Interview with Colin Lloyd


Interview with Colin Lloyd


Colin Lloyd was born in 1933 in Torksey, Lincolnshire. He recalls hearing Mr. Chamberlain’s broadcast on Sunday 3rd September 1939. His father got a job in 1942 at the gravel pits near Whisby and they moved to that area. Colin describes being close to RAF Skellingthorpe and watching aircraft taking off and landing. On one occasion the airfield was bombed by two Ju 88’s. He also recalls when an aircraft failed to remain airborne after taking off, crashed back down, and exploded. As a young boy, he often went exploring around the edge of the airfield with his friends. They also saw bombers flying overhead towards Europe on operations.
After the war, he got a job at the gravel pits as a crane driver. He completed part of his National Service in Berlin during 1954 and was based in the Spandau Jail where Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer were held. He describes the damage to Berlin caused by the Russians and allied bombing. Colin also recalls visits he made to Belsen, the Bielefeld viaduct, and the Berlin Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery.




Temporal Coverage





01:03:17 audio recording


IBCC Digital Archive


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MC: This interview is being conducted on behalf of the International Bomber Command Centre. The interviewer is Mike Connock and the interviewee is Colin Lloyd. The interview is taking place at Mr Lloyd’s home at Doddington, Lincoln. Also in attendance is Mr Peter Small. Okay Colin, let’s start with this, let’s start the interview. I’ll ask you, just tell me a bit, when and where were you born?
CL: 1933.
MC: 1933. Where was that?
CL: Torksey.
MC: Oh, you were in Tat orksey. So how long have you lived in this area?
CL: Pardon?
MC: How long have you lived in this area?
MC: Oh, we came up here about, well we came to Whisby Moor from Girton 1942, early ‘42 cause dad worked on the gravel pit down here you see and he got a place down there, and we moved there, down there Gravel Pit Lane, that’s how come me and me pal used to go across there where the aircraft was.
MC: Of course, the airfield.
CL: When we could, you know, we was at school some of the time like, you know.
MC: So being born in 33 you were about what, about six or seven, when war broke out, six.
CL: Oh yeah, seven
MC: Do you remember much about that?
CL: I can remember we lived at Spalford then, do you know Spalford? And we lived there, it was a Sunday, wan’t it. I was coming down the stairs when Chamberlain I think it was you know, saying consequently we are at war with Germany and that was, you know, and then of course after that that was it. Then we moved down from there to you lot know it, I shouldn’t, you might, Green Lane do you know it?
[Other]: Yeah.
CL: Between Girton and Spalford, we was there till about early 1942 and as I said, dad got that job here down at Wigsley see and he got a place with it, down the old lane there and then we came there and was there till about 1948 and then they got a new council house like, after the war.
MC: So growing up during the war, what was it like when, what was, you know?
CL: You know, when you’re youths, it don’t really bother you a lot does it, you know sort of thing. I mean I told your pal here about them two Junkers 88s, well, we lived down Green Lane then, that was, you know, just a lane but there was houses down there, but it was rough old sandy hills and that before they made it a bomb dump and of course, they came, like I told you, they came across from the Trent, oh I don’t know, they must have been less than a thousand foot up and I was stood on the dyke bank like, you know, looking, well you know that, you don’t bother, and the crosses was on the wings and the fuselage, but the swastika was on the tail. But you could see the men like I can see you, and they did one sweep over Wigsley and let ‘em have it like, Manchesters there then, and there was some smoke about so whether they set one on fire I don’t know like but then they cleared off but they shot ‘em both down didn’t they?
MC: Did they?
CL: Before they got to the coast like, but you could see the chaps, you know, they must have been about, five or six hundred foot up, that’s all, course that’s how they got in wan’t it, you know, be about six o’clock, five or six o’clock, summer night like and off they went like.
MC: So I mean did you see any more instances involving RAF aircraft?
CL: No nothing like that, but mostly in the early part there, of the war, you got the Halifaxes coming from Yorkshire and they used to follow the Trent I reckon. But the first lot to come was the Whitleys, cause they was slow, wan’t they, you know, and maybe about half hour after you get the Halifaxes coming cause they catch ‘em up by the time they got to the coast I should think won’t they, maybe, form up then like, but that was the early days before, well before they got the Lancasters, I think was it? When did they come in?
MC: Yeah, yeah, that was before the Lancasters, well they still used the Halifaxes at the same time as the Lancasters. So you used to watch them forming up did you?
CL: Well, they was formed up but they came along, you know, going down south, you know, wherever they turned off, and I should think they meet up there and form up you see like, but there was, it was funny, well it wasn’t funny, but young bloke, his parents had the petrol pumps on the main Newark to Gainsborough road there, and he went in the RAF like and he got to be a navigator and he had one ring I think, what would that be, aye, anyway he was a navigator, did quite a few trips from Finningley, and in the end he got clobbered like and that was it. But he was a nice chap, cause I can remember me and another old boy, we used to play about a bit, and he was on leave you see and he gave us a toffee out of his pocket, you know, which was luxury then, wan’t it. But he got, you know, done in the end like but, and that was that like. Then of course we, as I said, dad got the house down ‘ere and we moved down ‘ere in 1942.
MC: So you’ve been here ever since.
CL: Yeah. And that’s it like. Cause that was open, wan’t it, early on I suppose, before that wan’t it, Manchesters here wan’t they
MC: So did you get on to the airfield much?
CL: Well we used to go, there was a young lad lived at, well you know where you turn up to Hykeham, the junction there, well there used to be two cottages there, farm cottages and I was mate out with the son of one of them, we when we wan’t at school, walk up there between the, up the roadway like, and past the guardhouse because the guardhouse was about half way up wan’t it.
[Other]: I can’t remember it.
CL: No. Is there a farm track there, you know when you get over the roundabout, keep going, is there a track going to the right yet? There used to be a farm down there.
MC: To the left.
CL: To the right, going towards Lincoln. And the called the farmer Halsey.
[Other]: There was a farm down there, wan’t it.
CL: Well he had it during the war, this Halsey, you know.
[Other]: [Unclear] My father used to work there.
CL: The RAF blokes, the officers, some of them used to have MGs as you know, and Morgans didn’t they, three wheels, well when they’d been on operation I should think, debriefed or whatever they did, maybe an hour after, some of them used to come out the guardroom there and straight across the road and down there, through the farmyard and on to the Wigsley road you see, to Hykeham, instead of going down to the bottom there and turning right, you know, there’s a short cut to Hykeham, so whether they was living out I don’t know, but most of them was officers cause they got their, well they’d got their flying jackets on some of them, you know like. That’s what they used to do like, because at the bottom was the hospital. The RAF hospital.
MC: Yes, sick quarters.
CL: Yeah. Cause they used to be, well nice weather they used to sit outside and probably got their arm bandaged up, leg or whatever, but the real serious ones I should think they take ‘em to that military hospital at Lincoln wan’t they.
MC: There was one at Nocton.
CL: There was one at Lincoln.
[Other]: St George’s.
MC: Oh yeah.
CL: Because my brother was in there, when he come back from Japan, soldier he was like, yeah. I don’t think there’s any of it left now is there.
MC: Not much.
CL: I don’t think so, no. And as I say we used to go over there but luckily we wan’t over there that day when that bombs went up you were talking about.
MC: You were around then were you?
CL: I was down the lane you see, well, we happened to be off school and was down the lane, at home more or less and but outside and then there was this hell of a bang and you could hear, you know, sommat whistling through the air – shrapnel I should think - and I told you didn’t I, this old farm what used to be there, it was smack in line for the, about three fields off but, smack in line with the airfield if you get me, where they went off and me brother worked for this farmer and he happened to be in the cow shed and there was one or two horses in there and me brother said the blast was that terrific he said that some of the horses got on their knees with the blast, you know, and when they went outside all his windows were out his house, you know. I told you didn’t I he said to me brother Jim like, said come on boy, I’m going over there, see the CO blowing all my windows. Anyway, got over there, and there’d be RAF blokes about wan’t there and he said I want to see the CO and the bloke said oh well we’ll get him for you like, whoever he was. And of course Tom went too, and the farmer said blown all my windows out and everything, and my brother Jim said, the CO said you’re bloody lucky mate he said, you got the blast it’s a wonder it didn’t flatten your house! You know, it went that way. The the thing was I think he rented some of the land off Halsey, and it was grassland between the airfield and there, his farm, the road, Whisby Road he thought maybe some would get shrapnel in you see, but luckily Jim me brother said he was lucky like, one or two of them got a bit but nowt to [unclear]. He reckoned it laid the hedge over, I told you didn’t I, I [emphasis] didn’t see it but my brother did, he said it laid the hedge over, big hedge, it was aye, you know in them days didn’t bother a lot did they and there was this big hedge and some of the blast caught it, it laid it over and then of course it come back again, just shows don’t it.
MC: Yeah. Force of the blast.
CL: You said there was a lot, hell of a lot on it wan’t there, yeah, bombs like.
MC: I should clarify at this stage we’re talking about RAF Sculthorpe aren’t we.
CL Yeah that’s right.
MC: We never mentioned that.
CL: That’s it. Where the roundabout is, I don’t know whether you know but there was a QR stood there, dispersal there, you know, there was two squadrons wan’t there, QR that was, once or twice we used to walk over that, we didn’t go on airfield, but there was crash gates there, where the runway end was, but the ordinary, was just rough old dyke and bits of hedge, you know, further on but it went, well I don’t know, the dispersal was empty a couple times if I remember right, but whether he got shot down or whether, you know, he was doing maintenance, you don’t know. Because we were, when there was, if it was daylight they was going a bit early on a raid like, wherever they went I should think I don’t know, they used to go early didn’t they sometimes, daylight, course they drop the crews off you see, and you’d see ‘em there walking about, and get in like, and crank up and if they was taking off from this end going towards the cathedral we used to be able to watch ‘em, you see like, if they was coming from both ways like.
MC: You could get fairly close to it.
CL: Oh yeah, I should say about from here to that, you know that tree there, maybe a little bit further, not much.
MC: We’re talking about twenty yards aren’t we.
CL: Yeah. Well, lads you don’t bother, as you know, we used to put a finger up, I don’t know whether it’d be the pilot would it or flight engineer, which side would he be on, he was taxiing from Skellingthorpe side, be flight engineer wan’t it.
[Other]: It would, yeah. on the right
CL: Wave to you like and then there was that there trolley on the side you know, and flash ‘em a green mate open up and off they’d go, bloody hell, you know once it started taking off mate swung the next one round and they gave ‘em another, and other chap was only half way down the runway and that’s what happened that night, what I told you, when they blew up, they didn’t get off, well they got off the floor but they was going that way that night, towards over Whisby.
MC: Yeah, yeah
CL: The flight path like. Well, where that there restaurant is now that was the, over the top of that more or less, and it was about, I don’t know roughly round tea time, five o’clock time, daylight, and it was after D-Day, I’m sure it was and it was taking off, and of course one or two went up and we wasn’t there, we was more or less on the Whisby road, not, about three fields off like watching them, you know and anyway all of a sudden there was a bloody great bang and this black smoke went up, you know, course one had come down, he’d got off the runway and over the road and pretty well up the first field, and then whatever went wrong, he went in like and that was it. Course you know what we’re like, lads, off we went, you don’t realise do you? That’s when we, I told him, we found two blokes, well, we see two blokes like, they was in a hell of a mess they was, and there was oxygen bottles, oh I don’t know, a couple of oxygen bottles a fair way from where some of the plane was like, you know, and there was incendiaries smoking, they were about that length wan’t they those incendiary bombs, and they were smoking you know and that but the big bomb it must have blown up because the airplane was you know blown up like, four thousand pounder maybe was it?
MC: Probably, yeah, probably. If it was after D-Day they, that would be the daylight raids when they were supporting the invasion.
CL: Aye. I was going to say it was about five o’clock time, when they was going like, and oh and what they did then, as soon as he came down and blew up, I should think it killed ‘em all, must have done, anyway, the chap behind him couldn’t stop, so he kept going, he had to do and we thought he was coming down, well he went through the smoke you see, and the bloody thing, I’m not lying, it bloody rocked like that it did, you know, there for a bit wan’t it you know, seeing it, [unclear] couldn’t stop you see, cause you know very well, once one had gone when they give ‘em the green, he gave the other bloke a green and all and he was only half way down the runway, you know.
MC: Too late to stop.
CL: Cause we used to go, sometimes late at night, but when it was not dark but just getting dark, you get me, just to see ‘em in day, half daylight, some of the WAAFs and some of the ordinary air force blokes used to be there, you know waving to ‘em see, and you know off they went and that was it. One behind the other, like.
MC: Yes they used to wave them off regular.
CL: Course that way, going over Lincoln, cathedral way wan’t they. Oh aye, but when, that did upset us a bit when you see them two dead blokes, not a lot like, cause you’re lads aren’t you, but you remember it, you know, but we didn’t see any more cause, oh there was a, by the time in minutes like, there was RAF fellers there you see, and we said something to this RAF bloke about these here chaps like, oh he said clear off you lads, no place for you which it wan’t, you don’t realise do you? We was about twelve I think, something like that you see, so we hopped it like.
MC: So did you see any of the airfield, did you get on to the airfield after, you know, after the war?
CL: Well I used to bike by see, going in to town well when the war finished, they wan’t long taking the Lancs away was they, then that stacking sommat on it, I don’t know, big pipes, big bloody great pipes, they stacked them on there they did, and if I remember right, you know as you go now, to the roundabout on the left hand side, is there some old broken down concrete building, rubble? You know just before you turn, can you remember those gamekeepers places?
MC: Gamekeeper cottages.
CL: Well just by there, well that was a bomb wasn’t it. And petrol wan’t it.
MC: And petrol I think, yeah.
CL: Course not so long ago they found oil there, didn’t they.
[Other]: I’m not aware.
CL: Oh! You know when they were doing the roundabout, the second time, bulldozing about there, they reckon they found tanks full of bloody oil, from the war, you know, they was buried wan’t it. Anyway I wondered if it was still there, cause it was there for years, but that was the way in wan’t it to the, cause they used to have a guard on cause when we was lads guard we used to mooch about there and the guard used to tell us off you know, [laughter] you know but you did, didn’t you, you know.
[Other]: You told me you got on to the aerodrome one day with a, in a gravel truck from Wisby’s.
CL: Some what?
[Other]: As a passenger in a gravel truck, there was some -
CL: Oh aye, yeah. Aye well Atkins they call the firm. The had some women driving for them in the war time, they was six seven tonners, you know, well the gravel pit down there, Tealors, where dad worked, they used to go there you see and leave stuff for tea on, and it was a Saturday morning and Mrs Foster you call this lady what drove this one, she said to mam like, if you want to go to town, it’s my last load I’ll pick you up and take you, but we’ve got to go on to the airfield first and drop a load of sharp sand off you see, so anyway she did picked mam up and I went with her, [unclear] and we turned up there and through the guard room and there used to be an hanger there didn’t there, just through there and huts like, RAF ones, and the officers mess that side and anyway she pulled up at the guardroom she said to the sergeant or whatever he was, I’ve got this sand for you know so-and-so, oh he said you want to go through there duck, he said and near that hangar. Of course off we went and we got to the hangar and she said to a RAF bloke where do you want it and he said well tip it near the door, and there was a Lanc stood there and they’re putting this bloody great bomb on it, this four thousand pounder you know, just hoisting it up. Course she said to this air force chap what’s that, oh he said it’s a four thousand pounder. She said well you’d better sign my ticket, [laughter] let’s be off, she said, bugger this! But it wouldn’t have gone off anyway would it, if they’d dropped it, you know, I don’t think.
MC: A weight [unclear] down.
CL: Well they was just hoisting it in. Cause they used to take one four thousand pounder didn’t it, and so many incendiaries didn’t they? You know, full load. Because you see I got called up and I went to Berlin and it was a hell of a mess, you know.
[Other]: See it from the other end.
CL: Aye. They plonked that place, The Russians did an all, because the Russians, the Russians came in from their part where we were stationed at Spandau and they bloody knocked everything down there though.
MC: So when did you go to Berlin? When did you go to Berlin?
CL: It’d be 19, let’s see 1954, ’53. And we’re camp right, you’ll probably not know, you probably will, they called it Spandau jail, well we was opposite that. And it was a three stories high building and I was on the top floor luckily, and do you know who was there in that jail, I’ll give you a guess: Hess. There was Hess and what d’you call it armament minister, Speer, they was bloody big chaps oh bloody, cause we was up the top you see and you could see over the wall, and the, oh and there was a general, I don’t know who he was, he pegged out while we was there like and they used to let ‘em out inside, and as a hunger march if you get me, you know, walking round right, and they let Hess out cause he, I reckon he did about ten year didn’t he?
MC: Hmmm. Don’t know.
CL: Yeah, about ten year. They let him out, and Hess, Hess was the only bloke, oh the other, the general died there, that’s right, war criminal. They let Hess out I think.
[Other]: They let Speer out didn’t they.
CL: Speer out, that’s it, That’s it, and Hess was there. D’you know they had all these bloody blokes guarding the place for one feller, and if he was badly you know, they used to get him in the bloody ambulance, take him down the military hospital, looked after him like a lord, but they’d got all, all these guards round, on the top, electric fence outside, and the Russians did it for three month, we did it three, the Yanks did it three and the French did it three cause it was in four sectors, wan’t it, and they used to give lectures sometimes you know, some of these officers, and they used to say there’s about twenty divisions of Russians over the border, I thought what the hell can you do with that, there was only about three or four hundred of us and a few more others like. Wouldn’t have stood a chance, would you? Not really like, that’s how it was, wan’t it.
MC: So what was Berlin like in those days?
CL: Well it was you know, knocked about bad like, but I mean didn’t seem bothered much, not with us lot, well a lot of the places the pubs was out of bounds, you know, but the one what was near us we could go in that one. I always remember it because [unclear] bloke I told you didn’t I, ex SS sergeant, he’d been in the SS you know, big bloke like you, but he took that on like, but he didn’t bother us, or any bugger else like, it was business, wan’t it. But one night, I don’t know what happened, we wan’t out that night we heard this here well, bloody dogs barking, you know, outside on the road, away from the pub, the pub was about two three hundred yards down like, and they set about this bloke, this American chap these dogs, it appears he’d set the dogs on him like for some reason, I don’t know what, Yank like, one of them was a nasty Alsatian and bull terriers is it, or sommat and they was savaging him like and luckily our guardroom wasn’t far off and the guard went out and bloody murdered him they would, and he was shouting and bawling this here Jerry you know, anyway military police come and they all cleared off somewhere, they worried him, savage dogs wan’t they. I don’t know what happened mind you, you know, sommat in the pub like, anyway. Aye, bit of history isn’t it.
MC: That was National Service was it?
CL: Yeah. Well I signed for three year. I wouldn’t want to come out you see, I told you didn’t I, was going to go over with the battalion to Malaya, but mam and dad was struggling like in them days, as you know, there’s two or three more they’d got you see.
[Other]: Rationing was still on.
CL: I came out to help them a bit like.
MC: So what were mum and dad doing in those days.
CL: Well dad worked in the gravel pit, he worked about forty year, dad.
[Other]: Most of the gravel going for the airfield construction was it?
CL: Well I took a lot to RAF Coningsby, you know when they first did it for the Vulcans don’t you, 1952 was it? No ’53. ’55 that’s it, cause I didn’t come out till ’54, now, ’55, ’56 and they extended all the runways didn’t they, you know, for the Vulcan.
MC: When you came back from National Service.
CL: Pardon?
MC: What, when you came back from National Service, you went working there?
CL: I went back to, I worked there when I was a lad you see, luckily they wanted somebody to drive locos, can you remember [unclear] Hornsby’s Locos, and them down there you see, and Tubbs, take the stuff out and machine it all in took the machine then you took it up the plant you see, and they wanted somebody to drive it and when I left school you see I was lucky to get that, I did that for three year but you know, soon as you, seventeen and a half you all had to register, but if you was on the farm they didn’t bother you, but anywhere else they took you, cause that was it like, the way. When we went to Lincoln for six month there, no six weeks rather and they split us up in the end, there was about eighty of us in the intake and the forty went to Warwick for Korean training and I was in the forty what was sent on leave and we was going to the Sherwood Foresters in Germany, and they gave us a leave like, well it was a fortnight they gave us, but I got a telegram after a week: report back to the barracks, Lincoln for posting to Warwick for Korea. Well when we got to Warwick you see for the Korean training, the lads what we, you know, had gone there they was going to Korea anyway, they was all cheering and shout [laugh], you know, they thought oh lads, it serves you right you buggers like that. Of course we were all trained you know, I went through bloody murder there, didn’t half put it, I mean they put ‘em through it today, but they did, we went to Wales, up to North Wales there, bloody [unclear] up them mountains, full packs and everything, wet through, you know and the sergeants shouting, bawling at you, but I’m kidding you but when you got to the top you couldn’t have done nowt, if a bloody bloke had come and pushed you you’d have fell back, hard out and that was it, but that’s what you went through, in’t it.
MC: Yeah.
CL: We did all live hand grenades, there was big boxes them days, with about thirty in I think, thirty six mils grenade they was and they was all lathered thick with grease, you know, and of course the sergeants they were, knew what was on ‘em, take the mickey out of you. Two apiece lads he said and clean ‘em up and if you’ve left specks on back they don’t go off! The buggers they, rubbing like hell, you know, you would do, you [unclear]. When we’d done it they’d look at ‘em like and say they’re all reet. But he put the charges in you see, cause they’re very ticklish, You screwed the baseplate up and put the hammer down with the pin through and then you took it out, the base plug and put the charge in, it was so long and you had to get hold on it, not the actual part at the bottom, the wire type like, and put it in like that and then screw the cap back up tight, you know, and then it was ready for throwing you know. When we’d done that like, it was right get in that trench they said, they’d forty gallon drums about thirty, forty yards away, you know, and they said we want you to drop ‘em in there if you can, you know, somewhere. Anyway it come to my turn like, he said prepare to throw and when he said that you pulled the pin out, throw the bugger down, you see, throw, and then like that and then he said throw, and when you let go that was it, it shot off and the fuse went off you’d about five seconds. Well I got straight down and the sergeant got hold of me and get your bloody head up and start counting! Cause you had to count to about four, then he says get down and didn’t have the base plug, it always went backwards, the base plug and it was like a metal, you know, and you could hear it go over you, if it hit you like it would go through you, aye. That was the first’n you know I chucked like, but after that I always got down, you know, it, oh it was an experience and that was it.
MC: So when, going back to Berlin, I’m just interested in, you saw Berlin obviously Bomber Command did a lot of raids in Berlin
CL: Oh ay.
MC: I just wondered how much had been rebuilt or what?
CL: Oh there was some rebuilt, but a lot of it was like, I reckon, I told you, we went to Hamburg on a fortnight’s course, but that was from Goslar, you see when we first went to Germany we was the foot of the Harz mountains and it was an ex-Luftwaffe fighter base, you know, the mountains was here like that and half of Goslar was on the hill and half in a flat like and then of course you got the airfield you know and we went there first, and then we did two year there and that’s when they moved us to Berlin. Well we left Goslar at eleven o’clock at night the train, cause we had to go through the Russian sector you see. We was only about two mile out on it anyway.
MC: I was going to ask how you got in to Berlin. By train was it.
CL: So we went you know, round the mountains, and through Leipzig I think it was, the train stopped at different stations, but it said, the bloke, sergeant told us don’t lift the blinds up. I did, I said to my mate, I’ll have a look here, pulled up. I reckon it was Leipzig or somewhere and there was an East German copper on the platform, I think they wore a green uniform and the West German had blue like, anyway he looked but didn’t say owt like, and I dropped it again and we got to Berlin Spandau station at oh, let’s see, about seven o’clock in the morning, we started eleven at night, was a long way, you know cause we went round the mountains you see. When we got there, the CO, Lieutenant Colonel Wilson, he was injured bad in the war, and he had a, his back I think, mostly, he used to, he could walk round like, but he was always bit you know, but if we was going any distance he’d have a jeep. But he didn’t this time, they lined the battalion up like, he had the band there, it was a cracking band the Lincolns was, you know, and off we went, we had about a mile from Spandau station to the barracks like, and he marched in front of us, all the way you know, and the band got all their skins on you know, and Jerries was there, it was about half past seven that was, going through the streets you see, looking out the window, don’t know what they thought like. But he did it though, lad did, yeah.
MC: Yes, so you did three years, in, as National Service, well you signed on for three years did you.
CL: Yeah. Well as I say I was going to come out but with mother being that and dad suffering, you know, not too good yeah, and that was it like, and then I worked on the gravel pit for forty year, driving that thing in the corner there, on the photo, [laughter] sommat similar. They was hard work they was.
MC: That’s a picture of a Bucyrus crane is it?
CL: Yeah. Bucyrus. Yeah, but you know, well that wan’t too bad, it was air control, you got the short levers, but the old fashioned ones we had for the start for donkey’s years, the levers was like arms, you shove ‘em in and out, hard work like, now, you know, which you want it to be, they just touch a lever don’t they and what have you. Aye, that airfield though, don’t know if I tell you, when Mrs Foster see them bombs, that was it! You know, she was oop, sign this mate, [laughter]
[Other]: Wasn’t going to hang about!
CL: And that was it like.
[Other]: Was the airspace round the [unclear] active, was there aircraft all the time?
CL: Oh aye. Sometimes, would it be after D-Day, they was coming back in daylight, in morning, and coming back there were bloody lumps out their wings, bits out the tail you know, engines stopped, cause they’ve got landing lights all round here, you know they put ’em up didn’t they later in the war, and they used to go right round didn’t they, in a circle, give them a bit of an idea I think and if they was going to land this way in, from this way like, which they did sometimes, they was shooting those red flares out and I suppose they’d bring ‘em down first would they, they got wounded I should think on board, you know, but you know, as I say the engines stopped and bits out of the wing or tail, you know, flak I should think, I don’t know.
MC: Yeah. Fighter attack anything like that.
CL: But you knew a chap didn’t you flew from there, didn’t you, what flew from there? He was air gunner won’t he?
[Other]: No, he was an engineer.
CL: Engineer was he. Well he was at the side of the pilot wan’t he. I was looking at that one at East Kirkby you know, there was nowt to see it, where flight engineer was, it was only a little square bit, wan’t it, and drop it down, no lap room was there.
MC: Not a lot of room, no not very comfortable.
CL: They must have been tired when they come back, I mean Berlin must have been what eight hour run there and back, must have been tired, you know wan’t they. You know, well pilot he’s got an armour plate han’t he at the back. Oh no, Berlin, oh I was going to tell you. I went on a course for a fortnight, to Hamburg, that was [unclear] I told you didn’t I. In the middle, I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, since like, but in the middle of the city there’s this big well, like Lincoln is, but a lot bigger, a lake, you know and along there I’ve never seen so much brick rubble in my life, thousands and thousands of tons they took, you know, they really hammered that, they must have done. but on the outskirts where we was, it was hardly touched, you know, the outskirts of it, but it was really gave it some, thumped it.
MC: So they must have been pretty accurate with the bombing.
CL: I bet it was. Mind you, look what they did to London, you know. Thirteen weeks wan’t they, continual bombing, so they say, you know.
[Other]: The blitz.
CL: Aye. We used to go over there regular like, just to watch ‘em. One, it was a light night after D-Day it was about six or seven, maybe eight queuing up like, and then they just stopped and stopped the engines, and they were all seemed to sat in their planes for quite a while, so whatever happened I don’t know. But they stopped the lot like, you know, for a reason, they must have done, cause normally they just ticked over, didn’t they, till the time was right like, so they must, we cleared off then like, and well they wan’t moving and that was it like. But they must have gone later on. Probably sommat wrong was there.
MC: Probably cancelled the operation or something stopped them taking off, maybe an aircraft stopped on the end of the runway.
CL: Yes. They lost a lot of men here though didn’t they.
MC: Yeah.
CL: I read sommat about, not so long ago they dropped the biggest bomb loads from here didn’t they, in the war.
MC: They dropped most [unclear].
CL: During the war.
MC: I think they held some of the records amount of bombs dropped.
CL; I was going to say sommat like that I read.
[Other]: Did you ever meet any of the aircrew off the airfield?
CL: No, that one, only that one what cleared us off like, that one bloke you know when we told him about the fellers, hop it you don’t realise do you, you know. I mean you don’t sort of take it to, do you, you know.
MC: Cause at that age you wouldn’t have got in to any of the pubs anyway, to meet them.
CL: The huts, I don’t know if you knew where they was, where the non-commisioned officers was. Sergeant pilots and navigators, do you know where they was?
MC: No.
CL: You know, do you know when you go where, now then, it’s where, did you know where the old guardroom was? Opposite that lane, where you used to go down that path, well on the right hand side going that way, now, you know, to Lincoln, that was the huts there, and there was sergeant navigators and non-commissioned officers. Officers was farther up on the right cause you could see ‘em through the window playing snooker and that like, you know until the sergeant moved us off like. Cause he was, well the guardroom was there you see, and there’s always somebody on that. But we used to go in there because sometimes they was kicking a ball about, you know, when they wan’t flying and have a bit of a do with them like. I can remember, all them years ago, but I can remember once when I was there, playing, having a kick, they went on the speaker horn aircrew report to the whatever it is, you know, briefing room like, and of course they all cleared off then what was fliers like, you know, and I see them go out that night like you see, you know. All them years ago though, don’t it seem queer. Sometimes I forget things and yet I can remember that. Queer innit? You know.
MC: Well, I think that’s, that’s pretty good, thanks, Colin, that was a great interview and thank you very much for talking to me.
CL: Ah I don’t, yeah well, there was, bloke landed the Lancaster, he must have come back for some reason with his load on. In the morning it was stood in the field, you know where that restaurant is now, it was a field then of course, just a little dyke and a fence, and he’d come back with his load, and we didn’t know like, but he’d gone through the bloody crash gates, and over the road and through the fence and finished up, in, it was ploughed up a bit there at that time, that field and then the ploughing you know, and that’s where it was, course lads you see off they went, when we see it, they nearly got there, and of course there’s an RAF chap on guard, you know, and said, we said sommat, go on hop it lads he said, the bugger’s still loaded up well he was stood there so if it had gone up he would have gone up and all, that was his job wan’t it like, he cleared us off like, you know. Then another time we happened to be down there looking over the crash gate and the one came in from Lincoln way, whether it was doing an air test or sommat I don’t know, anyway, he came in to land and he touched down and he hadn’t been down two three minutes and bloody great bang and his tyre busted and it chucked him, I’m not kidding you, it went like that it did, he couldn’t hold it I think, fair bit of speed on that, he’d only just touched down, and of course he went on the grass so far and then stopped. The tyre was busted like. It was maybe doing air test cause they did they, they used to take off and go round and land in again didn’t they, you know. Oh aye, did you know about them bombs, stick of bombs what dropped down there. Well just before you get to the wood where that house, old house was, they dropped three I think, one night, Jerries. One landed in the field on the left hand side as you’re going down there, another one dropped half way on the road, blew half the road up and half the dyke, and the other one went over the wood, and a land mine it was, and they dropped and just over the wood like, and course it went up, and the landmine, oh hell of a, hell of a big hole and a lot of clay, you know, a lot of clay in the land there.
[Other]: Was that on [unclear]
CL: Aye, them first two was, yeah, cause I can remember ‘em filling that one up, it took half the road up.
MC: That was the crossroads.
CL: Yeah. No, ordinary road like, just before you get to where the bomb dump was, furthest away, end of that wood there, then you get a bit of a field don’t you, and it blew half the road up and half the dyke. Well they filled it up with all sorts: bricks and tins and you know what have you. But the other one in the field it, I don’t know what they did with that, but the other was a land mine and it went over the wood towards the Whisby side, do you get me, over the top and it was solid clay, well it put this place in here, in the war, you know, well it was dropped at night, wouldn’t it dop, you reckon they would be aiming for the [unclear] bomb dump? Well they wasn’t far off it, was they?
[Other]: Bomb dump.
CL: Wasn’t far off it was they. Bloody hell.
[Other]: They’d have had the airfield mapped out.
CL: Yeah. I mean, but, if it had gone, well the bomb dump well I don’t know would have blown the whole lot up wouldn’t it? Ain’t there some places now in the wood?
[Other]: Yeah.
CL: You know as you go down the bypass. What are they? Toilets, or just sheds?
MC: There’s bits of the bomb dump still there.
CL: Oh is there?
MC: Yeah, RAF Sculthorpe, yeah, bits of the bomb dump still there.
[Other]: Some air raid shelters, flash pens, all the roads, the concrete roads still there.
CL: Oh I could tell you another thing, I don’t know if you’re interested. When, when we was at Goslar I got one leave, well, some of them had two, I only had one, anyway we used to catch the train from Goslar to Hanover, then get the main line one from Brunswick to Hook of Holland, you know, leave train, and we was going towards Bielefeld they called it, or Biedefield one of the two.
MC: Bielefeld.
CL: The army prison was there, British Army, you know, anyway [chuckle] we was going in to there from Goslar and the other line was coming from the Ruhr, you know the valley as they called it, and there’s a big viaduct there, you’d have heard about it dozens of times, they bombed it and they couldn’t hit it, could they, well the holes right on the, the holes was there if you get me, round it, but they’d all grassed over, but you could see where they’d hit it, they hit it with a Tallboy didn’t they?
MC: That’s the Bielefeld Viaduct, yes.
CL: Yeah. It made quite a - have you seen it, did you see it?
MC: I’ve seen pictures of it.
CL: Well it made quite a big hole in it, one of Barnes Wallis’ little Tallboys, you know, like they dropped on that ship, whatever it was.
[Other]: Tirpitz.
CL: Yeah. But as I say, all the bomb holes was round, you could tell where the bombs had dropped like, you know, they was grassed over like, you know. Cause it used to come from the Ruhr valley I think, like Essen and all that, cause we went all through them, you see on the train, Essen, it was flattened, that Krupps factory, but do you know, I’m not lying, there was a hell [emphasis] of a chimney stack stuck up, and all round it was flat, rubble, and it was still stood up, aye, at that time, yeah. Well they’d take it down, no doubt because it’d be dangerous wan’t it but, really marvellous wan’t it, you know, all flat round it, massive factory all run up the side of the railway, you know, hell of a factory, aye. But Berlin though, I mean, I know they hammered it, but, I told you about them cemeteries, didn’t I, lot of RAF blokes there, cause we used to from Spandau on the tram, down from Spandau to the main part of Berlin to the picture house and the NAAFI, and there was a sort of a subway of a bit and of course there was a cemetery there, it was war graves commission then like, but got stones up, but it said RAF on some of them, well all of them, but there was names to some, but some had just got RAF Unknown you know, so they would find them. But like I told you, the Germans looked after it, when we was there, they had our uniforms these chaps what was, British Army uniforms, but they’d got GSO on here stands for sommat, what it was I don’t know, they were dyed black if you get me, instead of our colour, they’d dyed ‘em all, but they used to work for the army I think, you know cause when I was at Goslar they used to drive cars about and that for us, you know cause we had to walk, when we wanted to go into town, we had to walk about two miles from Goslar, from where we were like, and they used to stop pick you up like, they wan’t, you know didn’t seem to hold it against you, mind you they were getting money wan’t they, working you know, pick us up and take us in to town like, or if you was coming back take you back to camp like. I’ll tell you, you’ll maybe not be interested but we used to go on route marches and we went to Belsen, we used to go through Belsen you know, that was a village like, before you got there, rough old roads they was, rough as hell they were, like bloody great stones in the muck, you know, when you got off the good road, like. And there was a place there where scrap, where, scrap, must have been because they was engines, railway engines they’d holes in them all over, but there were dozens and dozens on this here line you know, waiting to be took and broke up I think. Well they were shot up like, bloody great holes in the side of the boilers and all sorts like, aye, they’d hammered it a bit like, didn’t them Typhoons used to go for ‘em, aye, shoved a rocket in ‘em see.
MC: Did a lot of damage.
CL: Oh I don’t know, you’d maybe not want to know, but I told you I think, it was operational for a start, wasn’t it, Wigsley cause took the Hampdens from here, they went to Wigsley, but before they finished it - we lived at that Spalford at that time you see, was only just up the road - there was the, can you remember them, Airspeed Oxfords, trainers they was. Well before they done the airfield they was training blokes you know, cause they’d done the runway and they didn’t take much runway, so they’d land in, and then cut off and come back and keep going round and round, do you get me, and that like, and there was a big drain at yon end, Spalford end, big dyke, you know, massive, and when the Hampdens went away it went to one of the training units off of operations, on to training, you know, and there was Lancs there, well one overshot the dyke, they went off the runway and plonked on this here big dyke, you know, course off we went, two three of us, there’s more of us there like, before we got there, you could smell, nobody there there wan’t like, the door was off, and it smelt of petrol. The first thing you could see when the door of this Lancaster, you know where they got in, that time, that one, I don’t know if later time, was the toilet, they had one didn’t they, but it was dead like you know, opposite the door they jumped out, it was theer, but you know, it stunk of petrol like, and there’s nobody about, so they’d overshot I think and then gone back to whatever and then afore that one, the, an Hampden, he overshot there as well and we did get in that. Well, there’s nobody about! The bloody hood was back, it slid back, didn’t it, you know, and the seat, I’m not kidding you, it was like the old fashioned bus seat, double, you know, and then there was a big steps down to the front wan’t there, you know, didn’t open up to ‘em much like, then the thin body, wan’t there. I don’t think there was a gunner at the back was there, not on there.
[Other]: There was yeah, upper and lower.
CL: Ah! Under neath, ah, they was like under. And you know we did get a look in that, a real good look like and then we cleared off like.
MC: Didn’t get any souvenirs then?
CL: No way, never thought of that, they smelt of petrol, or they would do wouldn’t they. We cleared off and got away with it. But there was a mill, when they built the runway facing over there, like that one came across here didn’t it, that one at Wigsley, there was an old mill at Spalford as you went in, you know the old fashioned mill and it was smack in line with the runway. Well you know when they thought it out, you’d have thought they’d have thought of that, wouldn’t you? Anyway I think the pilots complained, I don’t know and they took it down in the end, cause when they went OTU is it, training in unit, there was Lancasters there and all sorts going round, you know aye, and, aye bit of history to it in’t there.
MC: There is.
CL: Well I hope I’ve helped you a bit anyway.
MC: You used to go, get on the train and go down to the French NAAFI club.
CL: Yeah.
MC: That was when you was in Berlin.
CL: Yes, cause I had my birthday, twenty first birthday down there, there was a few of us went. We used to go on the rail car, you know, like the train, but you know the, like underground, but it wan’t, you didn’t go under it, and we used to go down on that from where we was about there and then get back on at night. And we was like [unclear] when we come out. We got on the station like and I said we want to go yon side, we want to be otherwise we shall be in the Russian Zone we go the other. Oh no, no, you know who they are don’t you, oh I said all right and we went to other side, no we stopped where we was, that’s it, and the train came in and we was going to get on and credit to him, to him, this Jerry, he was a guard or sommat like, oh no not that way! Ruski, Ruski, you know. [Laughter] We got out of there, I’ve been telling you now, we had to cross over, we wanted other side you see, to get back and that. But credit due to ‘im. Well one or two of them did go over into the Russian Sector, by mistake, and they kept them about three weeks, you see, oh aye, didn’t do nowt to ‘em, they just locked ‘em up I think. Well I said to ‘em, I said, I bloody told you we didn’t want to be there.
[Other]: Splendid person. Good days of twenty one [unclear].
CL: Twenty one, fancy having it there, where Adolf used to be. Aye, I don’t I can tell you much else mate.
MC: Thanks once again for that Colin, that’s great, thank very much for your time.



Mike Connock, “Interview with Colin Lloyd,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed November 28, 2022,

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