Jack Warner's account of first ten operations



Jack Warner's account of first ten operations


First operation to Montluçon 15 September 1943. Briefed as easy trip with little opposition. Arrived early and waited for Pathfinders, bombed from 8000 ft. Wing Commander Smith missing from operation reported hit by bombs. Operation 2, Mondane 16 September 1943. On arrival at ETA no target in sight. Saw anti-aircraft fire 40 miles away, saw Lake Geneva, one crew though they were over Mediterranean, no idea where they were. Short of fuel and icing up they jettisoned bombs over the Alps diverted on return. Mid upper gunner banged his head and was left at diversion airfield. Operation 3, first to Hannover 22 September 1943. Flew with replacement mid upper gunner. Lots of searchlights and anti-aircraft fire over target, saw Wellington and Stirling below catching light anti-aircraft fire. Target was mass of orange flame visible from 200 miles away. Altered course on return to avoid coned aircraft and was isolated from stream and subsequently illuminated by master searchlight for 10 minutes and engaged by heavy anti-aircraft fire. Hit in nose leaving hole which blew navigators charts all over. Operation 4 Kassel. Pathfinders marked target, saw aircraft go down, released bombs, saw FW 190 on return. Reported that another aircraft had had half its rudder chopped off by a Lancaster, Operation five, 2nd Hannover on 8 November 1943. Still with replacement mid upper gunner, saw aircraft go down while on the run in to target. Lots of searchlights to illuminate for fighters and saws lots of aircraft crossing their run in. On return saw aircraft coned, engaged by anti-aircraft fire and then finished off by two fighters. Operation 6, Düsseldorf on 3 November 1943. Regular mid upper gunner back. Reports many fighter flares and saw a fighter but it did not attack. Searchlights in target area and dropped load. Saw Ju 88 on way back. Another aircraft was shot up over French coast and crashed down south with all crew killed. Operation seven, Berlin 22 November 1943. First trip to big city. Searchlights ineffective due to 10/10 cloud. Saw fighter flares. Saw target indicators going down and defences then opened up. Dropped load and dived out, took seven minutes to clear. Pathfinders dropped good route markets. Operation eight , Leipzig on 3 December 1943 (20th birthday). Saw fighter flares, Mosquito pathfinders, bombed on sky markers due to 10/10 cloud. Operation nine, Frankfurt on 20 December 1943. Took along sprog pilot for familiarisation. Describes anti-aircraft fire bursting, saw attack on Mannheim nearby. Dropped load and beat it but engage by fighter from starboard quarter, mid upper gunner called evasive action and fighter did not open up. Gunners fire 200 rounds at him. Operation ten, Berlin on 20 January 1944. Took along sprog pilot. Saw fighter flares and anti-aircraft fire over target. saw aircraft silhouetted by cloud below. Saw scarecrow over target, huge fireball with oily smoke whirling round. Fighter attacked them on the bomb run, evasive action called by gunner, jettisoned bombs and pilot whirled Halifax around with bomb doors still open. Fighter broke away and they returned to base.




Twenty-two page handwritten document


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15-9- [indecipherable number torn page]
[underlined] Montlucon [/underlined] - was our first target and we were briefed by W/C Smith who’d done countless numbers of ‘ops’. We were given to understand that the trip would be easy with little or no opposition in the form of fighters and a little light flak en route and occasional positions of heavy stuff. We took off at [underlined] 20.00 [/underlined] and being our first trip, didn’t know what the hell to expect. We crossed the French coast at about 17 thou to clear the light flak & flak ships and stooged all the way down France and and saw very little flak except for the defended areas. We arrived over the target area [deleted] at [/deleted] a few minutes ahead of time and stooged around waiting for
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P.F.F. to start the show. They dropped the G.T.I’s and in we went at about 8,000ft. and we could hear the M.C. bawling over R.T. for us to get down lower (we were ordered to bomb at 5,000) The place was bright as the devil and there were only about 4 heavy guns over the T.A. and the flak was not predicted. We dropped our load and scooted and saw very little flak en route out and the usual light stuff over the French coast. We dived across and stooged back to base. Trip lasted [deleted] 9.55. [/deleted] [inserted] 8.30 [/inserted] Everything went smoothly - engines etc. W/C Smith was missing from this op. Found out later he’d been hit by one or more bombs
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[underlined] MODANE [/underlined] We were given much the same briefing as for the Montlucon and were briefed by S/L Suggit (53 ops). We took off at [underlined] 19.03 [/underlined] and crossed the French coast at 17 thou to miss the light stuff. (which is all the colours of the rainbow) then stooged down France meeting little opposition and passed quite near several heavy defended areas which were indicated by searchlights. At ET.A. target we couldn’t see — all and Norman started checking up and couldn’t find anything wrong and we looked again and saw bags of searchlights and quite a bit of heavy flak in a concentration about 40 miles away but we couldn’t say what it was.
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Sinc, saw the lake of Geneva and yelled out “Jesus Christ!, I think were [sic] over the Mediterranean!“ - any idea where we are Norman?! Norman said “No”! upon which silence brooded over the flying machine for a space of ten minutes. This was no good, we were running short of gas with our load still on and at the time we were icing up pretty bad so we jettisoned our load over the Alps and Norman pulled his finger out and found our track again. We landed away after this op and George cracked his head whilst in circuit & we left him there in dock. Everything went smoothly - engines etc. 9.00
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[underlined] 1st HANOVER [/underlined]
Well this was our first real [inserted] “J” [/inserted] trip and were briefed by S/L. Suggitt. We took off at [underlined] 18.30 [/underlined] and crossed the [deleted] french [/deleted] coast at 17,000. Jock Crossaw was flying with us as M.U.G in place of George. Far too much ‘binding’ was going on over the intercom and someone wouldn’t turn their mike off. I bet Jock took a pretty dim view of our crew! he’d done 18 ops. As we went into the T.A. area it was pretty well lit up and there were bags of searchlights and it was a very clear night. There seemed a hell of a lot of light flak going up to about 16T. with bursts of heavy up to 22 in barrage form and it seemed fairly thick. I looked below and could see the old Wimps and Stirlings way
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below us catching all the light stuff. We dropped our load and beat it. A couple of Halys just missed us. The target was one huge mass of orange flame and smoke visible for about 200 miles away. Sinc saw some heavy flak positions ahead so he altered course to evade [inserted] S. Guy coned. [/inserted] them which wasn’t the right thing to do because we were isolated now from the stream. Out of nowhere a master beam picked us up and we were coned in no time … Then the shit came! and how it came! every godammed gun near Hanover must have fired into the top of the cone where we were. We had some near misses and I was giving Sinc a running commentary on it as he wanted me to do. A piece of flak came thru the nose and made a gaping hole and blew Normans charts etc all over the kite - we bunged it up with a cushion. We were coned on & off
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For about 10 minutes and Sinc threw the old kite all over the sky. How we got thru it to tell the tale I don’t know to this day and the rest of the crew are of the same opinion. Vic cut his thumb and I dressed it for him. We stooged back to base then and curiously never saw a fighter during the whole trip.
Everything went smoothly in my ‘department’. Fitted a new nose on .J. Johnny.
P.S. We lectured old Sinc about the object of keeping on track ! …. which needless to say he has done ever since! ….. 7.30.
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4 J.C.
[underlined] Kassel [/underlined] 3.10.43 We were briefed by S.L. Suggitt and took off at [underlined] 18.30. [/underlined] We expected the trip to be just normal. Crossed the French coast at about 17T. and saw the usual light flak with a few scattered heavy bursts. The route was quite good and passed near to the few inevitable defended areas and saw quite a bit of heavy stuff coming up but we were in no danger. When we arrived at target P.F.F. were busy dropping their stuff and there were [deleted] abou [/deleted] quite a number of S.L’s in T.A. Usual light flak and quite a bit of heavy. Saw a kite go down in flames when we made our run up.
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Dropped our load and beat it. Passed between 2 heavily defended areas on way back. Jack saw a F.W. 190. - gave evasive action and we lost him. The T.A. seemed well lit up but not so good as first raid. Passed heavily defended area on Pt. side crossing coast. Usual dive across coast and stooged back to base.
Everything O.K. in my dept.
Joe Armour had half a rudder chopped off by a Lanc! 7.15.
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5 C.N
[underlined] 2ND HANOVER. [/underlined] Briefed by S.L. Suggitt and took off at [underlined] 22.54. Jock was still flying with us as M.U.G (damn his luck!) Crossed coast at usual height and saw usual flak coming up. Route was fairly good and we passed the usual heavily defended areas. Reached T.A. and once again on our run up saw a kite go down in flames. As before there seemed to be hundreds of S.L’s all wavering around anywhere just to light the place up for fighters. Seemed to be more heavy flak than previous raid usual light stuff. Hell of a lot a [sic] Lancs crossed our path. Probably given wrong heading to bomb on. Saw quite a lot
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of big bombs going down sillhoueted [sic] against the fires on the ground.
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We dropped our load and beat it fast. The T.A. was well alight and it seemed a successful effort. On the route back we passed Bonne on our stbd side and sinc and I saw a kite coned and the usual stuff was pumped up at him (poor sod). The flak stopped and 2 fighters went in and finished the job before he new [sic] where he was. Went down in flames and saw him hit the deck with a huge yellow flash. We stooged back. Were diverted down Sth. Missed B. Balloons by about 50ft. Jock yelled “Get up them stairs Sinc!” 2H.
Everything smooth in my dept.
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[underlined] DUSSELDORF. [/underlined] Briefed by S.L. Suggitt and took off at [underlined] 16.34 [/underlined] Expected it to be rather a stiff trip tonight. George was back with us as M.U.G. Crossed coast at usual height and passed several heavily defended areas en route. Saw quite a few fighter flares which are used to light up the sky so the fighters can pounce on your sillhouete. [sic] Saw fighter but he didn’t attack. Saw T.A. with a good number of S.L’s wavering around, quite a bit of light flak and surprisingly little heavy. Made our run up and dropped load. Raid had only just started and
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so I couldn’t form much of an opinion of the target area. The fires seemed to be going pretty well though. George saw 2 J.U. 88’s on way back but they were below us and never bothered us. S. Kept turning kite over so George could keep an eye on them - just in case. Route out was good. Usual dive over coast and a few bursts of light flak to cheer us on our weary way.
Everything O.K. in my dept.
Joe Moss’s kite got shot up by fighter over French coast. Crashed down South all crew killed. (22 ops!) Hard lines.
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DURATION - 8.15.
[underlined] BERLIN [/underlined]
T.O. @ 16.37. This was 1st. trip to the Big City and I can’t say we were happy about it although we did want to go (speaking for myself) “to see what it was like” The route was pretty good and not too much flak was about. Hanover was lit up as we passed, on the stbd. side but 10/10 cloud prevented the S/L’s from being effective. Saw what were later known (notoriously) as fighter flares which were fired from the ground. They were pretty effective but none troubled us. Approaching Berlin — Saw the 1st T.I. going down and the defences were just beginning to open up - light at first then we made our run up - S.L’s inneffective [sic] due to 10/10 cloud but we were sillhoueted [sic] against bright cloud, from above. Bomb doors open - flak pretty hot - right underneath us and on stbd side - dropped load and stuck
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nose down to get out - quick! After about 6 or seven minutes we were out of danger of the guns of the T.A. Made turn to stbd and headed out for coast. Whole place was lit up - huge glow but couldn’t see clearly for cloud. P.F.F. were bang on with their track marking. Usual flak on way out. Hanover hot - went away round it! Landed at base had interogation, [sic] meal, wash & change and went home on leave straight away!! - bit of a record.
Everything O.K. in my dept.
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[underlined] LEIPZIG [/underlined]
DURATION - 8.26.
[underlined] 3.12.43. [/underlined]
T.O. @ 23.59 - Dark night and low cloud - raining when we T.O. Surprised we got off. Soon got above cloud. Crossed coast at usual height and encountered the usual flak. Route was reasonably good and saw usual flak en route - barrage form. Course took us right for Berlin then turned down to Leipzig. P.F.F. were fooling about over Big City and Mossy’s were around. Saw quite a bit of trace in sky and several fighter flares (red & yellow.) P.F.F. were bang on with track marking the T.M.s dropping just in front of us throughout the whole trip. Making run up - sky marking due to 10/10 cloud. Wizard sight just like fairy land! Whole sky was lit up by reflection of markers on cloud, saw kites all around us. Dropped load, made lovely run - up - then beat it. Didn’t see anything
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really exciting on way out, except a kite was coned and the [sic] were shooting the day lights out of him - he got away. Good show.
Everything O.K. in my dept.
Today the 4th is my birthday (20)
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[underlined] FRANKFURT [/underlined] DURATION - 8.30.
[underlined] 20.12.43. [/underlined] T.O. @ 16.00. - early T.O. Took a sprog pilot with us to let him see what it is like before he takes his own crew out. He sat or stood most of the way up by Sinc. Crossed coast @ usual height and encountered usual flak - light stuff, nowhere near us. Red tracer stuff coming up like hell, could watch it for hours! Then explodes like a tiny star - at a distance! Route was good approached T.A. and saw the attack on Manheim [sic] which seemed very near. T.I’s were dropping, could see ground quite clearly, about 3/10 cloud. Several fighter flares were about and dozens of S.L’s (mostly to port) wavering about. Decent amount of flak. Made a lousy run up - dropped load and beat it - like a “bat outa hell” Hundreds of fighter flares lighting up the sky all around us. Fighter came in at us from
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stbd quarter. George gave evasion action and fighter never opened up. Arty fired 200 rounds at him. Beat it fast! Quite a bit of flak and S.L’s on way out saw a chap coned but he got away. Landed at base O.K.
Everything O.K. in my dept.
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[underlined] BERLIN [/underlined] 10 DURATION - 7.55
[underlined] 20-1-44 [/underlined] T.O. @ 23.55 - Early T.O. Took another sprog pilot “Mac” along with us to get the gen. Nice guy. Crossed enemy coast and greeted by usual opposition, Route good - usual defences Several fighter flares - almost 10/10 cloud Made run up. Decent amount of flak over T.A. - very bright over T.A. despite cloud and could see several kites sillhoueted [sic] against sky below us. Saw a “scare-crow” over T.A. were heading straight for where it burst - huge ball of red fire and oily smoke whizzing round and round. Quite a sight. Bomb doors, open. George yelled “Stbd go”, a fighter was on our tail. Vic dropped load and Sinc whipped the Hally round (with B.D’s still open) and if the designers could have seen that manoevre, [sic] I think they would have said a silent prayer!
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Sinc is really hot on evasive action fighter broke away and we beat it.
Everything OK. In my dept.



Jack Warner, “Jack Warner's account of first ten operations,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 27, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/10670.

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