmer & wife only the Lancaster R.G. survived

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One night we had to do a very deep dive when another Lancaster that had not seen us came across our path, Mike put our Lancaster into a steep dive to prevent us hitting each other.

After we had settled down and were flying a steady course again, we found that our inter com was not working and we could not speak to each other.

Using my torch I soon found the problem, the inter com battery was not in its place, and the inter com leads were where the battery had left. With a torch I searched along the aircraft and found the battery some distance away. I think the Navigators feet had released the clamp that held the battery in position, and the battery in the steep dive that we did ended up some distance away. Luckily I was able to replace it, and make sure it was clamped down in position.

[Underlined] OPS LEIPZIG [/underlined]

A relative successful raid on Leipzig during the war

24 Aircraft 15 Halifaxes 9 Lancasters were lost 4.6 per cent of the force

The largest building being taken over by the Junkers aircraft company the former world fair exhibition site whose spacious buildings had been converted to become war factories

[This text in the corner appears in following page text] were severely damaged One place that was hit by a exhibition site, whose spaciou [see following page]

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[Underlined] OPS LEIPZIG [/underlined]

[Underlined] LANDED WITTERING DAMAGED BY JU88 [/underlined]


Our crew were told to collect a Lancaster from RAF Waddington. We must take all our flying kit along with us. After arrival at Waddington we found we had to bomb Leipzig with it first then return the Lancaster to Skellingthorpe.

We thought what a strange way to deliver a Lancaster bomber 4 miles to its new airfield

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A German nightfighter hit us in the port wing I reported that the wing was on fire. Our FL/t Eng came and looked and said, no its just petrol escaping from the wing tanks.

All the engines were then run from that one tank to save petrol being wasted

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[Underlined] OPS LEIPZIG [/underlined]

[Underlined] LANDED WITTERING DAMAGED BY JU88 [/underlined]

[Underlined] 3.12.43 SHORT OF FUEL. (TANKS SHOT UP) [/underlined]

527 Aircraft. 307 Lancasters 220 Halifax’s

Despite the loss of two press men on the previous night the well known American broadcaster Ed Morrow flew on the raid with 619 Sqdn Lancaster crew, he returned safely. The bomber force took another direct route towards Berlin before turning off to bomb Leipzig

German fighters were in the bomber stream and scoring successes befor the turn was made but most of them were then directed to Berlin when the Mosquito diversion opened there.

There were few fighters over Leipzig and only 3 bombers are believed to have been lost in the target area 2 of them being shot down by flak

A relative sucessful raid from the point of view of bomber casualties, was spoiled when many aircraft flew by mistake into th Frankfurt defended area on the long southern withdrawal route and more than half of the bombers shot down this night were lost 4.6 per cent of the force

The Pathfinders found and marked this distant inland target accurately and the bombing was very effective This was the most sucsessful raid on Leipzig during the war a large area of housing and many industrial premises were severely damaged One place that was hit by a large number of bombs was the former world fair exhibition site whose spacious buildings had been conserved to become war factories

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The Wehrmacht suffered damage to 4 flak positions, a clothing store, a veterinary depot and the Army Music School. 64 people were killed and 111 were missing or still covered by wreckage. 23,000 were bombed out. A train standing six miles south of Frankfurt was hit by a 4,000lb bomb and 13 people in it were killed.

Part of the bombing some how fell on Mainz 17 miles to the west and many houses along the Rhine water front and in southern suburbs were hit. 14 people were killed

We circled arround Wittering with little or no fuel left in our tanks, the Wittering phone R/T operator repeated saying the landing lights will soon be on, we waited an waited

Eventually the landing lights did come on and we were able to land with almost empty fuel tanks.

When we entered the Wittering mess we could see what the delay had been to get the landing lights on, as no one was on duty at their watch office, they were all attending the party.

A few years ago, giving our landing date and time to a serving RAF officer, he contacted me and said there was no mention in their flying control log book of our landing that night

Myself and two other crew members stood near the open back door with parachutes on as soon as the engines cut we would jump.

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20.12.43 LANCASTER G ED588.

[Underlined] OPERATIONS FRANKFURT [/underlined]

650 Aircraft 390 Lancasters 257 Halifax’s

14 Lancasters lost

The German control room were able to plot the bomber force as soon as it left the English coast and were able to continue plotting it all the way to Frankfurt. There were many combats on the route to the target. The Mannheim diversion did not draw fighters away from the main attack until after the raid was over. But the return flight was quieter

41 aircraft – [underlined] 27 Halifax’s 14 Lancasters lost 6.3 per cent of the force [/underlined]

The bombing of Frankfurt did no go according to plan. The Pathfinders had prepared a ground marking plan on the basis of a forcast giving clear weather but they found up to 8/10 cloud. The Germans lit decoy fires 5 miles south east of the city and also used dummy target indicators. Some of the bombing fell arround the decoy, but part of the creepback fell on Frankfurt causing more damage than bomber command realized at the time. 466 houses were completely distroyd and 1,948 seriously damaged. In Frankfurt and in the outlying townships of Sachsenhausen and Offenbach 117 bombs hit various industrial premises but no important factories are mentioned. The report stresses the large number of cultural, historical, and public buildings hit, including the cathedral, the city library, the city hospital and no fewer than 69 schools.

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[Underlined] JU88 SHOT DOWN [/underlined]

One night I felt the aircraft start to rise as the engines were open’d up I heard Les our bomb aimer on the inter com say to our mid upper gunner (Jock Higgins) not yet Jock I’ll say when.
He then said OK Jock [underlined] NOW. [/underlined]

By that time I was standing in the astro dome and looking above and in front of our aircraft I could see a German J.U.88 night fighter, flying in front of us, and a little above us.

Our bombaimer Les Bartlett suddenly said Jock now, with that they both open’d fire on the night fighter Ju88.

I noticed that Les seem’d to be spraying the nightfighter from side to side with his twin browning machine guns, but Jock Higgins with the same two machine guns was sending a constant stream of bullets up in the area of the nightfighter where the two crew members would be seated. The German night fighter flew for some time being riddled with bullets until it turned over and started to go down

I would think that it was Sgt Higgins that killed the two German crew members and caused the J.U.88 to crash with continuous firing in the cockpit area. As Les Bartlett was an office, he received ta medal for his efforts, but I still think it was Jock Higgins that brought the aircraft down.

Jock Higgins rec’d nothing

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[Underlined] 7.25 [/underlined]

1707 LM428.


712 Aircraft, 457 Lancasters, 252 Halifaxes 3 Mosquitoes.

A long approach route from the south, passing south of the Ruhr and then within 20 miles of Leipzig. Together with Mosquito diversions at Dusseldorf, Leipzig and Magdeburg causes the German controller great difficulties and there were few fighters over Berlin. Bad weather on the outward route also kept down the number of German fighters finding the bomber stream

[Underlined] 20 Aircraft 11 Lancasters 9 Halifaxes 2.8 per cent [/underlined] of the force lost

Berlin was again cloud covered, the bomber command report claiming a concentrated attack on skymarkers is not confirmed by the local report. The heaviest bombing was in the southern and south eastern districts but many bombs also fell to the east of the city
388 houses and other mixed property were destroyed but no item of major interest is mentioned.
182 people were killed, more than 600 were injured and over 10,000 were bombed out

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The rear end of the Lancaster near the rear gunners position is one of the coldest parts of the aircraft, but one night our rear gunner said he was freezing in his position at the rear of the aircraft.

I soon found the problem when I got to the rear of the aircraft, the main entrance door was open, and the freezing cold air was coming straight in.

With gloves on I tried to close the the door, but with a two hundred mile wind rushing thro the door way it would’nt close. The Flight Eng came down to help me, but even the two of us could not close it.

We managed to get it partly closed leaving a small gap and tying it back with the dead mans rope The dead mans rope is a long length of rope near the rear door, should one of our crew be unlucky to have one of his legs or arms chopped off the rope was to tie a torch or a lamp on him, and with a parachute on push him out of this back door and hope people will see him coming down and rush him to hospital before he dies.

With the rope we still could nt close the door properly and had to push some heavy clothing into the door cracks to keep out the biting cold wind coming in the aircraft.

Whilst doing this work at the rear of the aircraft we had porable oxygen bottles round our necks all the time, or we would have passed out threw lack of oxygen.

Gloves on hands or you would loose the skin if you touched the bare metal

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M/ME 567 [Underlined] 421 LANCASTERS [/underlined] 8.15

German fighters were directed to the bomber stream at an early stage and were particularly active between 2. Route markers on the way to Berlin

The German controller was not deceived by the Mosquito feint at Hamburg. But his fighters were not effective over Berlin. Only 2 bombers being shot down by fighters there, and the local flak was probably restricted to the height at which it could fire and the guns only shot down 2 bombers over the target.

[Underlined] 28 Bombers were lost 6.7 per cent of the force. [/underlined]

The target area was covered in cloud and the accuracy of the sky marking soon deteriorated
The Berlin report says that there was scattered bombing mainly in the southern parts of the city.
A large number of bombs fell in the Grunewald, an extensive wooded area in the south west of Berlin only 21 houses and 1 industrial building were destroyed with 79 people being killed. A high explosive bomb hit a lock on an important canal and stopped shipping at that area for several days

14.1.44 LANCASTER B.LL744

[Underlined] F/O BEETHAM OPS BRUNSWICK [/underlined]

496 Lancasters and 2 Halifaxes on the first major

[Page break]

We always took of with us a thousand or 2 [underlined] thousand pound overload [/underlined]

As we left the runway the long flames from the exhausts rose over the leading edge of the wings burning the [inserted] paint [/inserted] off the wings I knew there was 2,000 gallons of high grade petrol in tanks under all those flames

[Page break]

Raid to [underlined] Brunswick [/underlined] of the war [underlined] 38 Lancasters were lost [/underlined] 7.6 per cent of the force.

The German running commentary was heard following the progress of the bomber force from a position only 40 miles from the English coast, and many German fighters entered the bomber stream soon after the German frontier was crossed near Bremen. The German fighters scored steadily until the Dutch coast was crossed on the return flight. 11 of the lost aircraft were Pathfinders. Brunswick was smaller than bomber commands usual targets and this raid was not a success. The city report describes this only as a “light raid” with bombs in the south of the city which had only 10 houses destroyed and 14 people killed. Most of the attack fell either in the countryside or in Wolfenbuttel and other small towns and villages well to the south of Brunswick.

20.1.44 LANCASTER B/LL744

F/O BEETHAM [/underlined] OPS BERLIN [/underlined]

[Underlined] 769 Aircraft. 495 Lancasters [/underlined] 264 Halifax’s [underlined] 10 Mosquito’s. [/underlined]

35 Aircraft 22 Halifax’s 13 Lancasters were lost 4.6 per cent of the force
102 Sqdn from Pocklington lost 5 of its 16 Halifaxes on this raid, 2 more crashed in England ->

[Page break]


I think my first clear night over Berlin made me realize the terrible bombing coditions that the German folk were having to face

Looking down on Berlin from 3 or 4 miles high, I could see thousands of incendiary bombs burning on the ground. The large wide roads of Berlin showed like a large map
Every few minutes a huge explosion would take place along one of the roads wiping out part of the road plan.
These large explosions were the 4,000lb blast bombs which all the Lancasters carried (known by the RAF men as cookies)
I could see a wide road thro the streets of Berlin, quite clearly with the houses on fire on both sides, then a 4,000lb cookie would drop on the road, and a dark patch would appear where it had left no buildings standing.

Red and green incendiary bombs were still raining down and the RAF Pathfinder men were telling the bomber crews which ones they were to aim at.
I could look at a long wide road thro Berlin, houses on both sides alive with incendiary bombs buring, then a 4,000pb cookie hits the area and leaves a black space.
The master bomber above is shouting out to the aircraft aim at the reds not the greens.

We were expected to sleep when we got to out huts

[Page break]

-> and the squadron would lose 4 more aircraft in the next nights raid

The bomber approach route took a wide swing to the north but once again the German controller manage to feed his fighters into the bomber stream early and the fighters scored steadily until the force was well on the way home. The diversions were not large enough to deceive the Germans

The Berlin areas was, as son often completely cloud covered and what happened to the bombing is a mystery. The Pathfinder sky marking appeared to go according to plan and the crews who were scanning the ground with their H2S sets believed that the attack fell on the eastern districts of Berlin. No major navigational problems were experienced.

No photographic reconnaissance was possible until after a further 4 raids on Berlin were carried out but the various sources from which the Berlin reports are normally drawn all show a complete blank for this night. It is not known whether this is because of some order issued by the German authorities to conceal the extent of the damage, or whether the entire raid missed Berlin

[Page break]

[Underlined] 1,000lb BOMB IN BOMB BAY [/underlined]

One early morning after we had been on an operation we taxied the Lancaster back to our usual dispersal point at Skellingthorpe
The engines were shut down and all was quiet as we started collecting our loose flying kit together.
Suddenly we heard a large thud and at first we though a van had bumped into us. Then there was the sound of something rolling along the side of the aircraft.
Our bomb aimer Les Bartlett opened his bomb bay inspection door and was shocked at what he saw.
A thousand pound bomb had fell from from its station on to the bomb bay doors and it had rolled down the sloping bomb bay and had crashed at the rear of the bomb bay.

We did’nt know if it was still live and had to warn the ground crews, unless they opened to bomb bay doors where it would fall out.
We never did know how they made it all safe.

[Page break]

[Underlined] OPS BERLIN SPOOF ATTACK [/underlined]


[Underlined] F/LT BEETHAM [/underlined]

[Underlined] OPS BERLIN [/underlined]

515 Lancasters and 15 Mosquitoes

The German fighters were committed to action earlier than normal, some being sent out 75 miles over the North Sea from the Dutch coast. But the elaborate feints and diversions had some effect. Half of the German fighters were lured north by the Heligoland mining diversion and action in the main bomber stream was less intense than on recent nights.

33 Lancasters lost 6.4 per cent.

The target was cloud covered again and sky marking had to be used again. Bomber command was not able to make any assessment of the raid except to state that the bombing appeared to have been spread over a wide area, although many bombs fell in the southern half of the city, less in the north but 61 small towns and villages outside the city limits were also hit. With 28 people being killed in these places. Details of houses in Berlin are not available but it is known that nearly 20,000 people were bombed out. 50 industrial premises were hit and several important war industries suffered serious damage.

567 people were killed including 132 foreign workers.

[Page break]

[Underlined] FOG OVER AIRFIELD ON RETURN [/underlined]

All with little fuel left

Most sqdns sent up 20 A/C to target

2 Sqdns on each airfield (approx.) 36 A/C Each A/C had little more than 20 mins fuel left [underlined] No 1 [/underlined] would ask permision to land.

He was told to orbit at 3,000ft and as he circled he had to shout his position on the circuit such as (railway bridge) (cross roads) (Thompson’s farm) (reservoir)

As he circled he was called to decen’d to 2,000ft but still had to shout his number and position as he circled the airfield
Finally he was called down to 1,00 F shouting his position on the circuit No 1 down wind, then No 1 funnels No 1 touching down, then No 1 clear

No 2 would follow behind shouting out their positions on the circuit. Followed by No 3 doing the same

By shouting out their number and position and height the controller called them down

All crew’s had then to go to de-briefing

[Page break]

[Underlined] INSTRUCTING W/OPS [/underlined]

[Underlined] SILVERSTONE & TURWESTON [/underlined]


Of the 4319 men in the A/C shot downn attacking only [underlined] 992 [/underlined] survived 22.9 per cent.

On take off with 2,000lb overload

100 miles per hour were needed for take off

A gate stopped the throttle.

If the speed was not fast enough the pilot would say to the enineer [underlined] thro the gate [/underlined] and the gate was open’d to give more power

[Page break]

[Underlined] INTERNATIONAL DISTRESS [/underlined] SIGNAL.

[Underlined] SOS [/underlined]

ˑˑˑ / --- / ˑˑˑ

You would be told to divert to another airfield if there was fog over Lincolnshire where our airfield is. And stay there with the aircraft

[Underlined] DIVERSIONS F.I.D.O [/underlined]

[Underlined] FOG INTENSIVE DISPERSAL OF [/underlined]

[Underlined] FISKERTON 49 [/underlined] SQDN.

[Underlined] ASTRO DOME (FOR NAVIGATOR [/underlined] degrees & minutes

[Underlined] USING A SEXTANT. [/underlined]

Taking astro shots of the stars.

[Underlined] Polaris Bennet Nash Dubhi [/underlined]

[Page break]


Switch off IFF (Identity Friend or Foe)
Continuous watch on Monica screen
Listen out on given wave band for German speech
Tune my transmitter and jamb any speech
Wind in trailing aerial when over the cost [underlined] German [/underlined]
Pass bundles of window down to Flight Engineer
Transmit height and wind speed back to base. Details from Navigator.
Keep watching Monica screen whilst listening for German speech on given wave band
Obtain bearing from given [inserted] radio [/inserted] beacon for Nav, using loop aerial
Take hot coffee to the two Gunners
On clear nights, obtain sextant shots of given stars asked for by Navigator
On run up to target get in astro dome and watch for any bombers above us
Receive messages from base. Decode them & pass to pilot
Send more winds back to base. Our Nav is a wind finder
Shout out [underlined] contact [/underlined when a blip comes on Monica screen
Keep searching for German R/T speech.
After leaving enemy coast, let out trailing aerial
Switch on IFF when near English coast
Place colours of the day cartridges in Very pistol

[Page break]


Wind in trailing aerial crossing the English coast
If a diversion message is received on reachin the English coast, contact the diversion airfield and obtain a [underlined] QDM [/underlined] for the Navigator.

A QDM, is a coarse to steer to take you to the airfield.

You have to stay there with the aircraft. No washing or shaving equip. money or pygamas etc. Some times for two or three days if our aircraft needs work on it to be carried out

After landing you have to attend debriefing where you are asked a lot of questions before getting any sleep.

[Underlined] WHEN LOST. DARKY WATCH [/underlined]

“Hello” Darky”

Hello Darky

[Page break]


[Underlined] SKELLINGTHORPE SITE [/underlined]

No washing arrangements were available on our living quarters site. Just toilet & sleeping quarters All shaving & showers etc were in the Seargeans Mess. All toilet items kept in small haversack hanging on peg’s. After a few weeks we were told to remove our toilet haversacks for one day only.

The ones still on the pegs were the property of the men missing

[Page break]

[Underlined] CANADIAN AIRMEN. [/underlined]

Three NCO members of our crew were housed in a tin hut at Skellingthorpe
We had the hut to ourselves.

Arriving back after our leave, three extra beds were in the hut occupies by three Canadians

They were very generous, and told us to help ourselves from all the boxes of food arround the hut. Tins and packages all arround us.

The S.W.O. Station Warrant Officer came in and looking at it all said, I will be in this hut ever night at 7 oclock and if it is [inserted] not [/inserted] clean and tidy you wont be allowed out until it is. We had to wait for his insection every evening before we could visit Ena and Joan in Lincoln

A short time after the Canadians were shot down over Germany, all their contents were taken away and the hut was tidy again
The S.W.O. then said we could go out in our own time he would not visit us again. It probably took the death of three nice Canadians to allow Fred and myself to take Ena & Joan for an early meal.

And they were taken away

[Page break]

Whilst flying over Germany I would search a wave band on my radio.
I would listen for German speech sounding like giving orders to people.
I would tune my transmitter to that frequency and prese my morse key.
This would transmit the noise of one of our aircraft engines on that frequency as there was a microphone in that engine

On one long German operation, bad weather was forecast for our return over Lincoln and we were told to land St. Eval, Cornwall Some hours later I received another message which said cancel the previous message return to base.

Our Wing Commanders wireless operator did’nt get this message and he landed in Cornwall. On his return to Skellingthorpe, crowds of aircrew members line’d the runway to cheer him in.

At our next briefing, the Wing Co. said Wireless Operators make sure you get all the messages from Group, not like some clot that dos’nt get them. Jagger his Wireless Op got up and said, if that’s what you think of me you can get someone else to fly with you[inserted] tonight sir [/inserted] and with that he then left the room to go,

[Page break]


LANCASTER B/LL744 [Underlined] OPS BERLIN [/underlined]

677 Aircraft [Underlined] 432 Lancasters 241 Halifaxes 4 Mosquito’s [/underlined]

Part of the German fighter force was drawn up by the early diversions and the bomber approach route over northern Denmark proved too distant for some of the other German fighters. The German controller was however able to concentrate his fighters over the target and many aircraft were shot down there [underlined] 46 aircraft 26 Halifax’s 20 Lancasters [/underlined] lost 6.8 per cent of the force

The cloud over Berlin was broken and some ground marking was possible, but the bomber command claim that this was the most concentrated attack of this period is not quite fully confirmed by German records.

The western and southern districts were hit but so too were 77 places out side the city. The Berlin recording system was now showing an increasing deterioration no overall figure for property damage was recorded Approximately 180,000 people were bombed out on this night. Although many industrial firms were again hit the feature of the night is the unusually high proportion of administrative and public buildings appearing in the list of buildings hit. The new Chancellery, 4 theatres, the French Cathedral, 6 hospitals, 5 embassies, the state patent office etc, the report concludes with the entry the casualties are still not known

RAF Police came forward to stop him and the Wing Co. said let him go.

[Page break]


LANCASTER B/LL744 [Underlined] OPS BERLIN [/underlined]

677 Aircraft [Underlined] 432 Lancasters 241 Halifaxes 4 Mosqioto’s [/underlined]

Part of the German fighter force was drawn up by the early diversions and the bomber approach route over northern Denmark proved too distant for some of the other German fighters. The German controller was however able to concentrate his fighters over the target and many aircraft were shot down there [underlined] 46 aircraft 26 Halifax’s 20 Lancasters [/underlined] lost 6.8 per cent of the force

The cloud over Berlin was broken and some ground marking was possible, but the bomber command claim that this was the most concentrated attack of this period is not quite fully confirmed by German records.

The western and southern districts were hit but so too were 77 places outside the city. The Berlin recording system was now showing an increasing deterioration no overall figure for property damage was recorded Approximately 180,000 people were bombed out on this night. Although many industrial firms were again hit the feature of the night is the unusually high proportion of administrative and public buildings appearing in the list of buildings hit. The new Chancellery, 4 theatres, the French Cathedral, 6 hospitals, 5 embassies, the state patent office etc, the report concludes with the entry the casualties are still not known but they are bound to be considerable. It is reported that a vast amount of wreckage must still be clearid. Rescue workers are among the mountains of it. *Report os Technischen Nothilfe Gau 111-Berlin Berlin and Brandenburg. In Berlin City Archives

[Page break]

Reg Payne flew with 91 different pilots during his service in the RAF

Flew with Sir Michael Beetham as pilot 108 times

362 official flights were made during his RAF service, plus a lot of unofficial flights not recorded in his log book

After one operation after returning to our dispersal, and switching everything off a 1,000lb bomb came detatched from its moring in the bomb bay, luckily the bomb bay doors were closed. It rolled down the bomb bay and made a clonk as it reached the bottom. We don’t know how the ground crew delt with it.

During one operation the gunners complained how cold it was, I was asked to look into this. Going to the rear of the A/C I saw that the rear door was open. It could not be closed agains the slip stream but we tied it up as close as we could, and then pushed spare heavy flying clothing in the small gaps.

[Page break]

[Underlined] KENSINGTON ALBERT HALL [/underlined]

Wireless instruction in Science Museum.

Meals in Victoria & Albert Museum

Bedrooms in Albert Court next to Hall

“P.T.” in Albert Hall (boxing) etc.

Football in Kensington Gardens

[Underlined] BOXING ALBERT HALL [/underlined]

P.T. instructor sort us out in pairs boxing gloves on.

Instructor shouts Get stuck into each other or I’ll get stuck in to the pair of you

[Page break]

[Underlined] FIRST OPERATION BERLIN [/underlined]

[Underlined] 16.45 hrs [/underlined]

2,000lb overload Beetham spared this

NOV 22ND 764 A/C 7HRS 15MINS

26 A/C Lost 169 killed

Dispersal 1 hour before take off

Check all aerials/W/T./Monica./SBA/IFF/Trailing/Gee/Loop

[Underlined] Gunners getting ready [/underlined]

[Underlined] 17.05hrs BERLIN AGAIN [/underlined] Trailing aerial out [underlined] over the [/underlined] sea

NOV 23rd. [Underlined] IFF switched on [/underlined]

383 A/C 7hrs 45 mins

Navigator reading airspeeds at take off flames from exhausts 20 A/C lost [underlined] while taking off [/underlined]

130 killed

[Underlined] ON LANDING [/underlined]

Flaps frozen up, [Underlined] Refused landing [/underlined] Diverted to RAF Wittering

Bath ready in the morning

[Page break]

[Underlined] 3RD OPERATION [/underlined]

NOV 26TH [Underlined] BERLIN [/underlined]


443 A/C 8HRS 5MINS

28 A/C lost 202 killed

[Underlined] Fog over Lincoln [/underlined] 14 damaged beyond repair

Diverted to Melbourne (Yorks)

[Underlined] Fog also over Melbourne [/underlined]

5 A/C crashed landing

Head your A/C out to sea and B.O.

Back to Skellingthorpe 2 days later

K King hit farm house. Farmer and wife killed

Only rear gunner survived

No cash or shaving kit on operation toothe brush etc.

[Page break]

3 times to Berlin in 5 nights

Cold bed at nights thinking about it.


The most effective raid of the war on Berlin 3,000 houses and 23 industrial premises were completely destroyed with several thousands of other buildings damaged

175,000 people were bombed out
More than 50,000 soldiers were brought in to help from garrisons up to 100KM distance. Equivalent to three army divisions taken from their normal duties

Buildings destroyed or severely damaged are the Kaiser Wilhelm, Memorial Church (now a memorial) the Charlottenburg Castle, the Berlin Zoo, much of the Unter den Linden, the British, French, Italian, and Japanese embassies. The Ministry of Weapons and Munitions, the Waffen SS. admin college. The barracks of the Imperial Guard at Spandau, and many industrial premises inc. 5 factories of the Siemens Group, and the Alkett tank works, recently removed from the Ruhr. 2,000 people killed inc 500 in a large shelter which received a direct hit, and 105 people in another shelter near the gas works, where there was a huge explosion.

[Page break]

[Underlined] DEC 3rd [/underlined] 0023 HRS 527 A/C

[Underlined] LEIPZIG [/underlined 7HRS 50MINS

24 A/C lost 120 killed

Damaged by JU88 Fuel tanks ruptured short of fuel

Landed at Wittering

Officers Mess party no landing lights

Bath in the morning (much better conditions than at Skellingthorpe)

DEC 20TH 17.26 HRS 41 A/C Lost 193 killed

[Underlined] FRANKFURT [/underlined] 5HRS 40MINS

A/C G ED588 Did over 100 operations

DEC 29TH 17.07 HRS

[Underlined] BERLIN [/underlined] 20 A/C lost 79 killed

30lb phosphorous incendiary thro stbrd outer fuel tank.

We didn’t know about it.

Wing/Co took Beetham out to A/C after breakfast to show him hole in wing

[Page break]

[Underlined] JAN 1ST 1944 [/underlined] 23.44HRS NEW YEARS DAY 421 A/C.


28 A/C lost

Had to take the mid upper an axe spare mid upper smashes Perspex of turret Turret perspex frozen over


358 A/C 8HRS 40MINS 16 A/C lost

Lancaster was fired on from another Lancaster


498 A/C 5HRS 10MIN 38 A/C lost

Freda and Joans Lincoln Imps

Fred R/G forgot Lincoln Imp whilst on peri track.
Van driver collected it before take off

[Page break]

JAN 20TH [Underlined] BERLIN [/underlined]


769 A/C 7HRS 35 A/C lost

Coned by searchlights Inter.comm battery became loose
No sound on inter com
2,400 tons of bombs dropped

Collected the HT battery from rear of A/C and re connected it

JAN 21st 19.51 HRS

22 A/C [Underlined] berlin [/underlined] spoof attack → 1 A/C lost

Main operation Magdeburg → 66 A/C lo


Back door open. [Underlined] Tie up with rope Would not close. Slipstream [/underlined]

Dead mans rope at the rear door

Torch and knife in boots

[Page break]

FEB 25TH 18.35 HRS

[Underlined] AUGSBURG [/underlined]

594 A/C 8HRS 21 A/C lost.

Oil temperature much too high on one engine
Returned on 3 engines
Oil temp guage U/S
Nothing wrong with engine

Mike Beetham flying Lancasters promoted to Flight [inserted] LTD [/inserted] Commander
Could not drive car

Help from WAAFs.


[Underlined] STUTTGART [/underlined]

594 A/C 8HRS 10MINS 4 A/C lost

Thick cloud on route and over target
Night fighters unable to locate bomber stream

Much damage to Stuttgart

[Underlined] On the bomb run left left etc. [/underlined]

[Underlined] Bomb doors open Very cold draught when open. [/underlined]

[Page break]

JAN 27TH 17.17 HRS

[Underlined] BERLIN [/underlined

530 A/C 8.55 MINS 33 A/C lost

Off inter comm. High engine rev’s

Les and Jock attack Ju88

Of Les gets DFM, Jock goth nothing

JAN 28TH 0021 HRS

[Underlined] BERLIN [/underlined

677 A/C 7HRS 55MINS 46 A/C lost

Washing & shaving items

Haversacks collected from Sgts mess from airmen missing

19TH FEB 23.55 HRS

[Underlined] LEIPZIG [/underlined

823 A/C 7HRS 78 A/C lost

Returning home over North Sea (dawn reduce hight to stay in the dark

[Page break]


[Underlined] FIGHTER AFFILIATION [/underlined]

12.2.44 We were detailed to fly a short distance up into Yorkshire and to meet up with a Spitfire, who would contact us and when ready would continue to dive on us and give us advice on our defensive moves. In our Lancaster we had our full crew of seven personel, plus another pilot and his two gunners.

Our pilot Sir Michael Beetham decided that he and our two gunners would do the exercise first. With our two gunners in the turrets and Michael in the pilots seat, the attacks began all of them ending in the Lancaster doing cork screws to prevent the Spitfire from shooting him down. After 10 or 15 mins, the other pilot took over from Michael, and his gunners made for the turrets.

When all was ready the Spitfire came in for it first attack, the Lancaster went into a steep dive. I don’t think I have ever dived so steep before in a Lancaster, and so fast. On pulling out of the dive I noticed smoke round the port outer engine, and then there were flames.

Michael shouted a warning on the inter com and to our flight eng to use the fire extinwishes

[Page break]

With the extinuish’s working the flames vanished, with just smoke and steam, however once the extinguisher was empty the flames came back again, and seemed to be spreading down the wing. From the port outer engine the wing was on fire, and as the fire extinguisher was now finished and the fire spreading down the wing Michael gave the order to abandon the aircraft.

With ten crew members on board there was a move to the two exits, my pilot and navigator baled out at the nose exit, followed by the other pilot.

The rear door was open and Jock Higgins our M.U.G. baled out there, Les Bartlett our B.A. also left from there, when I arrived at the rear door they made way for me to go next. I had just left looking at the large fire in the port wing and I knew it was about to break off. I baled out.
Looking down I could only see 10 tenth cloud 3,000ft below me and I did’nt know if we were still over the Humber Estury

As I was falling to earth I found I was pulling one of the canvas handles and not the metal release handle. With the correct handle my chute opened, and looking up I saw part of the port wing following me down Also I could see the coast and I was drifting towards it. At the same time I heard the crash as the Lancaster crashed a few miles in land. I was drifting towards the Lincoln

[Page break]

shore, and I could see all the smoke drifting up in the sky from where it crashed

I made a soft landing in a field quite near East Kirkby airfield, quite close to where the Lancaster crashed. I was told that four of the crew were still in the aircraft when it went down. And I was asked if I would help them decide which body was who. As they were so badly crushed I did’nt want to go near them

[Underlined] REG [/underlined]

The four airmen killed were the other pilots 2 gunners.

Also our rear gunner Fred Ball our flight eng Don Moore

Fred Ball and Joan
Reg and Ena

The two ATS girls

Fred Ball was due to take Joan home to his house in [missing word] on their next leave together. But that was no longer possible

But Reg & Ena found it drew them closer together

[Underlined] Reg was made a member of the Caterpillar Club. [/underlined] Irving parachute.

[Pgae break]


[Underlined] OPERATIONS LEIPZIG [/underlined]

19.2.44 823 Aircraft 561 Lancaster 255 Halifax’s 7 Mosquitoes,

44 Lancasters and 34 Halifax’s lost 9.5 per cent of the force. The Halifax loss rate was 13.3 per cent of those dispatched and 14.9 per cent of those Halifaxes which reached the enemy coast after early returns had turned back. The Halifax 2’sand 5’s were permanently withdrawn from operations to Germany after this raid.

This was an unhappy raid for bomber command.

The German controllers only sent part of their force of fighters to te Kiel minelaying diversion. When the main bomber force crossed the Dutch coast they were met by a further part of the German fighter force and those German fighters which had been sent north to Kiel hurriedly returned. The bomber stream was this under attack all the way to the target. There were further difficulties at the target because winds were not as forcast and many aircraft reached the Leipzig area too early and had to orbit and await the Pathfinders. 4 aircraft were lost by collision and approximately 20 were shot down by flak.

Leipzig was cloud covered and the Pathfinders had to use sky marking. The raid appeared to be concentrated in its early stages but scattered later. There are few details of the effects of the bombing. No report is available from Germany and there was no immediate post raid reconnaissance flight. When photographs were eventually taken they included the results of an American raid which took place on the following day.

[Page break]

Reg Payne flew with 91 different pilots during his RAF service

Flew with Sir Michael Beetham his pilot 108 times

362 official flights made during his RAF service. Plus a large no of unofficial flights not recorded in his log book

After my operational flying at Skellingthorpe as a rest period I was sent to RAF Silverstone No 14 OTU, an Operational Training Unit

This made it rather difficult for me to see my ATS sweetheart in Lincoln.

I always visited her on my days off in Lincoln. Arriving back in the train one evening, I left the railway station at Brackley quite close to my airfield at Turweston. My bike was left chained to the station railings ready for me to ride back to Turweston a short distance away. A WAAF was in the same rail coach as me, she also was based with me, and worked in our Sgts mess. I asked her how she was getting to our airfield a couple of miles away. She said walk I suppose. I had my bike with me & she was please when I offered her a ride on my cross bar. All went well until near the airfield down a dark unlit lane, the pedals of my bike dug into the grass and we both ended up in the ditch. Luckily we were both not hurt, but decided we would walk the rest of the way, and I left her at the gates of the WAAFs site

[Page break]

Having all my meals in the Sgts mess, I thought I would see her again, and finally I asked one of the WAAFs if she was working there still. She smiled at me and said not any more, I then said why not, she then shook me and said, she’s had a dishonourable discharge, I asked what ever for, and she replied, she has had a mis-carriage and is in hospital. I could only think our bike accident was the cause of it. I never met her again.

[Page break]

[Underlined] OPS. AUGSBURG. RETURNED ON 3 ENGINES [/underlined]

25.2.44 23.55 Lancaster B LL744

F/Lt Beetham W.OP.

[Underlined] OPS LEIPZIG [/underlined 7.0PM

823 Aircraft – 561 Lancasters 255 Halifax’s 7 Mosquito’s 44 Lancaster and 34 Halifaxes lost 9.5 per cent of the force The Halifax loss rate was 13.3 per cent of those dispatched and 14.9 per cent of those Halifaxes which reached the enemy coast after early returns had turned back. The Halifax IIs and Vs were permanently withdrawn from operations to Germany after this raid

This was an unhappy raid for bomber command, the German controllers only sent part of their force of fighters to the Kiel minelaying diversion. When the main bomber force crossed the Dutch coast they were met by a further part of the German fighter force and those German fighter which had been sent north to Kiel hurriedly returned.

The bomber stream was thus under attack all the way to the target. There were further difficulties at the target because winds were not as forecast and many aircraft reached the Leipzig area too early and had to orbit and await the Pathfinders. 4 aircraft were lost by collision and approximately 20 were shot down by flak

Leipzig was cloud covered and the Pathfinders had to use sky marking. The raid appeared to be concentrated in its early stages but scattered later. There are few details of the effects of the bombing. No report is available from Germany and there was no immediate post raid reconnaissance flight, when photographs were eventually taken they included the results

[Page break]


In a short time the whole port wing had flames along it, and Michael Beetham gave the order for us to bale out

With ten members of the crew in the aircraft we all had to move swiftly
Les Bartlett our bomb aimer left the astro dome where he had been filming the spitfire and baled out of the rear door followed by Jock Higgins. My pilot and navigator baled out of the front escape hatch

I made my way to the rear exit and baled out, below me all I could see was cloud, we were at 6,000ft, I did’nt know if we were over the Humber Estury or over land. We did not have Mae Wests on
As I was floating down on my chute, part of the port wing was above, luckily it passed by me.

Unfortunately the Australians two gunners didn’t bale out and were both killed
Worst of all our flight eng did not bring his chute because he told it was only a local flight
I think our rear gunner waited to late to jump.

Don our flight eng didn’t stand a chance He said he had not taken his parachute because it was only a training flight

Some time later after I had left the RAF, a friend of mine from East Kirkby took me to the crash side. We dug up a human pelvis and lots of metal that I had melted down and made into small Lancasters

[Page break]


[Underlined] MARSEILLES FRANCE [/underlined]

No A/C lost.

44 A/C of 5. Group. 8hrs 55mins


Practice flight before op with Air/Comm Hesketh Flew over target to get French workers clear before bombing

24TH MAR. [Underlined] BERLIN [/underlined]

811 a/c 7hrs 20mins 72 A/C lost


Tea with rum Massive searchlight & birds 2.30am.

[Underlined] EXPLAIN DARKY PROCEDURE [/underlined]

26TH MARCH 44 19.50HRS

[Underlined] ESSEN [/underlined]

705 A/C 5hrs 5mins 9 A/C lost

Jock pinching coal from compound

Bombs make a metalic jolt as each one leaves

[Page break]


[Underlined] NUREMBURG [/underlined]

[Underlined] BELGUIM [/underlined]

795 A/C 7hrs 45mins 95 A/C lost

5 Northants airmen killed on this op.

Kettering man Arthur Johnson killed with all his crew

4 of our Sqdn were missing

Trevor Roper Gibsons R/G on the dams raid was killed

60 miles of burning A/C across Belgium
Aircraft flying in bright moonlight
200 mile strait leg to north of the target leaving large contrails behind
60 A/C lost

5TH APRILX 20.31 [underlined] TOULOUSE [/underlined] 6HRS 55 MINS

144 A/C of 5 Group [underlined] AIRCRAFT FACTORY [/underlined]

One aircraft exploded over the target.

The factory was severely damaged but 22 people killed in houses near by

[Page break]

[Underlined] HUMBER ESTUARY [/underlined]

12TH FEB [underlined] FIGHTER AFFILIATION [/underlined]

Baled out at 6,00ft
Pilot P.O. Jennings RAAF & two gunners

Les and his camera

Don [inserted] Moore [/inserted] No parachute

Jock on the tail

Me pulling wrong handle

Over the sea or over the land Baling out watching Don Moore (no parachute)

Large reservoir

P/O Jennings in the trees

Tablets from M.O.

Ena ringing Sgts mess

Looking over at Freds bed that night
Freds Lincoln Imp on tunic (not wearing it.

[Underlined] 1979 VISIT CRASH SITE PELVIS FOUND [/underlined]

Explain landing procedure at airfield after [underlined] returning to base Black Swan from Pilgrim B. Baker [/underlined] etc

[Page break]


28TH APRIL [underlined] ST MEDARD BORDEAUX [/underlined]

88 A/C 8HRS No A/C lost

Explosive factory

Markers set woods on fire
Unable to see target

Bombs returned to base


29TH APRIL [underlined] ST MEDARD BORDEAUX [/underlined]

68 A/C 7HRS 20MINS No A/C lost

Explosive factory destroyed

Message (master bomber) do not bomb below “4,000FT
Blast lifted up our A/C


1ST MAY 44 [underlined] TOULOUSE [/underlined]

131 A/C 5HRS 35MINS No A/C lost

Aircraft factory & Explosives factory

Both targets hit.

[Page break]


[Underlined] 22ND APRIL BRUNSWICH [/underlined]

238 A/C 6HRS 4 A/C lost

617 Sqdn Mosquito’s marked target

Thin could over target hampered the bombing

[Underlined] 1,000lb bomb still in bomb bay after [/underlined] landing

Rolled down bomb bay after landing

[Underlined] 21.35 HRS SCHWEINFURT [/underlined

[Underlined] 26TH April [/underlined]

206 A/C 8HRS 50 MINS 21 A/C lost

Unexpected strong winds

Raid not a success

F/St Jackson Flt/Eng Awarded V.C. for climbing out on wing of A/C to put out fire in engine

FW 190 below Lanc. But didn’t fire at it.

[Page break]

11 TH APRIL 20.30

[Underlined] AACHEN [/underlined] 4 HRS

341 A/C 9 A/C lost

Always wanted to bomb Aachen
They gave us so much AA when it was used as a turning point

German civilian population all prepared for RAF raids. All their cellars were joined together with tunnels
The roof attic timbers coated with lime

18TH APRIL 44 [underlined] JUVISEY PARIS [/underlined] 4.25HRS


5 Group effort with master bomber Red spot marking

20TH APRIL 44 [underlined LA CHAPELLE [/underlined] (PARIS) 4HRS 30MINS

270 A/C 6 A/C lost

[Underlined] Rail target north of Paris [/underlined]

[Underlined] Washing & shaving equipment [/underlined]

[Underlined] Haversacks in Sgts mess. [/underlined]
Collected from hooks after approx. 6 weeks

[Page break]

Although operations were detailed one night our crew were not detailed.

I needed a few items for myself from the shops in Lincoln and went there on my own to purchase them.

Lincoln city was very quiet. Not an aircraft in the sky and you could hear all the traffic noises.

Suddenly the crackling noise of a heavily laden Lancaster bomber climbed over the roof tops from one airfield, then followed by another from another airfield. This was followed by dozens of Lancasters circling round the city, heavily laden with tons of bombs. The people of Lincoln were used to this, as they knew that once on their way to Germany it would be quiet until they returned some hours later

[Page break]

[Underlined] WE HAD TO BURY REAR GUNNER AT BIRMING [/underlined]

End of tour operations.

Returning after 7 days leave

5 – 50 Sqdn crews missing from raids whilst away

4 on Mailly le Camp.

15 Lancs flown whilst with 50 Sqdn 14 lost soon after.

[Underlined] No interest in football what so ever [/underlined]

[Underlined] DURING MY 30 OPERATIONS [/underlined]

691 aircraft lost
3967 aircrew killed
1111 P.O.W.’s
209 hrs over Germany (all at night) over 8 days.

Of the 4319 men in the A/C attacking Berlin who were shot down in the 18 raids only 992 survived 22.9 per cent.

[Page break]

Fred and Reg Ena Goodrich and Joan Brighty

[Underlined] THE LINCOLN IMP [/underlined]

Ena & Joan our two ATS girl friends gave us both a little Lincoln Imp badge to wear on our clothing when flying. They were known as very lucky items. Fred liked to pin his to his blazor when he went out in the evening, and pin it to his flying jacket when flying.

One evening when we were on operations being taken to our aircraft, Fred said to the driver of our transport, I have’nt got my Lincoln Imp (I never fly without it) Fred told him our hut number, 1st bed on left, Lincoln Imp on blazor hanging above bed.

The driver after dropping us at our A/C sped off to our hut, in ten minutes he was back with Freds Lincoln Imp. We all felt much better.

It was some time after, during a local parachute jumping afternoon, we had ten men in the Lancaster and only six of us managed to bale out before the Lancaster crashed. The other four men were killed Fred our rear gunner was one of them.

As I lay’d in my bed the next morning with Fred’s bed next to mine, his uniform jacket hung in the sun light: something on the pocket lapel caught the sunlight. It was Freds Lincoln Imp

[Page break]


[Table of aircraft with losses and details of crews]

Total number of A/C lost on these operations [underlined] 562. [/underlined]
Total number of aircrew killed [underlined] 4,300. 1206 POW’s
Average number of A/C on each operation 425.

Of the 4319 men in the A/C shot down attacking Berlin only 992 survived 22.9 per cent

[Page break]


1 in every 7 aircrew were killed in training

[Underlined] 1942 [/underlined] Only 3 in every 10 crews would finish a tour

3 groups od U.S. P40’s had sweepd German airfields in the afternoon prior to Nuremburg

Many say after pilots releasing their brakes and getting close to 105mph. was the moment of greatest fear. Sitting between 12 tons of petrol and explosives

6 nights before the Nuremburg raid 72 bombers were lost over Berlin

[Page break]

Killed on the Nuremburg raid

545 RAF crew
129 German civilian and military inc 11 Luftwaffe

[Underlined] 5 airmen from Northants killed [/underlined]

F/Sgt T J Hirst Weedon
F/O H C Frost Northampton
Sgt A J Johnson Kettering
Sgt J.P G Binder Moulton
Sgt G.W. Walker Geddington

In all during WWII 14,000 tons of bombs were dropped on Nuremburg. 6,369 Germans killed

A crew member had 1 in 4 chance when shot down

In the 5 month period known as the Battle of Berlin, it cost bomber command 1,123 A/C missing over enemy territory and crashes in England More than the entire strength of bomber command

Cyril Barton was the only Halifax pilot to gain V.C.

After Nuremburg, Mosquitoes went out with the bombers using the latest Mark X radar. Before this it was never allowed over enemy territory

[Page break]

[Underlined] NUREMBURG [/underlined]

41 Second Dicky’s took part in raid 9 killed 2 POW’s

9 Flight Commanders lost all killed

Half missing crews had done less than 10 ops.

30 missing had done less than 5 ops.

9 crews missing on their first op.

Out of 64 Lancs shot down only 4 rear gunners survived

101 Sqdn lost 7 A/C

51 Sqdn lost 6

Sgt Brinkhurst was the only crew member to get back to England after being shot down by a Halifax mid/upper gunner

Most men after being shot down in Germany, after taking off their parachutes, felt a sense of relief and were glad to be alive

No Mosquito carrying Oboe was ever shot down

[Page break]

Finally the moon set 1.48am, 3 hrs flight home against head winds

Martin Becker had shot down 6 bombers, he landed and re fuelled then shot down another Halifax. The rear gunner never saw him
50 men in Beckers 7 A/C 34 died

Major Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer had shot down 121 bombers

The spread of bombers was 160 miles wide when crossing the coast home at 4am.

F/Lt Snell PFF pilot over Nuremburg 0107, landed base Downham Market 0410by direct route home 25 mins before the next A/C landed

Some crews 100 miles off track

Our crew crossed coast at Calais instead of 80 miles further south

P/O Barton crossed Durham coast 200 miles off track and crash landed. 3 crew survived.
Cyril Barton died – VC.

14 A/C crashed in this country.

[Underlined] East Kirkby [/underlined] 5 crews had there leave stopped to go on this operation 2 aborted 2 shot down.

[Page break]


Sgt Handley 50 Sqdn crashed RAF Winth [missing rest of word] All crew okay.
But all crew killed 5 weeks later Mailey le Camp.

When we were interrogated we were asked, How many did you think we have lost. Our M/U said about 100 and they said “Come off it Sgt. ” and poo pooed it.

Bennett was angry when he heard of the losses

One third of bombers shot down by 8 pilots

Nav F L Chipperfield 619 Sqdn Coningsby composed the Warsaw Concerto was on this raid

Our crew were No 1 airborne at Skellingthorpe at 2200 later Flt.Sgt Bucknall burst a tyre on take off and came off the runway “Wing & engine ripped out”

52 A/C Boomerang’d
4.7% Lancs
14.2 Halifaxs.
1.8 PFF.

2,600 tons of bombs carried all together

[Page break]


The forecast winds the bombers were using were not accurate & blew crews to the north

German night fighters still had navigation lights on when they first saw the bombers

The SN-2 improved radar could locate bomber even if they were using window.

Walter Heidenreich switched on radar and saw unusual blip. It was two Lancs flying together for company (it was so bright) He shot them both down with (slanting music)

Helmut Schuite shot down 4 A/C with 56 cannon shells

P/O Cyril Barton’s A/C on fire.
Nav, W/OP & B/A bale out
After fires are put out he still carried on with 3 engines loosing 400 gals fuel

Aircraft burning on ground lit up the sky

Our nav told crew not to report any more A/C being shot down

[Page break]


9 out of 10 pilots would always corkscrew port. The German pilots would allow for this

50 Mosquito night/fighters were in bomber stream, their radar could not pick up the signals from the German night fighters

The RAF radio station at Kingsdown could hear the claims of bombers being shot down and knew bomber command was in trouble

The long leg 200 miles 1 hr flying. 60 aircraft shot down one every 3 1/2 miles one per minute

In only 1 A/C did the whole crew survive

One crew in three were all killed

After the long leg bombers turned south for Nuremburg. Owing to strong wind, lots were too far [missing word] and east. 75 miles 20 mins flying.

PFF found that Nuremburg was covered by dense cloud 2 miles deep. Had to use sky markers

[Page break]

German single engine fighters all sent north to Berlin.
The bombers turn to the south wasn’t predicted

Chris Panton, brother of Panton Bros East Kirkby was shot down and killed on southern leg

PFF target indicators were widely scattered

Within 7 mins of bombers turning south, all German night fighters were told of new course

18 more bombers were lost on short south leg

In one Lanc Trevor Roper was killed Gibsons R/G

After target marking A/C should be bombing 47 A/C per min. or 160 tons per min
But they were late being too far north at turning point.
2 groups of markers could be seen several miles apart

Backers up dropped their sky markers near Lauf too far east. There was no master bomber to tell main force

[Page break]


It was usual practice for some PFF crews to scatter bombs over target area to keep the defences under cover whilst the aiming point was located and marked accurately.

Sky markers dropped over Lauf drew most of the bombing

One Path finder had a clear view of industrial town. Thought it must be Nuremburg and dropped large green TI on it
The town was Schweinfurt.
All the ball bearing factories were hit with incendiaries but no HE bombs.

Of all the A/C shot down on the outward flight only one full crew survived

German fire fighters working in -15 degrees- ce [missing end of word]
Village of Schonberg was destroyed by incendiaries 11 miles from aiming point

After leaving Nuremburg Some pilots flew into cloud after losing height still being blown north

[Page break]

[Underlined] 30TH MARCH 1944 [/underlined]

[Underlined] OPS NUREMBERG SAME SIZE AS BRISTOL [/underlined]

Severe icing in northern Europe, raid had to be more south

Harris chose Nuremburg.

Beginning of moon period

Early forecast cloud cover on way to target but clear over target

Straight leg 200 miles over Germany
Bennett PFF was against this

Halifax groups were in favour save fuel

Bombers in 5 waves 17 mins over target.

795 aircraft 572 Lancs 214 Halifax’s 9 Mosquito

In 7 months up to this date bomber command had lost 1047 A/C
6 days before 73/AC lost on Berlin

Halifax’s would carry only incendiaries one third of Lancasters weight.

162 aircraft involved in diversion raids (Baltic)

[Page break]

[Underlined] NUREMBERG [/underlined]

Some U.S. Mustangs and Lightnings were flying as night fighters RAF crews not told

20 Stirlings
10 Albemarles
8 Wellingtons
6 Fortress’s
110 Mosquitoes

I all 6,493 airmen over Germany that night.

In 103 Sqdn no one had completed a tour for 7 months

Photo rec’I’ aircraft flew over area in late afternoon and reported clear skys and no cloud cover.

But Harris did not cancel the raid

The German controllers ignored the mining diversion towards Baltic

German radar picked up signals from our H2S headsets soon after leaving our bases

By midnight, 200 German night fighters were making their way to orbit beacons “Ida” and “Otto” In the path of the bombers

Bombers were leaving contrails in bright moon

[Page break]

Because of the failure to find and mark Nuremberg Harris gave Cochrane (5 Group) the all clear to mark targets from low level. Using 617 Sqdn and Mosquitoes W/Co Cheshire obtained his V.C. for all his low level marking
Cheshire marked an A/C factory from 1,000ft over Toulouse and 5 Group destroyed it.

This was the last time the bombers all went in one stream to a single target.

[Page break]

[Underlined] REG’S TOTAL RAF TRAINING [/underlined]

Oct/41 Blackpool Basic RAF training Morse Code etc
Jan/42 Yatesbury. Wireless study. Morse procedure
May/42 “North Coates”. Wireless ops duties costal command
Oct/42 Radio Maintenance “South Kensington” London
Jan/43 Radio training “Madely” Proctors & Dominies
Apr/43 Air gunners course Stormy Down Whitleys
May 43 “AFU” Wigtown Scotland Ansons & Bothas
June 43 14 OTU Cottesmore Saltby & Market Harborough
Sept 43 H.C.U. Wigsley Halifax & Lancaster
Oct 43 50 Sqdn Lancasters 10 Berlin ops and Nuremburg Pilot Sir Michael Beetham
May 44 RAF Silverston 14 OTU.
June 44 RAF Turweston 14 OTU
June 45 Voluntarily taken off flying duties
July 45 Trained as receipts & issues stores officer at RAF Kirkham
Dec 45 Flown to Rangoon 56 FRU Forward Repair Unit 39 Flying hours reclaiming RAF equipment
July 46 Return home by boat. Demob RAF Kirkham 30 days not leaving the boat

In Burma. Reclaiming RAF equipment left arround after the Japanese were defeated
Based in Rangoon

Bringing it on charge or turning it to scrap

[Page break]

[Symbol] Lost on ops whilst F/O Beetham was at 50 Sqdn.
[Symbol] Missing POW’s.

[Underlined] No.50 Squadron Battle Order – 22nd November, 1943 [/underlined] BERLIN

[Underlined] A/C Pilot F/Eng. Nav. A/B. WO/AG. MU/G.

“A” P/O Toovey Sgt. Smith F/O. Pagett Sgt. Bedingham Sgt. Olsson Sgt. Kelbrick

“B” F/Lt. Bolton Sgt. Brown P/O. Watson F/Sgt. Forrester Sgt. McCall Sgt. Moody

“C” P/O. Heckendorf Sgt. Henderson P/O. Dale Sgt. Kewlay Sgt. Hope Sgt. Hall

“D” F/O. Beetham Sgt. Moore P/O. Swinyard Sgt. Bartlett Sgt. Payne Sgt. Higgins

“E” F/Sgt. Leader Sgt. Rosenburg F/O Candy P/O. Stevens F/Sgt. Lewis Sgt. Tupman

“F” P/O. Litherland Sgt. Green F/O. Chilcott Sgt. Hartley Sgt. Harris F/O Crawford

“G” F/O. Wilson Sgt. Felton P/O. Billam F/O. Newman Sgt. Gunn F/Sgt Harring

“H” Sgt. Lloyd Sgt. Avenell Sgt. Richardson SGt. Dewhirst F/Sgt. Hewson Sgt. McCarthy

“J” F/Sgt Erritt Sgt. Jones F/Sgt. Delaynn Sgt. Gleeson F/Sgt. Taylor F/Sgt. William

“K” F/Sgt. Thompson Sgt. Laws F/Sgt. Chapman Sgt. Conlon Sgt. Corbett Sgt. Spiers
Front Gunner – F/Sgt. Bolton

“L” F/Lt. Burtt Sgt. Taylor F/o. Presland F/O. Daynes F/O. Betty Sgt. Parkman

“M” F/O. Keith Sgt. Mitchell F/O. Guthrie Sgt. Bendix Sgt. Morrey Sgt. Brown

“N” F/Sgt Cole Sgt. Cammish F/Sgt. Burton Sgt. Wasterman F/Sgt. Stanwix Sgt. Sockett

“O” P/O Dobbyn Sgt. Cave F/Sgt. Palmer Sgt. Jackson Sgt. Ridyard Sgt. Duncom

“P” P/O. Lundy Sgt. Stevens F/Sgt. Jordan P/O Bignell Sgt. Green Sgt. Rundle

“R” W/O. Saxton Sgt. Fryer F/Sgt. Jowett F/Sgt Rees Sgt. Watson F/Sgt. Zunti
2nd Navigator F/Sgt Crerar

“S” P/O. Adams Sgt. Midgeley Sgt. Rawcliffe Sgt. Ward F/Sgt. Crawford Sgt. Hastie

“T” F/O Herbert Sgt. Russell Sgt. Rae F/O. Bacon Sgt. Poole P/O. Hughes

“X” P/O. Weatherstone Sgt. Gregory F/Sgt. Thompson Sgt. Lane Sgt. Spruce Sgt. Linehan

O.C. Night Flying S/Ldr. W.F. Parks, DFC.
Duty Engineer Sgt. Brown


Wing Commander, Commanding,

[Underlined] 50 Squadron, Skellingthorpe [/underlined]

[Page break]


[Page break]

[RAF Challenge Chart]

[Page break]

Early DI’s change LT. accumulators Sign Form 700
Airtest check equip whilst flying
Attend W/Ops briefing D/F stations & freq’s etc. codes
Attend main briefing.

Collect. Colour of day charts
Main bomber codes
Beacon freq’s
M/F D/F groups to use
Broadcast times
Spare helmet
W/T challenge chart
Most of these are on rice paper and can be eaten before landing

Operate ground flight switch check voltage main acc’s
Switch on A1134? Amplifier for inter com.
Check radio whilst engines being run up.
Tidy up bundles of window on floor
Oxygen mask on before take off
Once airborne pencil in ranges on vis Monica screen
IFF switched on
Listen out for half hourly broadcast from base
Leaving coast wind out trailing aerial
Switch off IFF.
Keep continuous watch on Monica screen
Listen out on given wave band for German speech and tune transmitter to jamb the speech
Wind in trailing aerial when crossing enemy coast
Pass bundles of window down to F/Lt engineer
Transmit wind speed and height back to base. Details from nav
Keeping watch on Monica screen whilst listening for German speech on given wave length
Obtain bearing from beacon for nav. using loop aerial
On clear sky nights, obtain shots of given stars as asked for by navigator
On run up to target get in astro dome and look for A/C above you on bombing run
Receive any messages from base, decode them and pass to Pilot or nav
Send more winds back to base
Shout “contact” each time a blip comes on Monica screen
Keep searching for German R/T speech
Let trailing aerial out after leaving enemy coast.
Switch on IFF when near English coast
Place colours of day cartridges in very pistol
Wind in trailing aerial (crossing English coast)
If diversion message is rec’d before reaching English coast. Contact the diversion airfield and obtain QDM. Coarse to steer to get you to the airfield

[Page break]


[Page break]

Alfred East Gallery Aircraft Paintings.

Grafton Underwood Oil Painting . Raffle for funds re Americans returning

Later Exhib Grafton Village Hall
Village scenes & aircraft.
Lady bought two church paintings
Vicars wife spitfire painting
Forest Green village bridge painting

Thank you letter.

Comission Lysander dessert painting
Kept. It.

Aircraft Paintings for guest speakers Air Gunners Ass

Chairman got praise

Lancaster Sqdn painting Lincoln £1,600 Memorial

Comission B24 Liberator painting Harrington Memorial unveiling

[Missing word] B17 over Grafton Underwood Dr Wildgoose

[Missing word] of friends deceased wife

Rothwell family mother father & wife all deceased

[Missing word] Ship painting for Malta.

[Page break]

Exhibiting Paintings in Rothwell Antique Shop.

2 Exhibitions in Rothwell library

Lancaster painting bought by friend donated to Bishop Stopford School.
Trevor Hopkins and talk to children

Photograph’s taken of paintings & made into cards

Started painting local scenes in water colours to produce greetings cards

Now visit all villages in this area taking photographs to use in producing more cards.

County library services use my Manor House painting to produce 4,000 cards.

Still have to go back to Lanc painting in oils

In 1999 exhibited 16 paintings All sold

[Page break]

[Underlined] PAINTING [/underlined]

Started 1970

Picture framing out of hand

Framing for art exhibitions & weddings
Nude lady painting in shed

Some of them not worth framing.

To Doctor [inserted] Walker [/inserted] with chest pains, pack up framing first do some for us
Calendars from drug firms.

Clear up back log framing
Try painting for change

Started copying calendars – water colours sold first one to neighbour

College told me change to oils

Did my first aircraft painting sketching model oils
Later photos of models at required angles

Started taking photo’s of local scenes to copy
Exhibited in Kettering P.O & Lloyds Bank
Commissioned paint bank for manager
Changed it to holiday painting

[Page break]

[Underlined] BROUGHTON ART EXHIBITION JUNE 2000 [/underlined]

Paintings hung 3 sold
1 painting took 2nd place in favourite painting vote.

Oct and November Exhibitions in-:
Alfred East Gallery Kettering
Kettering Library
Rothwell Holy Trinity

31 paintings sold during year 2000

Jan 2001, completed painting of Rothwell Church school building for use on letter heading note paper

Selection of greeting’s cards including A/C cards
Total over 100

Donate paintings-: Westside Community Group
Rowell Fair Soc
Rothwell Church

Painting of Rothwell Sunday School Bdls’

Broughton Flower Festival Poster

[Page break]

Intelligence Exams. Dover Hall? Northampton. RAF Cardington over night.
Fitness Exams [Underlined] DETAILS OF W/OP TRAINING [/underlined]
25.5.41 RAF Reserve
9-10-41 8 Recruit Centre Padgate.
16.10.41 10 Signals School [underlined] Blackpool [/underlined]
5.2.42 2 Signals School [underlined] Yatesbury [/underlined]
7.5.42 W/OP [underlined] North Coates [/underlined] Coastal Comm
16.9.42 7 Signals School [underlined] South Kensington [/underlined]
6.1.43 4 Signals School [underlined] Madeley [/underlined]
6.4.43 7 A.G.S. Stormy Down
27.4.43 1 A.F.U. Wigtown
1.6.43 14 OTU Cottesmore, Saltby Market Harborough
8.9.43 1654 Conversion Unit Wigsley. NOTS
22.10.43 50 Sqdn Skellingthorpe Lincs.

10.6.44 14 OTU Silverstone

1.8.44? 14 O.T.U. Turweston

[Page break]


[Underlined] OCT 1943 [/underlined]

Met my future 1st wife whilst serving in RAF Lincoln
She was an ATS girl also based in Lincoln

[Missing word] [Underlined] 1944 [/underlined]

After completing my operational flying 50 Sqdn Skellingthorpe posted to 17 OTU Silverstone as an instructor where I stayed until VE. Day May 1945.

By that time I was engaged to my ATS girlfriend but agreed not to get married whilst still flying

Large surplus of aircrew after VE Day.

Given choice to give up flying and take ground job.

After training were promised posting near home
1st 2nd and 3rd choice Desborough Market Harbor’o Silverstone

After courting 2 years decided to get married

Posted to RAF Kirkham 8 week course Receipts & Issues Officer
Fixed date of wedding 5th Oct 45

After finish of course posted to Blackpool P.D.C.
Then to North Pier to be told of our postings
My posting 56 FRU S.E.A.C.
Told to go to Karachi to find where 56 FRU was.

Home on leave for wedding & back to Blackpool

Trainload of us to Northweald Essex to fly over seas

[Page break]


Parade 8am each morning hundreds on parade
Call for 50 personel 2 Liberators departing

Kept hanging back wifes parents living nearby.

5 weeks later not many of us left, all transported to [underlined] RAF Tempsford [/underlined] spy’s airfield [underlined] Bedfordshire [/underlined]

Now very cold snow on ground [underlined] no heating. [/underlined]

[Underlined] 11TH DEC [/underlined] 26 off us taken with kit, to waiting Lib

Given ‘K’ rations [underlined] no drinks no seats [/underlined]

1300 hrs took off for North Africa

Landed North Africa [underlined] Castel Benito Tripoli [/underlined] Mussolini’s airfield 7hrs 5mins

Canteen for cup tea Barrel of oranges

Slept in tent [underlined] cold [/underlined] Out door wash etc

Servicemen going home have preferance of A/C

Dock & harbour Tripoli full of sunken ships
Airfield littered with Axis A/C

[Page break]

[Underlined] 13TH DEC [/underlined] 4pm took off for [underlined] Cairo [/underlined] Landed [underlined] Almaza 6hrs 40mins [/underlined]

Taken to Helioplis Palace Hotel
Civil aviation hotel Very posh.

Cool bath in morning (Lady cleaner)

Trip to Pyramids in afternoon
Collect Roman coin [underlined] Diaclesus 300BC [/underlined]

Trouble with young Egyptian shoe shines

[Underlined] 15TH DEC 0630hrs [/underlined] Took off [underlined] Persia, [/underlined] Landed [underlined] Shaibah 5hrs [/underlined]

Very hot sunstroke centre near A/C

[Underlined] 15TH DEC 1500hrs [/underlined] Took off for India landed at [underlined] Mauripur Karachi 7hrs 20mins [/underlined] 10.20pm.

Given bunk beds in large hangar 3 high.

Spent 13 days at Mauripur including Christmas
Changed into Khaki clothing

Plenty of fruit and bananas and drink

Christmas day in shorts & hat only

Swimming in Arabian Gulf with dolphins

Hot sands Camel rides messy smells

[Page break]

[Underlined] 28 DEC 45 6 AM [/underlined]

Boarded Dakota to [underlined] Palam Delhi 4hrs 40mins [/underlined]

[Underlined] View of Everest during flight [/underlined]

28th DEC [underlined] 12.35PM Palam to Chakula 4hrs 15mins [/underlined]

[Underlined] 100 miles? From Calcutta [/underlined]

At Chakula for 2 or three days

Stayed on camp site all the time
Lived in bamboo huts on stilts [underlined] 4ft [/underlined]

Wild country all arround, jackals howling at nights

Primitive toilets on raised stairways

All personel were armed mostly Sten guns
All had firing practice on firing range

1ST JAN 46

We all boarded Indian train, no window panes no corridors

As Warrant Officer was I/C the train

Airmen firing from train at wildlife during journey

[Page break]

Thought I was in for rocket when we pulled into Calcutta station

Spent next few days in transit camp near Calcutta

Not allowed to leave camp over local Indians pushing for their independance

Whilst there played football against African black, they wiled the floor with us, playing with bare feet

Ice cream under shade of tree monkey’s dropping
Eating ice cream

5TH JAN 46.


12.30pm Boarded Dakota to Mingladon Airfield near Rangoon 4.30hrs

Total flying hours Tempsford England to [underlined] Mingladon Rangoon 39hrs 30mins [/underlined]

We were all taken by lorry transport (now 12 off us)

To Rangoon where we found 56 F.R.U.
F.R.U. = Forward Repair Unit.

[Page break]

We were taken to our separate mess’s

After a meal in the Sgts mess we were taken to a neaby bombed building nearby

Given timber & tools to make beds
Mosquito nets

[Underlined] No windows electrics water [/underlined]

After breakfast taken to 56 FRU stores

[Underlined] 56 FORWARD REPAIR UNIT. [/underlined]

Capable of repairing anything used in R.A.F.
Aircraft Vehicles Radio’s Parachutes etc

Stores in large [inserted] ex [/inserted] printing works

[Underlined] Job Detail As a W/O I was given the jobs [/underlined]

As, I/C our Sgts billet
Anti malaria officer
Fire officer
Petrol receipts & issues officer
As well as working in stores & Orderly Officer

[Page break]

[Underlined] Japanese POW’s working for us. Petrol drums [/underlined]

[Underlined] Very hot & sticky [/underlined] Atmosphere 110°
Green mould on shoes
[Underlined] Khaki shorts [/underlined] changed 3 times a day.

[Underlined] Dark [/underlined] soon after 5pm, thousands large bats

[Underlined] Fire fly’s [/underlined] lighting up tress

[Underlined] Canoe building [/underlined]

[Underlined] Victoria Lakes Sunday’s Me organising [/underlined]

[Underlined] Transport Food Bookings Snakes [/underlined] in lake

[Underlined] Hot sands [/underlined]

[Underlined] Petrol for Unit dance [/underlined]

[Underlined] Drains and sewers in Rangoon [/underlined] flooding in monsoon

Units closing down disposing of their equipment.

[Underlined] Orderly Officer Parachutes and Army Depot fire [/underlined]

[Underlined] Duty Free labels [/underlined] F/Lt. Adjutant

[Underlined] Rangoon toilets [/underlined] Squash dog on road

Water Festival

[Page break]

[Underlined] Monsoon rain [/underlined] Deluge on flat roof

Open sewers full
W/shops flooded testing canoes

We each bought a black steel trunk to store all our presents in to take home called a [underlined] deep sea trunk [/underlined]

[Underlined] One thing remains in my memory [/underlined]

Anglo Burmese ladies in office
11am Thursday’s shooting Jap war criminals
Listening to rifle shots ladies smiling.

[Underlined] EARLY JUNE 1946 [/underlined]

My demob group No 42 has come up

Transferred to a disposal centre on the outskirts of Rangoon

Sleeping 2 persons small tent

Were instructed to keep our arms in our beds, [underlined] “Dakoits” [/underlined] Burmese bandits from surrounding countryside

After a few days we were taken out by boat where our ship to take us home was moored [Underlined] The “Orduna” [/underlined]

[Page break]




1939-45 CEMETARY

“Bomber Harris and the Strategic Bombing Offensive 1939-1945

By the time war in Europe had ended more than 8,000 bombers had been lost during operational sorties, and by night alone nearly 14,000 were damaged, of which some 1,200 were totally wrecked. In terms of human casualties no fewer than 46,268 had lost their lives during or as a result of operations, and a further 4,200 had been wounded. In addition on non-operational flights 8,090 had been killed or wounded. Put another way, out of every 100 aircrew who joined an Operational Training Unit, on average 51 would be killed on operations, 9 would be killed flying in England, 3 would be seriously injured in crashes, 12 would become POW’s of whom some would be injured, 1 would be shot down but evade capture, and 24 would survive unharmed. No other branch of the fighting services faced quite these awesome odds.

[Page break]




[Page break]

[Table of Aircraft & Aircrew Losses During Reg’s 30 Operations]

Total number of A/C lost on these operations 562.
Total number of aircrew killed 4,300. 1206 POW’s
Average number of A/C on each operation 425.

Of the 4319 men in the A/C shot down attacking Berlin only 992 survived 22.9 per cent.

[Page break]

[Underlined] BOAT TRIP HOME FROM BURMA RANGOON [/underlined]

As a W/O was given a berth in centre of ship

The ship terribly overcrowded

The only drinks water and tea
No canteen or such No books or library

30 day journey

Tried sleeping below deck first night
Slept on deck (crowded) after that

Quizz on how many miles the ship did each day

Went thro monsoon period

Attacked by swarm of locus

Hung dirty washing out of port hole

Noticed Army personel had ringworms

Nothing to do all day

Biggest event watching one chap having his boils squeezed each morning.

Called in at Ceylon, Alexandra Suez Gibralta
No one allowed off ship.

Went below to sleep just before we reached England
Docked in Liverpool mid July.

[Page break]

[Underlined] DEMOBBED AT RAF KIRKHAM 17TH JULY 1946 [/underlined]

W/O’s were told to leave their kit bags on deck and they will be taken to demob centre

All khaki clothing burned on parade ground

Our deep sea trunks were brought to us.

My kit bag had not turned up.

Had to pay 19/6d for missing overcoat (in kit bag)

Revolver & 40 rounds also in kitbag.

Told some of you W/O’s would loose your bloody head if it was’nt fixed on.
That’s all that was said

With that trundled my deep sea trunk to the railway station and home

[Page break]

[Underlined] SGT RON BOYDON [/underlined]


21/22ND JAN 1944






Reg Payne, “Aviation Memory,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 16, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/10612.

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