Interview with Andrew Gauld

Title

Interview with Andrew Gauld

Creator

Date

2018-06-08

Temporal Coverage

Language

Type

Format

00:17:29 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

AGauldA180608

Transcription

AP: This interview is being conducted for the International Bomber Command Centre. The interviewer is Alan Pinchbeck. The interviewee is Andy Gauld. The interview is taking place at Mr Gauld’s home in Scarborough, North Yorkshire on the 8th of June 2018 at 10.35. Also present is Karen Chapman, the interviewee’s daughter and Brenda his wife. So, Andy can we start off by you telling me a bit about what you did before the war.
AG: How far back do you want me to go? The school I went to?
AP: Yeah, where, where were you born and when were you born?
AG: Where was I born, now you’ve got me. I was born at, in Gardeners Cottage, part of Craigmyle House which was owned by, oh I forget his name now. Shaw. Craigmyle House, a huge house. Long since gone now. They knocked it down as they wanted the erm —
BG: Land?
AG: Stones to build somewhere else. Old history I’m afraid. That overlooks the village of Torphins where I was educated. If you can call it education. It was an excellent school. Do you want to know about the school? Various, I had, I had one particularly good headmaster. Now, what was his name? Davidson. He went into the history of the pupils and all sorts of things. Excellent. Not a great deal to say about the school really. Apart from it was a nice building. It was a granite building. It was rebuilt, partly during the war and partly after the war. Beautiful granite building. Still there today. Just across the road from the local village hall.
AP: And after you left school, what did you do then?
AG: After I left school I was a member of the air training core and I stayed, stayed in that and I went in to the Post Office. I joined the Post Office and I worked in the local Post Office in the village for, I don’t know, for quite, quite a few years until I got married I suppose, more or less. I don’t know all the details, I can’t remember all the details, not now. But I lived in the village until, I don’t know what age I was. I went into the air force and I didn’t really go back to the village after I came out the air force.
AP: I’m just going to pause it there a minute.
AG: Well I joined — I volunteered for air crew and then when I got called up I went, I eventually went into 12 Bomber Squadron and got crewed up with Pilot Officer Stephenson from Newcastle, Hank Baldwin, no, yes, was it Hank Baldwin?
BG: You said it was.
AG: Hank Baldwin, a New Zealander from North Island. I still keep in touch with him. Well I did until — he’s dead now. He died. I met the rest, the rest, my bomber crew there. Taff Edwards from South Wales, pilot of course. He was, he was a Sergeant Stephenson. Became, he became a Squadron Leader eventually. New Zealand navigator was Hank Baldwin. He was — the, the overseas people that came and joined the air crew usually got commissioned and he came across as a pilot officer and became a flight lieutenant or a squadron leader. I’m not sure what. And again, after the war of course he returned home. What else do you want to know about him? I did quite a few raids. My log book is in there. There it is. Five or six raids. Survived them all, hence I’m still here.
AP: You were telling me you trained in the UK?
AG: I got trained in the UK. Yeah. Oh, that was at Wickenby. RAF Wickenby. Where did I do air crew training. My wireless op training. Do you know I, I forget? It escapes me now. Mostly in Shropshire and then Lincolnshire. And I got crewed up in 1943 I think with Pilot Officer Stephenson. He’d probably just be a sergeant, a sergeant when I joined him but he became a wing commander eventually. And New Zealand. I went on bomber crew. The New Zealander was the navigator. Hank Baldwin. He’s just died recently. And the rear, the mid upper gunner was Taff Edwards from Swansea, South Wales. And the rear gunner was from Enfield West. The one, our engineer, we had two different engineers. One was a Scotsman who drank too much and he got [laughs] he got booted out and then another Scotsman joined me, joined me called MacNelly. I forget his first name now. Called Mac and stayed, I stayed with a bomber crew until, I don’t know when. Until the end of the war I suppose.
AP: Can you remember any particular operations you went on?
AG: Yes. I did [pause] I did a place called Paderborn and Hamburg a long time ago. And, where else? In my logbook. Gosh I forget now. I got it here in my logbook actually.
AP: We can have a look later. Yeah. We’ll get that sorted out.
BG: Can I prompt at all?
AP: Could do. So, if you were going on a typical raid. What, what can you remember about preparing for any particular raid?
AG: Oh God.
AP: Was it — were you nervous or against it?
AG: I am not a nervous chap. I, I get anxious about things but I’m, I’m not really nervous. Well I was a sergeant. Sergeant Officer Sergeant Gauld. I became a flight sergeant and then I became a warrant officer. And had I stayed on they offered me a commission if I stayed on the air force but I didn’t want to stay on. I wanted to come out. So, that’s the end of it [laughs]
AP: OK. You mentioned flying on Operation Manna.
AG: Oh yes.
AP: That must have been quite something?
AG: That was dropping food to the Dutch. I did one or two others. I rarely knew we were flying. Flying book [long pause] [background noise] we wouldn’t have suffered from the cold, I, we had, we had sheepskin boots and things like that.
AP: I think the wireless operator’s position is quite close to the airing, the heater intake isn’t it?
AG: Yes.
AP: So, you’d be quite warm?
AG: Yes, it was in the centre of the, centre of the plane so it was in a warmer area. So how far back do you want me to go? Llandwrog. I was stationed a Llandwrog Advanced Flying Unit in nineteen [pause] I forget, I don’t know when. Then I went into Wellingtons. Operational Training unit at Peplow which is in [pause] it’s not Lincolnshire. I don’t know where it is though. It’s all history now.
BG: His memory is fading.
AP: Yeah. Yeah.
AG: Wellingtons. Flew in Wellingtons
AP: And when you got to Wickenby, when you went with your crew to Wickenby.
AG: Yes.
AP: What did you think when you got to Wickenby? What did you think to it there?
AG: Oh. It was quite a nice, nice station was Wickenby. It was near Lincoln and Lincoln was a nice town. It was a friendly town towards aircrew because Lincolnshire of course was Bomber Command country and we were mostly all heroes there. Which was good. Peplow. I was stationed at Peplow which is, is that in Lincolnshire? I’m not sure where it is. Lincolnshire or just outside Lincolnshire.
AP: And did you have any encounters with night fighters?
AG: I don’t know. That wouldn’t affect me very much anyway because that was an air gunner. And it was an air gunner job to follow the night fighters. I didn’t see very much in my little area ‘cause of this, I had a door to look out but there’s not much to see at night. So, it was of no, no great interest really. We see the odd plane get shot down. See a plane get shot down [unclear] and you’d see it spiralling in to the air. Not very interesting I’m afraid.
AP: And when you took part in Operational Exodus brining prisoners of war back —
AG: Yes, I did.
AP: Do you remember doing that, going on that with your crew or just some of you? Did you not take gunners or —
AG: Most of the crews were broken up after the war. When the war finished. Because a lot of the crews were Australians and New Zealanders. In fact, my crew the navigator was a New Zealander. And of course, he went home when the war finished. Who else did I have? Taff Edwards, South Wales, he went home. I forget what his, what his job was. He went back to South Wales. There was Flight Lieutenant Stephenson [pause] who went back into civvy street, like, like I did. It’s all history under the water all this.
AP: Do you remember anything about the people you brought back, the prisoners of war you brought back? Were they pleased to see you? Were they —
AG: Not a lot except that what we, we was, we used to do, we used to get flight rations. We used to get chocolate and stuff that poor civilians didn’t get and we used to keep ours and when we brought prisoners of war back we passed it on to them. Some of them would be in tears when you gave them chocolate. I fed, fed quite a lot of prisoners like that which was nice.
AP: After the war then, what did you get up to after the war?
AG: Well I was in the Post Office before I went into the air force and when I came out the air force I went back into the Post Office.
BG: You went to wireless school in Aberdeen, didn’t you?
AG: Yes, I went to wireless college in Aberdeen.
AP: So, you kept up your interest in wireless?
AG: Oh Yes. I still do. Not much to tell you about that.
AP: So, tell us about your crewing up Andy?
AG: Well [laughs] we, we went to this station. I can’t think where it was now. Probably Peplow, Peplow, I’m not sure. Anyway, an, an aircrew station and the gunners were already there and the bomb aimer was there and of course, the wireless operator and the pilot and navigator. And we went around meeting each other and somebody would come to you and say “do you want to be in my crew” [laughs] and you’d say yes. So, I was crewed up. The first pilot I was with, he was a good pilot and he was slightly older than we were. He was one of these men who I called mulisha[?] men who were called up early in the war and he was, he was sent to Canada. He became air crew. He was sent to Canada and he got a — now I don’t think he was commissioned there because he was still a [clears throat] flight sergeant when I joined him but he soon be — he got a commission, I think he was commissioned. British aircrew that went to Canada got commissioned straight away, from nothing they didn’t have to wait like us poor old sods had to do. He went to Canada and did his air training there and then he came back to the UK and I don’t know where, where I got crewed up, probably Peplow was it. I’ll have to come back on that one in my log book. And the pilot went around looking for a wireless op, rear gunners and a bomb aimer. Talked to them all and all, all joined together and became a crew. That’s how we got together. And eventually the crew would be sent to a, an operational station. I forget where I went to now [pause]
AP: So, if there is nothing else you want to tell me Andy. I want to say thank you ever so much for your time and thank you for what you have done for us. I really appreciate coming to chat with you. It’s been an honour. Thank you.
AG: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Collection

Citation

Alan Pinchbeck, “Interview with Andrew Gauld,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 19, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/10824.

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