Interview with Bert Hammond. One

Title

Interview with Bert Hammond. One

Description

Bert Hammond was born and brought up in Norwich. He was a grocer’s assistant and an air cadet at the start of the war. He recalls bombing attacks on Norwich and a lone aircraft machine gunning female workers leaving the Coleman’s Factory. In 1943, at the age of 18, he volunteered for the RAF as an air gunner. His initial training took place at RAF Bridlington and RAF Bridgnorth. He was posted to No. 4 Air Gunnery School, RAF Morpeth, in October 1943. His training included the use of cine-guns and target drones, and flying took place in Avro Ansons.
Posted to 26 Operational Training Unit at RAF Wing, he was formed into a crew to fly Wellingtons as a rear gunner. On one training flight, an engine failed on take-off and the pilot managed to complete a circuit before carrying out a belly landing. As Bert had learned morse code as an air cadet, he was tasked to take over as the wireless operator if necessary, therefore, moved to the mid-upper turret to be closer.
In 1944 he was posted to RAF Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire, initially with 1678 Heavy Conversion Unit to convert to Lancasters, and then to 514 Squadron as operational crew. His first operation was on the 30th of May to Boulogne. He describes a number of operations over France and Germany. On the 12th of June during an operation to Gelsenkirchen, they were hit by anti-aircraft fire putting their instruments out of action. They were diverted to RAF Woodbridge for an emergency landing.
Bert describes the differences in performance between the Mark II and Mark III Lancasters, and what happened during the day of operations. He completed his thirty operations in September 1944 and, after a period of leave, was posted to RAF Manby as an instructor with No. 1 Empire Air Armament School. He explains how he felt about the bombing of Germany, the loss of friends, and how the war was a great leveller of persons. He was demobilised in 1947.

Creator

Date

2018-09-04

Language

Type

Format

01:25:50 audio recording

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Rights

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

Identifier

AHammondBF180904, PHammondBF1801

Transcription

DK: I’ll just check this is working. So, this is David Kavanagh for the International Bomber Command Centre interviewing Bert Hammond at his home on the 4th of September 2018. So, if I just put that there.
BH: Yeah.
DK: It works better if you just talk normally. If I’m looking down I’m just making sure it’s working.
BH: Yeah.
DK: But what, what I’ll just start off asking you was what, what were you doing just before the war? Can you remember what you were doing?
BH: Yeah. First of all I was a grocer’s assistant and then I decided to get some further education.
DK: Right.
BH: And luckily for me there was just a bit of luck. I was in ATC, 233 Squadron. Whatever you called it. And I went to the Technical College to see if I could get anything and unbeknown to me the teacher I saw was also an officer in the ATC Squadron which I didn’t know.
DK: Oh right.
BH: He also was in charge for the football team for the squad which I played for. So, he, he helped me a lot to get some further education and there was a period of time which I greatly, you know appreciated.
DK: So —
BH: That was up until I went and volunteered.
DK: So the fact you were in the ATC was flying something you were interested in then? And the RAF?
BH: Yeah, we got the occasional trip, you know.
DK: Yeah.
BH: We, we got one nearby squadron. Bostons. We got, I got a trip in one of those one Sunday.
DK: Yeah. Well what were you flying in? Can you remember?
BH: Sorry?
DK: What were you flying in?
BH: Then?
DK: Yeah.
BH: Bostons.
DK: Right.
BH: The American aircraft.
DK: Right. Oh, right.
BH: And I’ve, there’s only about three crew. Bomb aimer, navigator, pilot and a wireless operator/air gunner because they, they were probably flying in, was it 2 Group?
DK: Right. Yes. Yeah.
BH: They were Bomber Command but late aircraft.
DK: Yeah. So you flew in a Boston as part of the ATC then.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Ah.
BH: And we also, I forget the name of the aircraft, we went one night. We flew over the Broads, The Norfolk Broads.
DK: Right.
BH: In a [pause] I forget what they called it now. Twin engine. You could get about eight people in. It was. But that was that was also helpful you know to get you accustomed to flying.
DK: So was that the first time you flew then?
BH: Yeah, in the Boston.
DK: In the Boston.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Oh, right. So, how did you feel as you were taking off in it? Was it quite exciting?
BH: I was so unprepared. I didn’t, I didn’t know what to expect. But it’s, the best part was that they had left as you got in to the back because it was the wireless op in those and the air gunner was in the middle of the aircraft you see.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And they left all the detachment out so I can see all the ground underneath my feet [laughs] but it was, no it was a great experience.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Because you, before you go in to the RAF you’ve got a little idea what flying is about. It may be sparse but it was —
DK: So whereabouts, going a bit further whereabouts were you actually born then? Were you a Londoner?
BH: No, I was born in Norwich.
DK: Right.
BH: Brought up in Norwich.
DK: So, in Norwich itself then did you see much about the beginning of the war?
BH: Oh, yes.
DK: What did you see then? Can you —
BH: We got, we got bombed. I mean, but the incident which I never saw, but obviously there was no television in those days. There was a paper and also the wireless where the stray aircraft came over and machine gunned the girls coming out of Colman’s Mustard Factory.
DK: Oh dear.
BH: I mean, I’m not quite sure of the numbers but it was either seventeen or nineteen they killed, and I thought to myself then but they’re not munitions, they’re not war people. They’re [pause] and then of course they got further night raids. And I had a girlfriend at the time. You know, young we were [laughs] and her, they bombed Norwich, and I was, of course this is the early part of the war and she was, her cousin was seventeen and got killed.
DK: Oh, really.
BH: When they pulled her out she was black. Blast.
DK: She didn’t work at the Colman’s factory then. She was —
BH: No. No. Separate.
DK: Separate incident. Oh dear. Yeah.
BH: But that’s the sort of thing that got me thinking about, I mean.
DK: Yeah.
BH: I mean, at the time I thought I mean a girl of seventeen you know they’re in the bloom of their life aren’t they?
DK: Yeah.
BH: But that really, that really struck me. Those two occasions. That’s all. That’s why I volunteered for aircrew. As simple as that.
DK: And what year was it you volunteered for aircrew then?
BH: ’43. Early ’43. I had to go in. I had to go in to have my tonsils and adenoids out so I got delayed actually, you know.
DK: Right.
BH: Through the RAF you know.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: Went before what they called an Attestation Board at Cardington in Bedfordshire.
DK: Right.
BH: And then of course you have your medical, and seven doctors I believe there were.
DK: So, it was quite thorough then was it?
BH: Oh yeah.
DK: So as you joined what were you hoping to do in the RAF? Were you hoping to be a pilot? Or —
BH: I think we all were.
DK: You all were. Yeah. Yeah.
BH: I mean to be honest I mean I could send Morse because I mean I was taught it in the ATC.
DK: Right.
BH: Quite capable. I could send better than I could receive. I think that’s natural if you’re not proficient at it shall we say.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: And I didn’t want to be a wireless op. So I was straight AG.
DK: Yeah.
BH: A — it was a shorter course.
DK: Yeah.
BH: You were a sergeant at least.
DK: So was that one of the reasons you became an air gunner then because the training was a shorter period?
BH: Yeah, it was one of the reasons. Yeah.
DK: So, so what did the training as an air gunner actually involve then?
BH: Well, I was called up to what they called ACRC, that’s in London.
DK: Yeah.
BH: I reported to Lord’s Cricket Ground of all places. We got all our inoculations, vaccinations, kitted out, and then we went on to Bridlington.
DK: Right.
BH: And in Bridlington was what they called initial. ITW, I think they called it anyway. And you were taught certain things. Marching and all that sort of things. And one of the, one of the things I remember of course I couldn’t swim and they marched us down, you know. They said, ‘You’re going down to the harbour,’ you know, ‘For dinghy drill.’ Of course we went down at night and thought oh that’s not far to drop. We went back the next morning the tide had gone out [laughs] It was about a fifteen or twenty foot drop. I mean, they lined you up. You might as well jump because they’d have pushed you anyway. You’ve got Mae Wests on.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And then you had to get in a fighter dinghy. A fighter one, you know.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: And then get out of that and get in a bomber dinghy and come back.
DK: So, you didn’t —
BH: I did alright.
DK: You did alright. You never realised how deep it was until the next day though.
BH: But I was, I wasn’t shall we say afraid because I think when you are with other people, most of these were you know were joined up lads like myself.
DK: So, how old were you at this point?
BH: Eighteen.
DK: Eighteen. Yeah.
BH: When you join up like that you think to yourself, ‘Well, I’ve got to go with the flow. I can’t show myself up.’ And I think you get accustomed to that kind of relationship don’t you?
DK: Yeah.
BH: Especially as you get older and more in with the RAF. It’s a comeraderieship of being with other people isn’t it?
DK: Yeah. So what, what was your next part of the training then?
BH: Well, then I went to, I can’t remember how long we I’ve got a record.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: Of all my service history there. Went then to Bridgnorth. This was called, I think it was advanced ITW. Initial Training Wing, you know.
DK: Yeah.
BH: We did, I don’t know how long we were there but we [pause] it was quite a, quite a big camp. I think it’s still going today. I’m not sure mind you, but it’s going on for long after the war anyway but we then of course you got a lot of sport.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And of course, and I was very lucky there of course. My mother wrote to me and said, “You’ve got an aunt in Bridgenorth.” So of course the aunt wrote to me and said, “Oh, come for Sunday lunch.” Beautiful home cooking [laughs] We went to church in the morning and then we went to Sunday lunch. Oh, it was lovely. Yeah. I went several Sundays. They were, he was a big business man in Bridgenorth. He’d got a big store or something. I don’t know. But they were very very kind to me.
DK: So the food at your aunts was better than what the RAF did for you then.
BH: Well, yes. You miss your mum’s cooking don’t you? [laughs] Yes.
DK: So what, what sort of training were you doing at Bridgnorth? Did this involve weapons training?
BH: No.
DK: No.
BH: No. No. We didn’t get that training until I then moved to Morpeth.
DK: Right.
BH: Near Newcastle.
DK: Yeah.
BH: That’s what they called, that was the Air, Air Gunner’s School.
DK: Right.
BH: We had, we had rifles. That was all at Bridgnorth.
DK: Right.
BH: But that was all, you know. We did a bit of firing with rifles in the, in there but —
DK: So was Bridgenorth mostly kind of square bashing and —
BH: Yeah. And as I remember more or less teaming you up to go to the Air Gunner’s School, you know.
DK: Right.
BH: But then, because we went to the Air Gunner’s School, we were flying in Ansons, with film and drogues, you know. Which was the targets.
DK: Yeah.
BH: That was —
DK: Did, did you start your weapons training on the ground or or was it straight in to the air?
BH: We, we, you did a certain amount, you know with as I said with rifles.
DK: Right.
BH: You’d go down the range and fire and that. But the thing which sort of got me interested there more than anything was the fact is that they gave you also, I mean I couldn’t swim.
DK: Right.
BH: So they used to take me to [pause] with some others not just me to Newcastle Baths. So, so we got out of the camp that way [laughs] But I mean I could swim if I’d got a Mae West on.
DK: Yeah.
BH: As soon as they took it off I panicked like hell.
DK: Did you ever master learning to swim then?
BH: No, I never got around to it but the, the best part of there was that this, this is the kind of course in my RAF career this. Whether it’s my soft face or attitude I don’t know. There’s three air gunner’s courses going through at the same time there.
DK: Right.
BH: I don’t know how many is on a course. I can’t remember. Quite a number and yet there was some big AOC who was coming to visit the camp, out of all those people eight people were going to form a guard. I was one of them [laughs] So, we had to do guard. Had to do rifle drill. You know, present arms and all that. He never came so we never — [laughs]
DK: You can’t remember who it was supposed to have been who came.
BH: No. I can’t remember. No.
DK: No. No. So the actual, so they’ve got you in an Anson then and you’ve taken off. What, what happens while you’re all in the Anson?
BH: Well, you get, you either get primary [pause] I’ve got my logbook, it’ll say in there. It’s a bit battered about now but —
DK: Let’s have a look.
BH: I’ll go and get it.
DK: Ok.
BH: You’ll have to excuse me.
DK: Yeah. No worries.
[pause]
BH: I’m a bit slow, you see.
[recording paused]
BH: Things [pause] There’s all sorts of things in here. Number 4 AGS, Morpeth.
DK: Oh, ok.
BH: I’ll tell you what. This. Mostly air firing.
DK: Right.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Ok if I have a look?
BH: Go on. You have a —
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: There’s certain things.
DK: Ok.
BH: Other pieces I’ve kept in there.
DK: So I’ll just say this for the recording here.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So, this is your air gunner’s flying logbook.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So, we’ve got —
BH: It tells you at the front the results.
DK: Yeah. I see it’s got the —
BH: Right at the front I think.
DK: Right. Oh, I see it’s got the, so two hundred yards range.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Cine film. Rounds. So theory average and then air firing above average.
BH: Yeah.
DK: You’re a bit of a shot then.
BH: Well, I think it says —
DK: “Will make an excellent air gunner.” There you go.
BH: That’s it. That’s it. It’s, yeah because I’ll tell you what. I’ve always, I’ve always had difficulty with my English. I can tell you but I can’t put it into words very well.
DK: Find the right words. Yeah. Yeah.
BH: Now, as I say I went to school on mathematics. I mean I watch “Countdown.” I can do, well I do about eight percent of them in my head. I’m good at that.
DK: Yeah.
BH: But my English is poor.
DK: Poor. Yeah. So you went to Number 4 Air Gunner’s School.
BH: Yes.
DK: And then, so this is October, November 1943 so you’re flying on Ansons.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So were these the Ansons that had the gun turrets?
BH: Yeah.
DK: In them.
BH: Yeah.
DK: And then you took it in turns to follow them.
BH: You see, it was about four of us gunners went up at a time and we took turns you see and they registered who you were.
DK: Yeah.
BH: The pilot flew and there was a big bay there. I remember that’s a beautiful bay. Golden sands there was. Of course, it was cold but because we didn’t have flying gear then.
DK: Oh right.
BH: I mean we weren’t issued with it, you know until we went to OTU.
DK: Right. So it was a bit cold up there then was it?
BH: Yeah. It was.
DK: So four of you have gone up and there’s presumably with you is the pilot.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Is there any other crew there? Or —
BH: Instructor.
DK: Instructor. So the four of you take it in turns to —
BH: Yeah. And he would tell you what to do. Go in, because you would climb into the turret because it was inside you see.
DK: And can you remember what sort of machine guns they had?
BH: Yeah. 303.
DK: Right.
BH: Browning 303. They were all, they were pretty standard I think.
DK: Yeah. So, a lot of the, I’m just reading from the logbook here. So there’s beam tracer. Air to ground as well.
BH: Yeah. Yeah.
DK: And a lot of cine gun as well.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So, did you fire on drogues as well?
BH: Yeah.
DK: And that —
BH: That’s, yeah that’s on the live ammunition and of course they had a cine gun, because that’s what you were assessed on because they’d got a copy of it.
DK: Right.
BH: They could, they could assess it all.
DK: Yeah. So you’ve passed this then and then you’ve gone to 26 OTU.
BH: Yeah.
DK: At Wing.
BH: Wing.
DK: So, what kind of aircraft were you flying?
BH: Wellington.
DK: Wellingtons. What did you think of the Wellington?
BH: Well, we went to, of course we went to Wing. Then we went to the satellite. Little Horwood. The trouble with OTU is, as I found it anyway was the fact is that the aircraft was being flown night and day.
DK: Right.
BH: And the one episode I remember is that we’d gone on a night trip and it was a pitch black night. Well, of course it was winter time and this is a brand new aircraft which is unusual. And as we took off we’d just get airborne and one of the engines cut dead. Now, as I understand in theory that wasn’t supposed to be kept airborne, especially from take-off.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And I heard a voice calling, ‘Mayday. Mayday. Mayday.’ I thought someone’s in trouble. Of course, I was in the turret down the end.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And I thought to myself I could see the drem lighting of the aircraft that were you know around the airfield, and I thought well that’s not very, that’s pretty close. I suddenly realised it was us that was in trouble [laughs] But the skipper somehow with the bomb aimer they, I don’t know how he did it, because as I understand it especially I mean you could fly on one engine but take-off you were at your lower speed.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: But he got it around and he daren’t put the wheels down or the flaps. He put, he put it down on its belly. Then we scrambled out.
DK: So, you were still in the turret then when it hit the ground.
BH: Yeah, I could, yeah but I moved it around, opened the door.
DK: Right.
BH: So when it landed I could just —
DK: Get straight out.
BH: Jump out the back. Yeah.
DK: So, had, had you actually met your future crew at this point?
BH: Oh yes. I was with the crew then.
DK: Right.
BH: They, it was rather peculiar because I would think most people could tell you were just left to your own devices to crew up. I mean, I was walking down the road and this pilot approached me. He said, ‘Are you crewed up yet?’ You see. I didn’t even know him. So I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Would you like to be my gunner?’ So I said, ‘Well, yes.’ I felt honoured to be honest about it, you know. And then we got, I was obviously the youngest.
DK: Right.
BH: The wireless op, Jim was the oldest. He was —
DK: Just going back to your pilot. Can you remember your pilot’s name?
BH: Oh yes. Michael John Warner.
DK: Michael John Warner.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Right. Ok.
BH: The wireless op as I said he was, he was, he was getting on. He was thirty something. And he, you know, said after we because he said to me you know he said, ‘If we don’t like this pilot you know we can change.’ So I said, ‘Oh, can we?’ Because I mean he’d been in the air, he was a, he’d been in a while I think. He was a flight sergeant then.
DK: Oh.
BH: Anyway, I said, ‘Oh, can we?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, anyway, after the crash he came up to me because he’d become my dad sort of thing. He said, ‘He’ll do.’ Because, you know, he came when we were stationed on the squadron which was at Waterbeach. That weren’t too far from Norwich, you see. Get on the train direct into Norwich you see. So we often went. He promised to look after me to my mum.
DK: So your pilot then, Sergeant Warner.
BH: Yeah.
DK: After that accident in the Wellington do you think you sort of gained confidence with him?
BH: We, well we all, we all in, because Wing that that was a wartime aerodrome, you know. Scattered billets all over the place and we were all in one billet.
DK: Yeah.
BH: You soon get to know one another when you’re together. But we all gelled together you know. We all got on very well. Then of course later on you’re joined by the other gunner.
DK: Right.
BH: And the flight engineer.
DK: Can you, can you recall their names?
BH: Yes.
DK: What were their names?
BH: Well, I’ve got it —
DK: Are they all in here? Ok.
BH: I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I think this might be of interest in the conversation. I should have brought it through then. I’m afraid that my —
[recording paused]
BH: I only had it the other day, showing somebody.
DK: Yeah.
BH: I must have put it somewhere I can’t remember. Yeah. The pilot was, well yes Michael John Warner.
DK: Yeah.
BH: The bomb aimer was Cyril Holmes. I’ll leave the flight engineer ‘til last for a reason. The wireless op was Jimmy Foyle. The rear gunner was Don because we changed over. I’ll tell you about that. Don Shepherd.
DK: Right.
BH: I’m the only survivor now. That I know of. While I remember on this because we all had to have a second job in case of emergencies.
DK: Right.
BH: And nobody could send Morse or receive Morse to any kind of standard. Only me. So the skipper said, ‘Look Bert, you’re no good down the bottom if anything happens to the wireless op,’ you know. ‘So will you swap with the mid-under? You’re a lot nearer.’ You see. So we swapped over —
DK: Right.
BH: But that was when we were at —
DK: On the squadron.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And the flight engineer we had one and we ran into a bit of trouble over Gelsenkirchen and he, he didn’t make it sort of thing back.
DK: Ok.
BH: We come back with practically no airworthy instruments and we had to land at an emergency drome down near Ipswich [pause] Damn it. I —
DK: We can come back to that.
BH: Yeah.
DK: But —
BH: But we had one. I’ve forgot his full name now. Then we had a second one. It was Tommy Buchanan.
DK: Right.
BH: He finished. He did the rest of the tour. He did about another —
DK: Yeah.
BH: Twenty five ops.
DK: Right.
BH: With us. So that’s the one I remember more than anything.
DK: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve just noticed in your, your logbook here you talked about that crash while you were training in the Wellington.
BH: Yeah.
DK: And it’s, it’s got it down here. Just for the recording here it’s, it’s got a date.
BH: Yeah.
DK: I think this must have been it. The 19th of March 1944. And it’s in Wellington 244.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Sergeant Warner and it’s for, you’ve put in brackets there, “Crashed on take-off.”
BH: Yeah, that’s it.
DK: So, that would have been it, would it?
BH: Yeah. Yeah.
DK: So, it’s recorded as fifteen minutes flying time. See this.
BH: I was sat in the back there like [laughs] just didn’t realise until suddenly there was this drem lighting this close.
DK: So just as I say just for the recording then.
BH: Yeah.
DK: As I say that was the 19th of March 1944.
BH: Yeah.
DK: That was a Wellington. And was that at Wing?
BH: Yeah.
DK: That you crashed.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So that’s all 26 OTU.
BH: Yeah.
DK: And then, so looking at the logbook here you’ve done twenty six hours forty minutes day flying, and twenty seven hours fifty five night flying.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So then during the time at the OTU you didn’t do any operational sorties at all did you?
BH: Oh, well you’d hardly call it that. We were doing, I forget what they called them now. We went sort of somewhere near the Belgian coast, I think.
DK: Oh, was this a diversionary raid?
BH: Yeah.
DK: Right.
BH: But you know we, it was all taken over on the short trip when that was back sort of thing. I think it was mainly to do with the radar perhaps or something. I don’t know.
DK: I think that’s on the logbook here that you’ve got diversionary raid.
BH: Yeah.
DK: On the 15th of March 1944. Wellington 242.
BH: Yeah.
DK: I suspect that’s it there then.
BH: Yeah. That’s what it was.
DK: So, no actual bombing raids.
BH: No.
DK: While you were on the OTU. So, and then after that I’ve got you as going to 1678 Heavy Conversion Unit.
BH: Yeah, that was at Waterbeach.
DK: Waterbeach.
BH: Yeah.
DK: And there you’re, by this time you were the mid-upper gunner then.
BH: Yes. Yes. Mid-upper.
DK: So at Wing was Wellingtons.
BH: Yeah.
DK: And then Waterbeach.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Lancasters.
BH: Conversion Unit, yeah.
DK: Yeah, and you were converting to the Lancaster.
BH: Yeah. That’s the Mark 2.
DK: Ah. Right. So, it was the Mark 2.
BH: Yeah.
DK: With the Hercules engine.
BH: That’s what I was trying to find. I don’t know where I’ve got it. I had it the other day.
DK: It’s not in here is it?
BH: No.
DK: Is there a photo of it?
BH: No. It’s, it’s a paperback. It’s, it’s, it was the actual aircraft we did seventeen ops in was in, there used to be a magazine called “Flight.”
DK: Oh right. Ok.
BH: It was in there and we managed to get and then it’s come out in a book and I don’t know what I’ve done with it now.
DK: Oh, that’s a shame. Perhaps we can find it a bit later.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So it’s at 1678 Heavy Conversion Unit then.
BH: Yeah.
DK: That, that’s when you’ve met your first flight engineer presumably.
BH: That’s right, yes.
DK: Yeah. And the second gunner.
BH: No. He came he came, he came to us in —
DK: At the OTU.
BH: OTU. The end part of the OTU.
DK: Right. The end part. So, you’re now mid-upper gunner.
BH: Yeah.
DK: What did you think of the, comparing the two mid-upper gunner to the rear gunner was?
BH: It was [laughs] to be honest I didn’t think much of the mid-upper really because you saw too much. You were wide open you see.
DK: Yeah.
BH: You see, at the back you see where you’ve been. At, up there you could see all the way around.
DK: All the way around.
BH: No. I mean you adjusted yourself to the requirements. Skipper’s the skipper. Of course, then he was made an officer.
DK: I see. He is now Pilot Officer.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Warner, isn’t he?
BH: Yeah. Made him the pilot.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And of course the point before I forget when we were moved to, to Waterbeach, because he was an officer he couldn’t come in the sergeant’s mess. So we billeted ourselves voluntary in, because it was a peacetime built camp into barrack room so he could come over and be with us you see.
DK: Yeah. Do you think that put you as a crew to a bit of a disadvantage where the pilot’s an officer and you’re not? Did you think that affected you? How you worked together?
BH: Not me personally because I had all the rest of the crew around me, but he was on his own.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Nobody else was an officer in the crew, you see.
DK: Do you think that’s not necessarily a good idea then? Or —
BH: Well, it —
DK: Did it affect people?
BH: I mean obviously he was a very quiet person, you know. He was not one, I didn’t think to make quick relationships you know.
DK: Yeah.
BH: He was sort of laid back, and I used to feel to myself you know you’d gone into a strange world where before we went to the sergeant’s mess all together and now you’re going on your own. Me, I got all the, all the rest of the crew around me. I was alright. Yeah.
DK: So you’re on the Lancasters Mark 2s with the Hercules engines.
BH: Yeah.
DK: What did you think of those as a, as an aircraft to fly on?
BH: Oh wonderful. The thing I make about them they were so quiet. You know the, the only trouble was when we got on to the squadron they were about eighteen thousand feet maximum.
DK: Right.
BH: So you got the Lancs above you, the Mark 1s and 3s you know, missing the bombs.
DK: So, so the Lancaster Mark 2 couldn’t fly as high as the —
BH: No, about eighteen thousand was the maximum.
DK: Right.
BH: Around about that.
DK: Well, do you know if they were any faster? Or —
BH: Near the ground.
DK: Near the ground. Right.
BH: Yeah.
DK: But they, you don’t think they were as noisy inside.
BH: No.
DK: As the other ones.
BH: No. The Mark 3 we went on they were American Packard Rolls Royces. God they were noisy, you know. God. I mean they were, they were built under licence.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Because I think the fact is that the Americans turned out the Mustang. I mean the Rolls Royce they put in them made them it a long range fighter for their bombers.
DK: Right.
BH: You see they put a Rolls Royce in. It was a different aircraft then. They could do the distance.
DK: I’m just reading from your logbook here for the recording.
BH: Yeah.
DK: It says here you were on at, at Waterbeach you were on the Lancaster 2s.
BH: Yeah.
DK: This had all been training. Air to air bombing training.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Whatever. So you were on Lancaster. I’ll just read this out 619, 622, 617, 787, 624, 617 again.
BH: Yeah.
DK: 619, 787.
BH: Yeah.
DK: 624, 617. So, that’s from through from May ’44, well, all of May ’44.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So you were on a number of different Lancaster 2s then.
BH: Yeah.
DK: On various training at Waterbeach. So that carries on to May ’44. Lancaster 2 again. LL 620. Well, 620 three times. And then I notice here 30th of May 1944 you’ve done an operation to Boulogne.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So would that have been your first operation then?
BH: I believe so, yeah.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Yeah. Yeah.
DK: So, I’m just —
BH: The wing commander came with us. You know, the station, well the squadron commander.
DK: I’m just, I’m just jumping ahead of myself there. I’ll read this again. So, on the 30th of May ’44 you’ve left 1678 Heavy Conversion Unit.
BH: Yeah.
DK: And gone to 514 Squadron.
BH: Yeah.
DK: They were both based at Waterbeach then.
BH: Yes.
DK: Oh right. I’m with you. So, 30th of May ’44 fighter affiliation Lancaster LL 620. Then you’ve taken LL 620 on the first operation to Boulogne.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So, 30th of May ’44. Your first operation to Boulogne. What was that like? Because the first time over enemy territory.
BH: How I felt? [pause] Of course the first thing you know you’re going on ops is that the Battle Order goes up in the mess. Both messes. Officers and sergeants. And if your skipper’s name is on it you’re on that night.
DK: Right.
BH: And when that, from that start to the finish you, you get a bit of a grip in your tummy and you go out and you do your DI on your turret. Make sure everything is all right. You get a little idea where you’re going, the distance by what’s in the tanks, you know. If they’re quite full you know you’re on a seven to nine hour trip at least. So, it’s a bit of apprehension.
DK: Yeah.
BH: You’re, I mean I’ll be honest with you if anybody says they weren’t frightened I’m sorry I’d call them a liar. But you’re so controlled. You have to be. Once you get in the aircraft it’s different. It goes.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Because you’ve got a job to do.
DK: And, and what exactly was your role? Your job as an air gunner. You’re, you’re there and as you say you’ve got this panoramic view all around you.
BH: Yeah.
DK: What was your job?
BH: The job of both of us don’t forget that.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Is, the fact is we are the eyes of the aircraft. We’re looking for fighters. We’re looking for other Lancasters because you fly, you fly in a stream you see. And your main job if you see anything is quickly report it, you know. I mean we talk between the gunners.
DK: Yeah.
BH: I see something, you see and I say, ‘I’ll keep an eye on that,’ you know, if you, what, because that could be a decoy you see. But I mean you, we were lucky. We got not too much trouble with fighters, you know.
DK: No.
BH: We saw them in time so we, we didn’t have many problems like that, but we got one or two holes from ack ack.
DK: So you, you can’t recall you were ever attacked by fighters.
BH: No. No.
DK: Yeah.
BH: We, we sussed them out you know. We, and by that, I mean by that stage we had an aircraft tracking device. Radar which the wireless operator operated so we could tell if any fighters were in the vicinities and we veered away from them.
DK: Right. Ok.
BH: Yeah. But that has to be, in those days it was Gee radar for navigation and then of course when we went on the Mark 3 they had the old what did you call it?
DK: H2S.
BH: Yeah, H2S. That’s right.
DK: Yeah. Yeah. So, I notice here your first operation then 30th of May 1944 to Boulogne that you’ve got your pilot, Pilot Officer Warner.
BH: Yeah.
DK: It also says you’ve got Wing Commander Wyatt DFC on board.
BH: That’s the, he was the squadron commander.
DK: Right. So you’re very first op you had the squadron commander on board.
BH: Yeah. Yeah.
DK: Did that make you feel a bit nervy?
BH: Well, it’s, you know, he sort of, see the skipper always went on one trip before you.
DK: Right. Ok.
BH: He went. What did they call it? Sit in the second dickie sort of thing to get experience. So he’d already done one.
DK: So, Warner’s done one operation already.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Yeah.
BH: So, anyway went out and of course the wingco is sort of saying, you know to us, ‘Right gunners. Keep your eyes open.’ And all that, you see and Mick was saying nothing [laughs]
DK: So Wyatt was there really to keep, to see how you were performing. Was that the idea then?
BH: I think also to see what reaction he got from us.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Also to see and keep in touch with the situation with flying you know, on ops. I don’t know whether he was, had to do anything like that. I mean the flight commanders did.
DK: Yeah.
BH: They had to do, you know so many.
DK: So, so looking at your first operations then through May 1944 most of them seem to be the pre D-Day.
BH: Yes. Yes.
DK: Landing operations.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So they were sort of in to France mostly.
BH: That’s right. Yeah.
DK: Yeah. So, there’s a couple into France and then you’ve got one here. 12th of June 1944 Lancaster 2 again. 826. Lancaster 2, Serial 826 and its to Gelsenkirchen.
BH: Yes. The one, yeah where we had to land.
DK: It says here you landed at Woodbridge. So —
BH: That’s the name of the place. Yeah
DK: Yeah. So —
BH: That’s an emergency ‘drome.
DK: Right.
BH: There was, there was three of them about the country. There was one up in York. I think it’s called Coleby. Something like that.
DK: And Manston’s the other one isn’t it? Yeah. Yeah.
BH: Manston in Kent. Yeah.
DK: So what exactly happened on the Gelsenkirchen raid then?
BH: Well, we caught up with a bit of trouble you know with anti-aircraft fire.
DK: Right.
BH: And we lost the, lost the, you know, the instruments and the point was the flight engineer was, how shall I put it? Skipper lost complete confidence in him.
DK: Really.
BH: I know it’s a fright but he, anyway he went back and he said he needs retraining or something you see, you know. I think he spared him. He panicked. But it’s one thing you don’t do in the air, panic.
DK: Yeah. Had the aircraft been badly hit then? Or —
BH: No. Not too bad. It caught, it caught the sort of the front of the aircraft and I don’t know what happened to be honest about it.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And when you go over there you get waves and you go up and down with the, with the anti-aircraft fire because over, over certain cities it’s, it’s immense.
DK: Yeah.
BH: I mean in France its reasonable, you know.
DK: So, you’ve then made an emergency landing at Woodbridge.
BH: Yeah. Yeah.
DK: Because the aircraft was damaged.
BH: Well, there was no instruments.
DK: Right. Ok.
BH: Well, I say no instruments he’d got no flying speed. That had gone. So he didn’t know what speed he was landing at. He could land it, you know. He’d got full control of the undercarriage and the flaps. There was no problem there. It was just, you know as I said trying to. I forget. I know he’d got no airspeed indicator.
DK: Right.
BH: So what happened I don’t know really because you were just glad to get back.
DK: Yeah. So you landed at Woodbridge.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Because that’s the emergency landing ground.
BH: Yeah.
DK: With the really big runway.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Yeah. And it was after that point you got the new flight engineer then.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Because he reported back and he said he thought he needed retraining. Left it at that. And the other chap we got, the new one, Tommy Buchanan was a different person altogether.
DK: And if I could just take you back a couple of days.
BH: Yeah.
DK: I know, I know the Gelsenkirchen raid was on the 12th of June.
BH: Yeah.
DK: You actually flew on D-Day itself.
BH: Yeah.
DK: The 6th of June. Do you remember much about the D-Day operation?
BH: That that was D-Day night.
DK: Right.
BH: We were, we were on to go on D-Day and it was cancelled. Nobody was allowed out the camp. The door was guards because of secrecy, you see. And we knew. We knew what was on. Somebody yelled, ‘You’re not going anywhere. Nobody.’ There was double guards on the gates and that. Of course, they had to be. Thousands of lives at risk weren’t they?
DK: So, you were aware that was D-Day.
BH: Oh yeah. We knew.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: And what you’ve got there is D-Day night.
DK: Right.
BH: We went.
DK: So, D-Day night it was operations to, for the recording I’ll spell this out L I S I E U X.
BH: I’ve no idea what that was.
DK: No. That’s, that’s that being France it’s, it mentions Channel guns.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So you were hitting the gun emplacements.
BH: Yes. Yeah.
DK: And do you remember could you see much of the invasion itself as you flew over there?
BH: No, no. I mean all we saw was, all I saw was because you don’t look for that. You’re looking all the time for your own protection you see. But I did see a parachute. So somebody baled out.
DK: Right.
BH: I don’t know who it was but if one parachute means it could have been a fighter and that means it could have been a German fighter. But one parachute. You never can tell can you? Someone may have jumped.
DK: So on D-Day you were on a Lancaster again, 816. Just for the recording here the Gelsenkirchen emergency landing at Woodbridge was Lancaster 2, Mark 2, 826.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So let’s go through here then. It’s France again isn’t it because you went to Le Havre.
BH: Yeah.
DK: On the 14th of June.
[telephone ringing]
BH: Oh, excuse me.
DK: Yeah. No worries.
[recording paused]
DK: So, so through June 1944 I notice there’s, there’s one in green here. So, was one a daylight operation?
BH: Daylight. Yeah. Daylight.
DK: And that was to —
BH: That was peculiar. To go down you could see all these lakes, you know. Because the skipper was a good, he was a good [pause] He, he was trained in America so what’s the word? You’ll have to excuse me. Words fail me sometimes. Formation flying. He was good at that.
DK: Oh right. Ok.
BH: Yeah. He was good at that.
DK: So this operation it’s 21st of June 1944 to Abbeville.
BH: Yeah.
DK: And that was in daylight.
BH: Yes.
DK: And you’ve gone over in formation then.
BH: Well, straggling.
DK: Straggling.
BH: It wasn’t as good as the Americans by no way there [laughs]
DK: So you would have seen Lancasters.
BH: All around. Yes. Yes.
DK: All around you. Yeah. And how did that make you feel? Was it quite an impressive sight then, or —
BH: Yeah, because I mean you could go at night and never see them. You could feel them. You could feel the turbulence if you were near one but it’s, it’s the sight because you see we saw one aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft and he turned around and come back. We’d got fighter escort you see but they were way above and all of a sudden we saw these Spitfires come down and go alongside him. One kept alongside him. The others kept above him and behind. He got his, one engine was on fire, so whether, you know he turned around. He went against the bomber stream
DK: Yeah.
BH: On the outside, you know. So I don’t know whether he made it all.
DK: Yeah.
BH: But I mean I should think so.
DK: But the Spitfires escorted him back did they?
BH: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
DK: So you did a number of daylight operations then.
BH: Yeah. Yeah.
DK: And then mostly over France again and then I noticed, so 20th of July you’re back over Germany. Homberg.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So, what, what was it like flying back over German cities again?
BH: Different. It’s, it’s a different feeling altogether because you’re in the pitch dark again, you know and you search, search, search. In daylight you could see everything. I mean you could get [pause] and not only that you have to make sure you’ve changed your ammunition because in daylight you’ve got daylight tracer bullets.
DK: Yeah.
BH: They’re bright obviously and at nights they’re not quite so bright. If you’ve got daylight in they frighten to death. Be like the Blackpool Illuminations. You have to check you know every time you go. You have to check your aircraft to see that they’ve changed it because you know in the hustle and bustle of a bomber station at the time it’s all go sort of thing.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Day in and day out.
DK: So just talking about a normal operation then how, you’ve got the call in the morning and your pilot’s name’s up on the list.
BH: Yeah.
DK: What happened then? Was there briefings and —
BH: Well, as I said we go, it’s in the morning you, you, I mean we went to briefing probably, I don’t know what time but you know at that time of year you didn’t take off probably ‘til about 9 o’clock, 8 o’clock. Something like that. I can’t remember now. It’ll tell you in there anyway.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: And of course you go to briefing and you know you go in and of coruse there’s a guard outside the doors and you look at, you look at where the ribbon ends [laughs] That tells you. Full stop. Yeah. I mean, you got a little idea as I said the distance.
DK: So briefings then. Would they have all of the crews in there?
BH: Oh yes.
DK: And all of the —
BH: But the pilots and the bomb aimers, was it? And the navigators. Oh, the navigators. They had a special briefing before us.
DK: Right.
BH: Then we got a general briefing. I mean they get all the gen for navigating for that but we went in a general, you know. Just sit and you’re informed of your targets which you could see anyway. You’re informed why you’re going. You’re informed of all the, various people get up and tell you, you know. ‘Be careful around here. Don’t stray off course because there’s a battery of anti-aircraft there.’ And all that. ‘Fighters. Keep your eyes open because you know when they’re about,’ sort of thing. We knew that but there was general information and then of course you know you stood up when the CO come in and you sat down again. But it was about, and then there was the weather.
DK: Yeah.
BH: You get to talk about the weather and you sit there and listen to try and digest everything for your own benefit, you know.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So after the briefing then.
BH: We had a meal.
DK: You had a meal.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Yeah. Do you remember what you used to eat?
BH: Yes. Bacon and egg. I remember one trip. That was a daylight. I forget where it was now. It kept getting cancelled. We had about ten meals that day [laughs] Never felt so good. We ran out of eggs. Yeah. Mind you, I must say this. I have heard some lads where they’ve been on the camp and it’s not been, it’s been alright. We were exceptionally looked after well there. Exceptionally.
DK: And this was at Waterbeach.
BH: We had, we had fruit on the table. Mind you there was orchards all around.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Around that area. We had milk. Jugs of milk.
DK: Yeah.
BH: We were well looked after. Yes.
DK: So you’ve had the briefing and then you’ve had the meal.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Do you then go out to the aircraft or are you —
BH: Well, you decide then, you know. It depends.
DK: Right.
BH: Sometimes you have a little time. Or you, you then get in the aircraft or you get in the transport and they take you. And of course you sit in the aircraft waiting. Well, it depends sometimes. And then of course you take your turn to take off. Now, this is where the Mark 2 easy. Mark 3 we seemed to struggle nearly all over bloody Cambridgeshire to get up any heights.
DK: Really?
BH: But then there was always people standing by the, you know the observing what do you call it.
DK: By the runway.
BH: Yeah. You know. Waving you off.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Yeah. So that would be off the ground staff then were waving you off then were they?
BH: Well, there was WAAFs. There’s all sorts. They had boyfriends and things like that, you know and then people in general used to.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Yeah. Yeah.
DK: Did that, did that fill you with a bit of confidence that there was people waving you off?
BH: Well, I thought if they’d take the trouble.
DK: Yeah.
BH: You know. To do that, I mean. It was, there was no skin off their nose to be there. They came by voluntary terms.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Many had various reasons but it was nice to see it. Let’s put it that way. Yeah.
DK: So you found the Mark 2 Lancaster with a, presumably with a full bomb load of fuel.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Easier to get in the air than —
BH: Yes. Definitely.
DK: Than the Mark 1s and 3s.
BH: And then, of course the higher you got the Mark 3 took over.
DK: Right.
BH: You see as you got higher in the Mark 2 it got more difficult to get up there but of course you could get, you got up to about twenty two, twenty three thousand in the Mark 3. Twenty one easy.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Depend what bomb load you’d got, you know.
DK: Yeah. So just going through your logbook again then.
BH: Yeah.
DK: You did 23rd of July ‘44 to Kiel.
BH: Yeah.
DK: The Naval yards.
BH: That’s right. Yeah.
DK: Do you remember much about that?
BH: It was one, one of the first. We’d been twice actually but one of the most, I don’t know why but when we got there the ground was lit up as though it was daylight. I’d never known that before. I mean before you got over a target you got the target indicator. The master bomber would tell you what to bomb. You know, the colour of the TI. You know, the target indicator.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And again. Over there you got target indicators and just I could you know, I mean I could see streets below all lit up like daylight. I think, you know afterwards, after the First World War I think there was trouble there.
DK: Yeah.
BH: During the war. They thought they could perhaps you know arrange the same thing again. That’s why we went but it’s uncanny because you know it suddenly become more sort of like a daylight over the target which is, of course you’ve all the ack ack flying about.
DK: Yeah. So was it the lights of the city were on then?
BH: No. No.
DK: Or just —
BH: The Pathfinders had illuminated them.
DK: Oh, I see. Oh right. I see. So that was the Pathfinder flares.
BH: Yeah. Yeah.
DK: Target indicators.
BH: Well, there was target flares on the ground.
DK: Yeah.
BH: I mean it was just like daylight.
DK: Right.
BH: I only can assume, you know that was the reason that they went to that target and what they did to the target. I’ve got no other ideas.
DK: And then I notice 25th of July, and 28th of July you went to Stuttgart twice.
BH: Yeah. That, I had in there the first one I think, I think it’s in there. This is it. Found this at the, they found this for me. This is my pal in Norwich.
DK: Ah.
BH: He, they’ve got to find some more for me.
DK: Yeah.
BH: But I couldn’t give enough information. He was at ATC with me.
DK: Oh, right. Ok.
BH: He was at Mildenhall and he went on that first op.
DK: To Stuttgart.
BH: That was his first op and he never came back.
DK: Can I have a —?
BH: Yeah. That was my pal Richard.
DK: So, for the recording then this is Richard Duffield.
BH: Yeah.
DK: D U F F I E L D. Richard Duffield and this is the IBCC Losses Database.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So Richard Arthur Duffield, nineteen. Died, yeah 25th of July 1944.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So that was the operation to Stuttgart.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So you were both on the same operation.
BH: Yeah. I didn’t know that obviously.
DK: Right.
BH: I mean I didn’t, you see at Mildenhall there was two squadrons so I wasn’t sure which one it was.
DK: Yeah.
BH: But they kindly found this out for me.
DK: So Richard Duffield then was on Lancaster LN 477.
BH: Yeah.
DK: And he —
BH: Buried at, buried in France.
DK: So he was with 622 Squadron at Mildenhall.
BH: Yeah.
DK: And reason for loss? Crashed in the outskirts of Nancy, France.
BH: Yeah. We went to ATC. Well, he used to call for me to go to ATC on his bike.
DK: So did you only find this out quite recently then?
BH: I knew he was at Mildenhall. That’s all I knew.
DK: Yeah.
BH: I knew. I knew, I knew George had got, because my mother wrote and told me. It’s very helpful when you’re on a squadron when one of your best pals has gone missing and I found out. I phoned up on the telephone because there was an Association, you know but they didn’t, he said there was two aircraft from Mildenhall missed that night and they said there was one survivor. Now, I think there was one survivor there if you count up. There was six graves.
DK: Right.
BH: There was seven in a crew. So I presumed it was from Richard’s aircraft.
DK: Yeah.
BH: As there was a survivor.
DK: Oh yes. Yeah. It was, fellow servicemen. One, two, three, four, five. Yeah. There’s five there so one of them would have survived wouldn’t they?
BH: Yeah. I assumed that anyway. I said they’ve got some others which they can’t find. It’s difficult. Perhaps I can, I you know, they can have another go for me.
DK: Yeah.
BH: There’s a George Chapman. He’s a navigator. George. They all, I ought to have told them this, they were all from Norwich. That would have helped wouldn’t it? But I can’t find, he was, he went missing before me.
DK: And he was in Bomber Command as well was we?
BH: Yes. Yes.
DK: Yeah. If you give me the names I’ll see if I can find them as well.
BH: Well, there’s one name. I mean George was not too far. He wasn’t a particular friend. I just knew him.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Richard was a friend.
DK: Yeah.
BH: But I used to come with him. I used to come home on leave and this is the sad part, and I used to have to pass George’s house and his mother used to be, ‘Hello Bert. How are you?’ And she used to look at me and I used to feel guilty about being alive.
DK: Yeah.
BH: It’s a horrible feeling, but she was a lovely lady you know.
DK: Yeah.
BH: I suppose she looked at me and you know, ‘My son has gone.’ Yeah.
DK: If you give me his name later on I’ll see if I can find him.
BH: Well, the only other information I’ve got as I said he’s from, I’ve got his, I’ve got the road he lived on. Of course I can’t remember the number.
DK: Yeah.
BH: But there’s another one too. I’m not quite sure the name. Later I thought he was a policeman’s son further down the road. I didn’t know him well but I knew of him. He was Jimmy [unclear] I think that’s his name. And I’m pretty sure he was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.
DK: Oh right.
BH: He was a wireless operator and he lived at Wall Road. Somewhere up Wall Road in Norwich.
DK: Right. And he was killed as well then.
BH: Oh yes. This was about, I would think about 1942.
DK: Right. I’ll make a note of the names later and —
BH: That name I’m not too sure. It began with a W, I know.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Wombon or something like that.
DK: Right. Ok. Well, if he’s got the CGM.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Well, there’s [unclear]
BH: I’m sure he did afterwards I remember. Yeah.
DK: Yeah. Ok. Well, I’ll try and look into that for you.
BH: Thank you very much. They’re just people. Comrades in arms sort of thing that, you know you, there was —
DK: What was the name of the Spitfire pilot from Norwich?
BH: Jim.
DK: Sorry.
BH: Tim Colman.
DK: Tim Colman.
BH: Yeah.
DK: And he survived the war did he?
BH: No.
DK: Oh, right. Ok.
BH: No. And there was only one other person. You know, I’ve mentioned these names —
DK: Yeah.
BH: Who survived the war with me. There’s six of us, I believe. Another bomb aimer named George Jarmy and he, he survived it, but he had trouble with his marriage and he drove straight at a tree and killed himself.
DK: Oh dear.
BH: His mind you see. The mind’s a funny thing, isn’t it? Yeah.
DK: Definitely.
BH: I’m the only survivor. So I think there was six.
DK: So, six of you from Norwich.
BH: Yeah. Out of that parish.
DK: From that parish in Norwich.
BH: Well, it’s a big parish.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: In fact, Sprowston now is a town so you know how big it was.
DK: Yeah. Ok. So I’ll see if I can find anything on those two.
BH: Thank you very much. I don’t think there’s any more information I can give you.
DK: Yeah.
BH: I thought the address would be helpful.
DK: Yeah. I’ll see what I can do because they should be in the IBCC’s Losses Database there somewhere.
BH: Yeah.
DK: It’s just a question of getting enough information to find it.
BH: That’s right. To find them. Yeah.
DK: Yeah. You’ve obviously got one here.
BH: I’ve got that thank you very much.
DK: No problem.
BH: I’ve said he’s, that’s the most important one.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Because as I said Richard was, he was a nice lad too. Quiet. Not like me [laughs]
DK: So your, your operations have gone into the end of 1944 and it looks like you’re, you’ve now converted to the Lancaster 3.
BH: Yeah.
DK: With the Packard Merlin engines.
BH: Yes.
DK: So you’ve done three daylight operations then in September ’44.
BH: Yeah.
DK: In fact, it looks like you’ve gone to Le Havre twice on one day. So, Eindhoven.
BH: Yeah.
DK: 3rd of September. 6th of September, Le Havre and then the 6th of September, again Le Havre. So, would you have gone twice in one day?
BH: No. I’ve got the dates wrong there or something.
[pause]
BH: Have you got that squad? Oh, it’s —
DK: It’s my, my mistake. It’s the 3rd of September is Eindhoven.
BH: Yeah.
DK: The 5th of September Le Havre.
BH: Yeah. Yeah.
DK: And then the 6th of September Le Havre again.
BH: We went to Stettin. That was one. You got that?
DK: Stettin [pause] Oh, here we go. Yeah. That’s the 29th of August.
BH: Yeah. That was a fateful trip for me.
DK: Why was that?
BH: It’s a bit delicate this, I’ve got to be careful how I put this. I was sort of, if you put it taken ill the day before, and we were down to go on ops. I went, went sick. I had dysentery.
DK: Oh.
BH: And he gave me some tablets. He said, ‘See me at briefing. I’ll give you some tablets.’ Well, they were useless and I stuck. And I mean I said that I was going to, you know where you have to go about twenty odd times a day you know, and there was, I never eat much. And I mean to be honest I shouldn’t have gone on that trip.
DK: No.
BH: Because I was a liability to the crew and when you come back I stuck it for six hours and I said to the skipper we were coming back over the coast I said, ‘Can I go to the elsan at the back?’ And I just moved one muscle because I sat with my legs crossed.
DK: Yeah.
BH: I was in a [pause] I landed in the mess.
DK: Oh dear.
BH: And Jimmy, Jimmy my wireless operator, you know he came up and he put his arm round me and got me out my turret, ‘Never mind, Bert,’ he said, ‘You stuck to your post in more ways than one.’ [laughs] And I went, I went back and cleaned myself up. I, I mean the navigator said, ‘You should never have gone.’
DK: No.
BH: He said —
DK: So that was the 29th of August 1944.
BH: Yeah.
DK: You were in Lancaster Mark 3, 687.
BH: Nine hours. We cut the corners.
DK: I was just about to say it was nine hours not six. Nine hours to —
BH: Yeah.
DK: Operations to Stettin.
BH: Yeah. Well, six hours I stuck at my turret.
DK: Oh right. I’m with you. Right.
BH: And we cut the corners too.
DK: Right.
BH: Coming back, to get back.
DK: Get back. Right. So and it says here Stettin operation was the dock installations in support of the Russian offensive.
BH: That’s right. Yeah.
DK: So it’s in support of the Russians.
BH: Well, they requested it didn’t they?
DK: So you’re last operation then is as I say the 6th of September 1944.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Le Havre. So you did thirty altogether.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So, what, what was it, we talked about going off on the mission and then a bit about the missions themselves. What was it like when you came back and landed?
BH: Well, of course you get, it all depends. If it was a long trip you were, I mean I used to smoke then and those cigarettes were a Godsend. I mean, I mean I’ve often come back with my eyes bloodshot. Search. Search. Search. Search. And it’s pitch dark, you know. And when you get back of course you were all trooping all out together. Someone cracks a little joke or something. Some have a laugh. I mean, you were just whacked out after a long trip you know and you go for briefing and of course the first time we went they give you a pint of tea, and they have this little cask of rum. It’s naval rum, you know. Like treacle.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: And I, and that of course, of course Jimmy who knew these WAAFs and instead of putting one tot in I went to bed pickled and I hate rum. That spoiled a good cup of tea. But then, then of course you go for a meal.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And then you go to bed. Sometimes, I said, but this Mark 3 I laid there because there was still the drumming in your, and I mean our navigator what, you know although we didn’t do many ops on that he went deaf. He had a hearing aid later on because he was right beside the air, you know.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: But I mean the drumming in your ear, you know and you lay there and you think oh God. Eventually you go off and that’s it. Peace.
DK: So was it, as you were landing then is it a bit of a relief that you’re, you’re back again?
BH: Oh yes. It’s, it’s a funny, funny kind of war for the aircrew because one minute well to put it bluntly you’re trying to save your skin, and the next night you’re not on ops. You’re down town you know having a good booze up and chasing the girls sort of thing. You know what I mean? I’m being honest about it.
DK: Yeah. I was going to ask you what you did on your time off as it were, when you were? Did you go into town much?
BH: We went into Cambridge.
DK: In to Cambridge. Yeah.
BH: And we used to go in to I still remember the names of this [laughs] We used to, we found this pub in Lensfield Road. It’s called the Spread Eagle. And at that time she was an ex-lady what kept it, an ex-London actress. We found in the back room they had a piano because I played you see.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: The skipper played the guitar and of course once you got that, you know we were away because she, you know she used to say, I mean the skipper was I think he was twenty one over Stettin. So when we came back you know we had a party in there sort of thing.
DK: So your skipper spent his twenty first birthday —
BH: Over Stettin. Yeah.
DK: Over Stettin. Yeah.
BH: But I mean life in general, you know. In between its like, it’s like it’s one thing I said like this Jimmy [unclear] I once saw. I’d be sixteen or seventeen at the time. Something like that. He was running down, you know. I thought what is he running for? He was on leave. I was doing the same thing. Every second counted.
DK: Yeah.
BH: It didn’t matter. I mean, I mean I realise now why he was doing it, you know. He didn’t want to miss anything.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So, so September ’44 then what did you go off to do then because you’d finished your tour? You’d only done the one tour then.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So, I say only but you’ve done the one tour.
BH: Yeah.
DK: What did you do after that? Did you leave the squadron at that point?
BH: Yeah. They sent me, sent me up to, there’s nothing in there but they called it a rest camp way up in Scotland. Near a place called Nairn near Inverness. I was up there for a month until they decided what to do with me and I mean of course I come back and I got, I got some more leave. I got a telegram to, and a railway warrant to be posted to RAF Manby.
DK: Oh right.
BH: The one place I hated to go. I’d been taught at Manby, you know. Training Command. And coming off a squadron which was free and easy and then come to this very strict, you know. And of course what happened was there I finished up as, I mean at that time there was, it was a hell of a big camp.
DK: Right.
BH: There was three bomb aimer’s courses, three, all instructor’s courses, three air gunner’s instructor’s courses. I think it was one or two small arms instructor’s courses, because it was an Empire Air Armaments School.
DK: Right.
BH: So all we could do was get in to a kind of a wooden hut. We couldn’t get in the mess at all because it was so, you know cramped and then of course we were, we were once I’d sort of, they kept me there much to my disgust. But the, the thing I’d finished my service. I was there until I was demobbed. Then the air gunners, after about a year I think this is roughly the air gunners moved to Leconfield. The bomb aimers went somewhere else and the small arms, I don’t know what happened to them. We were left with nothing for a while and then all of a sudden we started to get these, it was suddenly become something else. Manby. Not the Empire Armament School. And we were getting officers in.
DK: Right.
BH: On a two year course. So we were, I mean it was only I think six of us. Four or six instructors including the flight lieutenant, you know, in charge of us.
DK: So, so were you actually instructing then?
BH: Yes.
DK: You were an instructor.
BH: Ground and air.
DK: Right.
BH: Anyway, we saw these, I mean it was flight lieutenants up to squadron leaders coming on these courses. Two year courses.
DK: Right.
BH: And I went in, well two of us went in to this gunnery officer in charge, you know. Our boss. I said, ‘Well, look, we’re instructing these — ’ I said, you know I was warrant officer by then.
DK: Yeah.
BH: I said, ‘We’re only warrant officers,’ I said, ‘How can we deal with a squadron leader?’ He said, ‘When you enter that room you are automatically a rank above them.’ ‘God,’ I said, ‘That’s a quick promotion.’ [laughs] But I mean they were fine, you know. I felt at ease.
DK: Yeah.
BH: With all the instructions we had.
DK: So as a warrant officer and a trainer.
BH: Yeah.
DK: You were telling the squadron leaders what to do.
BH: Well, they were, obviously a lot of them. We also got foreign. Polish pilots on the camp.
DK: Right.
BH: We had Belgians come. We had Norwegians and all sorts. But then we finished up with this, and that’s when I had left.
DK: So, so this is Number 1 Empire —
BH: Air Armaments School.
DK: Air Armaments School.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Number 1 Empire Air Armaments School based at RAF Manby.
BH: Yeah.
DK: And I notice you, you were back on Wellingtons again.
BH: That’s right.
DK: So all the training there —
BH: Yeah.
DK: Was, was Wellingtons.
BH: Yeah.
DK: It’s all Wellingtons, isn’t it?
BH: Yeah.
DK: So you were there right through to —
BH: Got demobbed.
DK: Warrant officer. And you were demobbed in 1945 presumably. Oh, 1946, sorry.
BH: Seven.
DK: 1947.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Quite right. Yeah. So you were at Manby and this other place through to —
BH: About two years wasn’t it?
DK: About two years, yeah. And you were just training then for two years.
BH: Yeah. I mean, I said at one time I never had any courses and I mean I’m an active person and I got myself attached to the photographic section, you know for something to do. And I’m very interested in that.
DK: Yeah.
BH: So yeah there was a corporal there. He said, ‘There should be a sergeant here,’ he said, ‘And another airman,’ he said. I’m short staffed.’ I said, ‘Well, I’ll, I’ll come and help, you know. I’m glad to do something,’ you know. Oh, by the way, time I was there we had some, time I was in the photographic section they had some Italian prisoners of war.
DK: Right.
BH: And I had to go out on a, to take some photographs of a bombing sight at Saltfleetby, and I, God talk about the drive of your life. I mean Lincolnshire roads are not that clever up there. They’re windy. Anyway, they come back and it must have been three weeks later they all left. They weren’t much good anyway. The next thing I knew the station warrant officer called me in. He says, ‘I’ve got a job for you, Bert.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m in the photographic section.’ He said, ‘No. This is extra.’ So, I said, ‘Oh yeah?’ You know. But he’s a, he’s a nice chap you know. He’s one of us sort of thing.
DK: Yeah.
BH: He was a time serving man. He said, ‘We’ve got eighteen German prisoners of war coming,’ he said. So I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘And you’re in charge of them.’ So I had them ‘til, oh I don’t know how long for. I had to go down in the morning. Count them in. They could have walked out.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: Because they were only in part of the camp.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: And go down at night and check them all in. Any mail I took back to the station headquarters and they checked it all I suppose.
DK: And this was at Manby still, was it?
BH: Yeah.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: And then one day the station warrant officer he says, ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘The German POWs are going.’ He said, ‘You’re taking them down to some camp near Sandy in Bedfordshire.’ Somewhere near. I can’t remember now. So I said, ‘How am I going to— ’ he said, ‘Oh, there’s a carriage booked at Louth. It’ll come in. There’s a whole carriage booked for you.’ So he said, ‘Here’s a rifle and —’ [laughs] And five, five bullets. I said, ‘Well, there’s eighteen of them. I shoot five and then — ’ [laughs] And also there, this is what I was saying when I started this talk.
DK: Yeah.
BH: The next thing we had, turned up I forgot to tell you this there was a Wellington crash and it caught a woman’s, I think it was a sort of a cottage.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And it killed her.
DK: Oh dear.
BH: I’d been flying and the tannoy went. ‘Warrant Officer Hammond report to the station warrant officer.’ So he said, ‘I’ve got a job for you, Bert,’ he says You’re on guard all night.’ He said, ‘You’ve got an airman there.’ he says, he says, ‘He’s bringing the truck around. You’ve got everything you want. Full the lot. Off you go.’ God, and it was cold and all.
DK: So you had to guard the crash site.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Of course the woman had been killed you see.
DK: Yeah. Yeah. Were the crew killed as well or were they —
BH: No. They, they survived. There was, they were bomb aimers on.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: That’s when the bomb aimers were there. Joe got it again you see. Yeah. It was all good fun. I played football for my station so, you know I loved football.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And cricket.
DK: These, these Germans you were escorting then. Was this the first time you met Germans face to face?
BH: Yes.
DK: How did that make you feel as you had been obviously —
BH: I was.
DK: Flying above Germany just a few months before.
BH: I was a bit uncomfortable but because by then we began to know what we’d actually done you know, because I was a bit disgusted we were bombing houses.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Because we weren’t told that and I was a bit apprehensive because I thought well they’ll know more than anybody. And I was, I said they used to line up and they used to and I always felt there was one German there I didn’t know whether he was taking the mickey of me or not, you know. So I had one mate there. He was a prisoner of war. He was on that Long March.
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: I think it was six hundred mile. He was on that so, and he was a prisoner of war. I said, ‘Would you mind coming with me, Cyril?’ I said, and I told him the reason why. He said, so anyway he stood. You know. I was counting them in and shouting out numbers and all that and he stood behind, well behind me and all of a sudden he let out in German and this fellow he was a warrant officer, a German well the equivalent anyway.
DK: Yeah.
BH: He swung to attention and there were no more trouble. But I felt he was taking the mickey out of me you know.
DK: Yeah.
BH: I didn’t know German but —
DK: No, but your, your colleague then who shouted out this German order —
BH: Did.
DK: Was, someone they were —
BH: That’s it. I took them back. I felt, I did feel sorry for them because it was a boiling hot day and I got to the railway station. I was met, you know. There was a truck to take you up to sign and you get your lunch there as well and as I was coming back I said, ‘What about the — ’ you know, because they were still my responsibility. But he said, ‘Oh, they’ll walk up.’ and of course I don’t know whether you know but the German prisoners of war kit bags are very, very big.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And they were, they were on the side of the road whacked out, walking up. Nobody escorting them.
DK: Yeah.
BH: They all thought they were going home. They were going on the farms. Yeah. God, it was a boiling hot day. They were carrying these, you know. I mean I did have some photographs of the prisoners of war. They made a walk in village out of scrap.
DK: Right.
BH: All run by water. Beautifully made.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Yeah. I took photographs of it. Yeah.
DK: So, did you, did you stay in touch with your crew after the war then?
BH: Yes.
DK: All of them.
BH: Yeah. We’ve got, I’ve got some photographs here. One of my cleaners, well she’s my friend now. One of my little angels [laughs] There’s [pause] there’s my, that’s my demob book. Look at that. There’s, oh sorry [pause] there’s that’s the other gunner.
DK: Yeah.
BH: That’s the skipper. He went on to fly. It became his career and he flew second dickie to start with for BOAC, was it?
DK: Oh right. Yeah.
BH: BOAC.
DK: BOAC.
BH: Long trips.
DK: Long trips. BOAC. Yeah.
BH: That’s, that’s my dad [laughs] wireless op, Jim. And that’s, that’s me. Long shorts.
DK: So what year would that have been taken then?
BH: Oh, I don’t know. That’s —
DK: There’s a —
BH: There’s my wife there with all the rest. But I had this book and I I found my, this Lanc 2 which we did all these seventeen ops in and it’s, I don’t know what I’ve done with it. I had it the other day. I forget things. And anyway he, he I bought him one because we met up before we met this. I knew where he lived and I made contact but that was with his brother.
DK: Right.
BH: It was his home address and he put me in contact with where he was living. And then we met in Stamford.
DK: Right.
BH: At the George at Stamford. And, and I took my book of this and he said, ‘Oh, my goodness me. Look at what’s in here, Bert.’ He said. ‘One of my trips,’ I forget where it was now. In America, South America. He said, ‘We ran into a thunderstorm,’ he said. He said, ‘I was second dickie,’ and he put it down he said, ‘And we were miles from the ruddy runway but we got away with it.’
DK: Right.
BH: But he said the aircraft was in there. Funny that isn’t it?
DK: Yeah.
BH: Got the aircraft we flew on during the war, and he got the aircraft he was flying in civvy which he crashed in.
DK: Which he crashed.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So how long was he with BOAC for then? Was he [unclear]
BH: Well, then he got married. His wife was here. She was an air hostess.
DK: Right.
BH: She could be up there. In those days they could speak several languages couldn’t they?
DK: Yeah.
BH: So he went on short haul. You know. Just Europe. He made his career out of it, you know.
DK: That’s Warner, isn’t it?
BH: Warner.
DK: Warner. Yeah.
BH: Yeah. But —
DK: So, so is this, probably really finish there but one sort of final question for you all these years later how do you look back on your time in Bomber Command and Bomber Command itself?
BH: Well, a funny thing it was [pause] I mean the next door neighbour’s daughter in law she was interested so I went to go around there for a meal and I had, I had to give her little lectures because she wanted to know. And after the war I didn’t want to know anything. My wife said, ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘I’m going to see, “The Dam Busters.” Are you coming?’ So, I said, ‘No. I don’t want to.’ I wasn’t interested. I suppose as you get older you look back.
DK: Yeah.
BH: You don’t look forward too much, and I get more memories now and they keep coming back now. Something triggers something off in your mind, you know. You forget a lot but then you remember a lot, you know.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And I will, I will say this and I’ve said if I had to live again and the same situation come which I explained I’d do the same thing again. I would.
DK: Because you mentioned earlier about finding out what was happening in the bombing.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Do you see that differently now or is it something that you feel —
BH: I’ve come to terms with it.
DK: Right.
BH: Because people have said. I mean. Well they were, they’ve said, well, I should, well I should know this. They were bombing Norwich and they were bombing houses.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And I said I was disappointed because we were told one thing yet we were doing another. That’s what I didn’t like, you know. We were misled. We thought we were bombing military targets. The only military targets we bombed was during the days.
DK: Yeah.
BH: You know during D-Day time.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Over Germany we just let them go didn’t we? I mean the famous saying, these, you know because when you’re going on the bombing run you’re straight and level until you’ve taken your flash you know. And of course the members of the crew were, ‘Let the ruddy things go.’ [laughs] It was a bit hot over these German cities.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Oh yeah.
DK: So after, after you dropped the bombs then you were flying straight and level for the photo to be taken.
BH: The flash. Yeah.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Then you —
DK: Photoflash. Yeah.
BH: Then we dived away. But we got caught in the master searchlight once, you know.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And of course as soon as that comes on that’s radar controlled. About twenty other small ones come on and the skipper put the nose down and the bomb aimer threw out Windows by the buckets full. I gradually watched the beams disappear.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Normally once you’re caught, you’re caught.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Yeah.
DK: So how, how was that? Was that quite a frightening experience then in the searchlights?
BH: I was never frightened once I was, you know once I [pause] I was more frightened in the build up to it. Do you know what I mean?
DK: Yeah. Yeah.
BH: Nerves. Nerves in your tummy. But once you’re in the aircraft I always felt safe. It’s a funny thing isn’t it?
DK: Yeah.
BH: You felt, though you weren’t really but I always felt there was something wrapped around me, you know.
DK: Yeah.
BH: Yeah. I was lucky. I mean you get lots of better stories than mine. I was just an ordinary sort of person caught up in the war sort of thing, you know.
DK: Yeah. Ok then. That’s gone on for a while there but thanks for that.
BH: Well, I hope I’ve been some use.
DK: That’s been absolutely marvellous.
BH: The only other thing —
DK: Hang on. Yeah.
BH: The other thing I would like to say is during the war it was a great leveller of personnel. You could be all walks of life. I met some wonderful people. I played football with pros, and against them which I enjoyed every minute of that though I was bashed about [laughs ] because I wasn’t very weighty then. But I met at Manby, I met two people, well one person which actually changed part of my life. One of them was I can’t remember his name. I tried to find it. He was a French horn player.
DK: Right.
BH: Sergeant, oh God, isn’t it silly? I’ve got a photograph of all the instructors. He, he was nice to talk to because he, he was on a retainer for all these big orchestras and in fact he was on telly after the war. He —
DK: Right.
BH: He was then played with the orchestras and solos and that and then he was BBC judge on the, you know, “Young Musician of the Year.”
DK: Oh right.
BH: He was judge on the brass section.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And the other one what changed was a fellow called Ronnie Price. I went in to the mess one afternoon at four o’clock and of course my father taught me to play the piano but he wanted, he played all sort of semi classics, you know. He was, he taught music. And I heard this music that I thought was the radiogram, you know.
DK: Yeah.
BH: And I got past the ante-room with the two doors like that. And, oh somebody is sitting at that piano because it was a good piano, you know. I went in and I thought, ‘He is playing that.’ Took a chair up, sat beside him and he stopped playing, you know. He said, ‘Oh, do you play?’ I said, ‘Oh, not like that.’ I said, ‘That’s beautiful.’ We became sort of friends, named Ronnie Price. I don’t know. You may be a bit too [pause] He was a pianist on, “Name That Tune.”
DK: Oh right. Yeah.
BH: Remember that do you?
DK: Yeah.
BH: And he was one of the top pianists in this country and abroad.
DK: Right.
BH: He had a wonderful career. He taught me no end about playing dance music. He opened doors which I never would have gone through.
DK: And that was that chance meeting in Manby.
BH: Chance meeting. He was the sound I was looking for. Like Glen Miller was looking for a sound.
DK: So was it, is that what you went into after the war then? Was it the music or —
BH: No. I played. No, I went, I went home to my own parents. My grandparents had a laundry. I didn’t know what I was going to do and I thought to myself well, my father said, ‘What are you going to do?’ My grandparents had, they’d wound it down a bit, ‘Why not take it up and build it up again?’ So I started on that but then the wife lost her father and her mother was totally invalid sort of thing in a way. Stone deaf and needed someone to be with her, you know. She was getting on. So I came up to Lincolnshire and I got a job at Fenland Laundries and then I sort of progressed through the ranks. Became a manager and that’s how I — but I played. Over the years I played part time. Not here. Never here.
DK: Right.
BH: I packed it in then. I played in holiday camps, in little bands.
DK: Right.
BH: Night clubs. I mean it’s all down to Ronnie Price. He taught me.
DK: Yeah.
BH: All sorts of [pause] well, it’s training you could not buy.
DK: Yeah. Yeah. All little techniques.
BH: Oh yeah.
DK: Yeah.
BH: I’ve got, I’ve got no end of his. My cleaner friend she’s here this morning. Took me to the doctors. She, I’ve tried to get some CDs because he’s no longer with us now, Ronnie.
DK: Right. Yeah.
BH: And she’s found them.
DK: Oh wow.
BH: I’ve got about four now. So, I’ve got all his music to listen to.
DK: Wonderful.
BH: Yeah.
DK: Ok then. Well, I’ll stop the recording there.
BH: Yeah.
DK: That’s been absolutely marvellous but thanks so much for your time.
BH: Well, I hope that’s been some use.
DK: Oh, you’ve been a lot of use. It’s been absolutely marvellous.
BH: Well, it’s, it’s nice of you to call on me.
DK: I’m more than happy to be here. Thanks.

Collection

Citation

David Kavanagh, “Interview with Bert Hammond. One,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 27, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/10623.

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