Interview with Hayden Philip Rose

Title

Interview with Hayden Philip Rose

Description

Hayden Philip Rose was born on the 27th of July 1924. After leaving school he worked in the Simmonds factory office before joining the RAF in 1943, training as an engineer. His brothers also joined, becoming a pilot and a navigator. Upon meeting his crew at RAF Aldwark Manor they were posted to RAF Riccall where they trained on Halifaxes, before joining 426 Squadron at RAF Linton-on-Ouse.
On their 20th operation, they were hit by anti-aircraft fire upon which they bailed out near Dordrecht, and the pilot was killed in action. The crew were then held at German headquarters in Frankfurt for interrogation and eventually sent to Stalag Luft 7. He reports that when the Russians reached the camp they gave them rifles to kill as many Germans as they could. They took back six heads to prove that they had killed them.
He flew back in June 1945. After three weeks leave, he completed further training before being posted to RAF Cottam, where he stayed until 1948. Rose recounts his life after demobilisation, including working in South Africa and keeping in touch with his crew.

Creator

Date

2018-02-22

Temporal Coverage

Language

Type

Format

00:41:20 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

ARoseHP180222, PRoseHP1801

Transcription

GR: Right. This is Gary Rushbrooke for the IBCC on the 22nd of February 2018 and I am with Flight Lieutenant Philip Rose at his house in York. Philip, just when was you born sir? What was, what was your birthdate?
HPR: My birthday is the 27th of July 1924.
GR: 1924. And did you, we’re in York, did you, was you born in York? Did you grow up around —
HPR: No. I was born in, in South Wales.
GR: Oh right.
HPR: And joined the RAF in 1943.
GR: 1943. Yeah.
HPR: PNB. Which is pilot, navigator, bomb aimer system. I then remustered to flight engineer. Then went to St Athans to be trained.
GR: Yes.
HPR: Completed my, my training there. Then I was waiting for a crew so they sent me to [pause] where was it? I’m trying to think of the name of the place. Anyway, I was sent there for two weeks. Oh, Isle of Sheppey.
GR: Oh yeah. Yeah.
HPR: Unfortunately, a terrible place to go because that was where the people who were, decided they had a lack of moral fibre and they were stripped of their, of their brevets and what have you.
GR: That’s where they went. Yeah. If they’d been lack of moral fibre. Coming away from their base.
HPR: That’s right. They were out to the Isle of Sheppey. Then they were, you know they would be marched out.
GR: So they had people training there as well?
HPR: They, I don’t know whether they, no. I wasn’t.
GR: No.
HPR: I was only waiting for, for a crew.
GR: But even so you’re waiting there.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: And you’re seeing these people.
HPR: Absolutely.
GR: And we won’t come to that.
HPR: Yeah. So, you know they were stripped. They just said, ‘You’re not, you’ve been found guilty of lack of moral fibre and the sentence is that you will be stripped down to AC2s again.’ So they just used to pin their stripes on them, tear them off, tear their beret off and say —
GR: Yeah.
HPR: That’s it. You’re back to, back to the cookhouse sort of thing. So that was that. I was there. Then a crew arrived from Canada. My crew. We met up then at Riccall. The Heavy Conversion Unit.
GR: Heavy Conversion Unit.
HPR: At Riccall.
GR: At Riccall. Yeah.
HPR: Did our six weeks training there on Halifaxes.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And then joined the squadron. 426 Squadron at Linton On Ouse.
GR: At Linton. Yeah.
HPR: So we did twenty one trips. We were shot down on the twenty first.
GR: Oh right.
HPR: Trip to, as I say to Wanne Einkel.
GR: So, before we come to that we’ll backtrack a little bit. Mum and dad. Did you have any brothers and sisters?
HPR: I’ve got, I’ve got brothers. I’ve got two brothers and two sisters. I did have.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: They’re all dead now. My one brother —
GR: Was you, where was you in the pecking order? Older brother. Younger brother.
HPR: I was the, I was the youngest.
GR: You were the youngest. Yeah.
HPR: I was the youngest. The rest of them were —
GR: Yeah.
HPR: All older than me.
GR: So, schooling was in South Wales.
HPR: Yes. School was in South Wales. I went to the Rhondda County Grammar School. Matriculated from there.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And that was and then went in. Had a bit of [pause] went to work with a, in a factory for a while.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And then three of us who were, we were all working in the factory decided to go and join the RAF. So we went to Penarth which was in South Wales.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Which was the attestation centre, and joined up. And that’s how I started off. And then we got posted to first of all to St John’s Wood.
GR: Yes.
HPR: In London.
GR: So you joined up in 19 —
HPR: 1943.
GR: 1943. Oh, so 19 — yeah.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: What work was you doing in the factory? Bearing in mind the war would have been on.
HPR: Technical. Technical work.
GR: Just yeah.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Yeah. Administration work.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: So it was a company called Simmonds were making special things for the Air Force rather. For the RAF.
GR: Oh right.
HPR: So —
GR: And were, daft question because obviously you were if there were three of you in that factory.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: And even though the factory was doing things for the —
HPR: That’s right.
GR: War work. The RAF.
HPR: You were allowed to volunteer then.
GR: That’s right.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: We all volunteered.
HPR: Yes.
GR: And each of them, one of them became a pilot, one of them became a navigator and I became an engineer.
HPR: Right.
GR: And did the other two survive?
HPR: As far as I know. Yeah, they survived.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: I don’t know where they, what’s happened to them now of course.
GR: Yeah. Yeah.
HPR: They’re just gone.
GR: But at the time. Yeah.
HPR: Their own sweet way, sort of thing.
GR: So at the time, yeah you were in the factory. You decided right —
HPR: Yeah.
GR: We’ve all got to join up and join the RAF.
HPR: That’s it. So we all went to Penarth and joined up at the same time. The same day.
GR: Same day. You all went together.
HPR: That’s it.
GR: Oh. wonderful.
HPR: Got through, got the [artist?] did all the usual work that they do, you know. Maths, English and all the rest of it.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And they said, ‘Oh, you’re ok.’ They said to me, they give you a recording when you’re doing that and they play the earphones on and said, ‘Why do you want to be a pilot? Why don’t you be a wireless operator?’ And I said the one thing I didn’t want to be was a wireless operator. They said, ‘Why not?’ ‘Well, you’ve just had a recording with, you had this dit dit dit da da da. And just say are they the same or are they different?’ He said, ‘You had an eighty seven percent on it so you must be good.’ I said, ‘I just did it. I’ve forgotten about it,’ you know. ‘It all went queer and I just said yes. Oh, that’s, yes. No. Yes. Yes. No. And it just happened to be but — ’ I said, ‘No. I don’t want to be that.’ So they said, ‘Right. PNB.’ And then off to London.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: To St John’s Wood.
GR: Was you, was there any gap in between? So once you joined up they didn’t still —
HPR: Oh yes. There was about, they give us a small badge to say that you are RAF Reserve.
GR: Yes.
HPR: About two months.
GR: Yeah. Because there’s some veterans I spoke to said, ‘Oh, yeah they sent us home and we were waiting six months.’
HPR: Yeah.
GR: And we were waiting nine months.
HPR: I waited about two months.
GR: That’s not bad.
HPR: And they gave me a little badge to say that, you know you’re in the RAF.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Virtually. But we’re waiting.
GR: Yes.
HPR: So if anybody said, ‘Why the hell aren’t you —
GR: Yeah.
HPR: In the army.’ Or, ‘Why aren’t you —
GR: Because you’re walking around in —
HPR: Yeah.
GR: Yeah. Nobody bringing you a white feather or anything like that.
HPR: That’s it.
GR: So, yeah. So, you were, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah. What did you think of St John’s Wood?
HPR: A tremendous place to be but I can remember the one thing about it was the fact that you had all your inoculations, vaccinations virtually at the same time, you know. Outside going up the fire, fire steps of these flats we were in and then being injected in both arms.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And that was it sort of thing. Then we were doing all sorts of things. You know, maths, English and all the rest of it and they said they decided I would be an engineer rather than a pilot. So that was it.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Then I was posted down to, as I said to St Athan. I did my training there. Then joined the, the crew eventually. Having been to see the poor people being stripped of their, their —
GR: Just I find it a strange place.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: To send somebody.
HPR: To send somebody. Absolutely. But it was not only myself. It was quite a few.
GR: No. Yeah. But, yeah any of you to be there and think what’s going off here?
HPR: That’s right, because I got pretty friendly with one chap who had been strapped. His name was Brotherton I think if my memory serves me and he was, flying. He was a wireless operator and he said that he’d had enough. He’d been, he’d flown for about twenty, twenty sorties.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And they said he was lack of moral fibre. He said, ‘I’m quite prepared to go up and fly on flying boats or anything else,’ but he said, ‘I’m not on there anymore.’ So he said, ‘I’ve had enough.’ They shot him. Anyway, they stripped him.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And he went. I don’t know. He was very good. But I remember he was a very good pianist and he used to entertain people while he was there, you know. On the piano and what have you.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And in the NAAFI.
GR: I presume you knew what were going off.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: What did you think?
HPR: Well, I thought, you know I was really sorry for them because these guys they were obviously, you know not a hundred percent in themselves. You could tell that. They were sort of shadow of themselves almost.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: But you said, well you know, ‘It can’t happen to me.’
GR: No.
HPR: We hoped. And that was it.
GR: Yeah. Because obviously, yeah you’re speaking to somebody who has done twenty missions.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: And this is something you’re going to go and do.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: And then you’re listening to him and —
HPR: Yes. Lack of moral fibre and that’s it.
GR: Yeah. We’d have different words for it these days but —
HPR: Yeah.
GR: I’m interrupting. So, yeah. So after that you, how did you meet the crew because obviously when it was like all British crews —
HPR: Yeah.
GR: They used to put you all together in a room and you’d walk around.
HPR: That’s right. Well, we —
GR: Talk to people and —
HPR: We were put in a place called, a manor which is just north of York here. We had a room there. Aldwark Manor.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Aldwark Manor was where we were billeted. We met up there actually. We, and we spent a few days together talking about things and we all seemed to be gelling out ok. And then we were posted down to Riccall.
GR: Right.
HPR: To Heavy Conversion Unit.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Then we went back to Aldwark Manor because that’s where we were going to be billeted when we were flying from Linton On Ouse.
GR: Right.
HPR: So that —
GR: So was you given to the crew?
HPR: Yeah.
GR: Or did the crew approach?
HPR: Yeah.
GR: So you just, you were given a crew.
HPR: That’s right. Oh yes.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Well, we were, I was introduced to the crew.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And they, they really vetted me.
GR: Right.
HPR: Rather than me vet them.
GR: Yeah. Yeah.
HPR: And they said, ‘Well,’ you know, ‘You seem a good guy, you know, seen what you’re doing and all the rest of it.’ And we got on remarkably well together as a crew, you know. Excellent.
GR: I think you told me the wireless operator was —
HPR: Yeah.
GR: Also British.
HPR: The wireless operator. That’s right. But he’d already joined them.
GR: Right.
HPR: Prior to me going there. He [pause] his name was Twyneham. So, he was from London and he was, he was working in the City somewhere in London before he came, and he went back to that after the war. I can remember. The rest of them came from, most of them, all of them came from all of them came from Canada. The wireless operator was, he was British. The mid-upper gunner was from Saskatchewan. He came from a wheat farming community there. His family were farmers. Johnny de Luca was working for the government in Toronto. Bob, the navigator he was in business in Toronto. And the, the bomb aimer was from Montreal. He was French Canadian. He was the joker in the pack if there ever was a joker. He was quite a, quite a character. So that’s how the crew was formulated.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And as you say we then started down at Riccall. Having finished there started on 426 Squadron at —
GR: Linton.
HPR: At Linton on Ouse.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: That’s the [pause] saying the, the [pause] That’s where he, is the —
GR: Oh right.
HPR: That’s, that’s the skipper’s [pause] skippers burial. I wasn’t there unfortunately. I was away on holiday.
GR: Right. Yeah. We’re just looking at a photograph. Is this, is this in Holland?
HPR: It’s Holland.
GR: Yeah. He’s buried in Holland, is he?
HPR: Yeah.
GR: So, what was your first operation? So obviously you got to Linton.
HPR: The first, first operation we did was in Metz.
GR: Right.
HPR: We bombed Metz. It was the first operation we did, and we did a series of operations from all over.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: From St Nazaire.
GR: Any thoughts on the first op? As in —
HPR: Well, yes.
GR: Not apprehensive but —
HPR: That was interesting.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Because that first op we were late in returning. We didn’t see any particular flak or anything but we had a lot of reports when we came back that a lot of them had had a fairly hectic time.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: But we were fortunate. We were a couple of minutes late sort of thing getting back and we didn’t really see a lot of it. But we saw the latter end of it but we weren’t worried about it ourselves.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: So that was it.
GR: So, yeah. It went well. Yeah. And that was it. You were in the system.
HPR: We were absolutely in the system. Exactly.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And then —
GR: And this would have been the summer of 1944.
HPR: That’s it. Yeah. And then we carried on then right through.
GR: Can you remember when your first operation was? Would it have been —
HPR: I can’t remember exactly the date.
GR: May. June.
HPR: June it would be.
GR: June.
HPR: It would be June. Definitely. Yes.
GR: So did you do some of the what they called the Normandy bombing runs?
HPR: Yes. Oh, yes.
GR: Yeah. Yeah.
HPR: St Nazaire.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: All those sort of places.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: We did all those bombing runs.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: D-Day. You know.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: So then after that as I say we eventually landed up in this, at Wanne Einkel, in —
GR: This was about, this was about your twentieth mission.
HPR: Twenty, this was the twenty first.
GR: Twenty first.
HPR: Twenty first mission.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And that, as I say we did the bombing run. We were hit. The —
GR: Hit by flak.
HPR: The flak, yeah. Oh yes. It was predictive, predictive flak actually because you could tell because we were on a fifteen thousand feet.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And flying straight and ready for the bombing run. I shouted, you know, ‘Bomb doors open,’ and away. Bob said, ‘Bombs gone away.’ You know.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: That was it. We turned off then having as we were turning we got hit. The outer, port outer engine was hit. I feathered the engine. Put the fire out but we were hit by flak again. The skipper was hit in the leg. The bomb aimer was hit. His nose. He broke his nose. And then there was the, we got it, the aircraft back as far as Dordrecht in Holland.
GR: In Holland. Yeah.
HPR: And we were going to bale out as I said. We. The first out was the rear gunner who said, ‘Keep it straight and level so I can get my ‘chute.’ His ‘chute was in, was obviously not on his, in his turret.
GR: No.
HPR: It was outside his turret.
GR: He had to come back to the fuselage to get it, doesn’t he?
HPR: He come back. Yeah. He come back.
GR: Yes.
HPR: Pick up his chute, put his chute on and dived out. Mid-upper, the mid-upper gunner was the second. Bob, the navigator went. Then Twyneham the wireless operator and then Bill, the bomb aimer went. And I was the last out. I helped to get the skipper back to the rear of the plane. Put a hand on the handle of his chute.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Said, ‘Off you go,’ and kicked him out.
GR: Yeah. You pushed the pilot.
HPR: I followed him out.
GR: You pushed the pilot out.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: Then you were the last one out.
HPR: I followed him out. The aircraft was losing height all the time and it crashed just outside Dordrecht. We found out eventually that a part of it they found is now in a museum or was in a museum in Dordrecht. Which was the wing of the aircraft was in there. And I was, I landed on the outside, on the outskirts of, of Dordrecht. Eventually met up. I met the bomb aimer, the navigator and the air gunner. Rear Gunner. All together. They marched us into Dordrecht.
GR: Was you picked up straight away?
HPR: We were. Yes, I rather funnily enough the chap that picked me up spoke perfect English. He said, ‘Good afternoon,’ and I was bloody flabbergasted as you can well imagine. But he was telling me he’d been working for a German shipping company in Liverpool before the war.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: He was a corporal in the German army.
GR: Oh right.
HPR: And he’d worked in this, for a German shipping company in Liverpool docks. So they marched me, ‘Raus [unclear] they said. Well, there was, well we knew that the bomb, we were told that the pilot had had his legs blown off and he was dead when they reached the ground. But there were two others who were missing. That was, one was Twyneham and the mid-upper gunner was Ken Dugdale. The last report we had there was somebody had landed on the church at Dordrecht and had been hit by rifle fire. We eventually found out that that was in fact Ken Dugdale.
GR: Right.
HPR: He was put into hospital in Dordrecht at the time. Eventually they picked up Twyneham in a field outside Dordrecht. They’d brought him in and then we were all put in, into the local jail at Dordrecht in Holland. And eventually the, we were shipped from there by a rickety old bus to Frankfurt on Main.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And there we were held in the, the German headquarters there and interrogated by two officers. One who purported to be, had worked, also been educated at Oxford. So he reckoned. By the way we never found out whether he was. Spoke perfect English.
GR: How was you treated in between?
HPR: That’s right.
GR: In between, ended up in the local jail.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: To get into Frankfurt. Were you treated well?
HPR: No. No.
GR: No.
HPR: We got nothing really. All we had was a slice of bread.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Black bread and a cup of soup.
GR: But you weren’t mistreated.
HPR: No. We weren’t mistreated.
GR: No. No.
HPR: No. We were just [pause] except when we were, we were so tired we were told by the guards to get up and —
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Prodded with rifles but nothing —
GR: Nothing. Yeah.
HPR: Particularly untoward. But none the less it was a bit scary.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Then as I say we were taken by —
GR: Because by that time in 1944.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: I know of certain bomber crews.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: American and British that were murdered basically. They were you know if they were captured by some of the civilians.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: Especially if they were near the places they’d bombed.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: Then the, and the authorities used to turn a blind eye. That’s why I was asking if —
HPR: Yeah. Well, the biggest problem we still had our parachutes with us. They still, we had to carry our parachutes where ever we went.
GR: So you stood out like.
HPR: We’d stand out. That’s right. When we got to Frankfurt then we got a little bit of flak from the local people.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Because we had to march up to get to get to the railway station in Frankfurt and we got a bit of flak from the people there. They were spitting at us and telling us this, that and the other, you know. Terror fliegers. So, eventually we got to the German headquarters at Frankfurt. We were interrogated there as I said. Then we were moved on from there and eventually landed up in a place called Dulag Luft.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Which was just outside Frankfurt. And we were there for quite a while. Then eventually from there we were shipped out to —
GR: Luft 7.
HPR: Poland.
GR: Yes.
HPR: That was at Stalag Luft 7.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: In Bankau near Breslau.
GR: So, that would be around about October time, wouldn’t it?
HPR: That was.
GR: Shot down in September.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: October.
HPR: That’s right,
GR: Yeah. October. November. I was going to say how was prison life but I presume you weren’t in the prison camp long because did they then start, as the Russians were advancing did they take you out on what became known as the Long March.
HPR: Yeah. What happened was we were in there. Stalag Luft. That’s [pause] the first camp we went to. That’s a map of the —
GR: Oh, right. Thank you. Yes. Stalag Luft 7.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: Bankau, Silesia.
HPR: The first camp we went to was a temporary camp because that hadn’t been completed. We were in just little huts.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Which were only about seven foot high and about, you know twenty four foot long. Then we went to that camp eventually when it was completed. And it was said that nobody would ever escape. Escape from there sort of thing. But nobody did. We didn’t. We were there until —
GR: Because in your own mind was you aware the war was coming to a close?
HPR: Well, yes. We were. We were getting reply. Reports from UK. We had two guys. One who was shot down the first day of the war.
GR: Right.
HPR: And he was a wireless operator and he was a very clever lad. He managed to get, he’d got a phone. A telephone, telephone wires and eventually managed to get a radio signal and he was, he was giving us reports.
GR: Reports. Yeah.
HPR: Virtually every day of what was happening during the war. He was an excellent guy. The padre was there also who was a nice, a very nice chap. I’ve still got the bible that he gave me there, and I’ve carried that everywhere. I’ll just show it to you.
GR: Show me. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
HPR: I’ll get it for you.
GR: Yeah. And I’ll just pause the —
[recording paused]
GR: So we’re just looking at a Holy Bible that was presented to Philip by the —
HPR: He was the padre.
GR: The padre. Victor —
HPR: He was acting padre. He was —
GR: Victor [Coops.]
HPR: Yeah. He became, he became a full time vicar afterwards.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: After the war.
GR: Yeah. So the Holy Bible with a stamp inside it that says Stalug Luft 7. Incredible. So, so when was you taken out the camp and put on the Long March?
HPR: Yes.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: That was on the —
[pause]
GR: It would be January time.
HPR: 17th of January.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: 17th of January and I was on that Long March twenty one days or thereabouts.
GR: For about, so for about three weeks. Where did you end up then, Philip?
HPR: We ended up eventually at Luckenwalde.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Which was [pause] the camp number was camp three and we were there then. There were fifty four thousand in that camp which was really required to keep about ten or twelve thousand.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: So we had no, no beds. No nothing. Just palliases. Wooden —
GR: Straw beds yeah.
HPR: Well, yeah.
GR: I presume, I presume you was in, because you were shot down in September.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: You was in quite reasonable physical condition.
HPR: Yeah.
GR: Unlike some of the chaps who had been there three or four years. Were they —
HPR: That’s right.
GR: Were they —
HPR: Yeah.
GR: Thinner? And —
HPR: Well we, I, we’d all lost weight obviously on the march.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Because we had very little food.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: It was only a question of a cup of soup a day. A slice of bread a day. Maybe one spoonful of sugar or whatever.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: One cup of coffee which was horrible. Ersaz coffee made of acorns.
GR: Acorns.
HPR: That’s right. And I lost, my weight came to around six stone twelve when I came home.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: So, I was about eleven stone when I, when I, when I got shot down.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And we, not only myself but everybody else.
GR: Yeah. So in a period of seven or eight months.
HPR: Were in the same situation.
GR: Yeah. It’s a very big weight loss.
HPR: Very little food.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: We were at this camp for, as I say there were fifty four thousand of them there. Russians, Poles, Germans, err Russians, Poles, Czechoslovakians all sorts of nationalities.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: The Russian’s camp itself was separate from, from the main camp. Then eventually as I said the Russians overran us in, when was it? May.
GR: Yes. End of April.
HPR: End of April.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: That’s right.
GR: It was the Russians who took over the camp wasn’t it?
HPR: The Russians —
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Took over the camp completely. Then we heard that the Americans were on the other side of the Elbe.
GR: Yes.
HPR: They were advancing. We got word to them to say where we were. They eventually brought trucks up. Fifty trucks to take all the, all the American and the British prisoners out of the —
GR: Out.
HPR: Out of the camp. The Russians refused and as we were moving on they fired us over the tops and with rifles, they said, ‘Nobody leaves this camp until we get an exchange of prisoners.’ Fifty four thousand prisoners in exchange for all these other prisoners that you’ve got. The Russians were, the Russians in the Russian side of the camp were released by the Russians and told, ‘There’s a rifle. Off you go. Kill as many Germans as you can.’ And outside the camp was one gun post which had six German army guys there. They went out and they said, ‘Bring back proof that you’ve killed them.’ They brought back six heads.
GR: God.
HPR: And said, ‘There we are. We’ve killed them.’
GR: Yeah.
HPR: For ourselves we tried to get on but as I said they told us we can’t get. So we were in that camp now until well I didn’t get home until June.
GR: So, how did you eventually get out the camp? Was it —
HPR: We eventually —
GR: The Russians just let you go or —
HPR: Eventually they transferred so many prisoners in exchange.
GR: Right.
HPR: They transferred them over on the Elbe.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: The Germans and the Russians and they allowed us to leave. We then, they then took us from there back into Frankfurt, then on to, I flew then from, they took us down to Holland and we flew back home to Tangmere.
GR: Tangmere.
HPR: In Sussex.
GR: What aircraft did you fly back on?
HPR: Dakotas.
GR: Dakotas.
HPR: That’s right.
GR: I know they were using Lancasters, Dakotas and American B17s, so —
HPR: That’s right. Yeah. Dakotas.
GR: You got a Dakota.
HPR: Flew on Dakotas back to Tangmere and the first time we, the first meal I had, I will always remember was fish and chips in Tangmere. That was the blessing.
GR: Yes.
HPR: While we were in, in Holland with the Americans we were fed with very good food obviously. With bacon and eggs and —
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And pineapples and goodness knows what. Excellent I must say. Then we eventually came home. I had a slight bit of flak in my left leg which had played up a bit. It was still weeping and what have you. They decided that first of all they were going to put me into hospital. There was, I said I didn’t, I wanted to go home first if I could because I had no, I had no knowledge of whether my family were alive or whether they were dead or what happened because only one, they only had one letter from me after I became a prisoner of war to say that I was a prisoner of war. To confirm that. But no other mail had got through. So eventually they let me home with details of what had happened to be given to my doctor and he treated me. Then after three weeks I went back to Cosford Hospital. They looked at it and said it was ok, it was fine. I could go back on leave. I had another three weeks leave. They were trying to treat us because we were undernourished. The only way they could give us extra rations was by giving us rations that were normally used for WAAF’s pregnancies. That was double rations.
GR: Double rations.
HPR: And so I was having two lots of bacon, two lot of meat, two lots of beef —
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Two lots of butter etcetera etcetera to build up. So eventually I then got posted back to Cosford. I did a course there. I stayed in the RAF.
GR: Yeah. Were you back, when you came back from prisoner of war camp —
HPR: Ah huh.
GR: Did you learn then that all the others had come back with you? So the rest of the crew apart your pilot did they come back at the same time?
HPR: Oh yeah. They all came back.
GR: Did they, were they in the same camp by the way?
HPR: They came back virtually at the same time.
GR: Oh right.
HPR: But were disbanded into the RCAF.
GR: Oh course. They would have been sent back to Canada, wouldn’t they?
HPR: That’s right.
GR: Yes.
HPR: They went back to Canada.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And then, as I said I came back home here. As I say they all went back to their jobs except Bill Sloane went back to Montreal, but then he went on to America. He decided to go down to America. We lost all trace of him. The rest of them we, we kept in touch with for a while. Bob Walters died of, he had cancer. He died about ten years ago. The next one who died was [pause] Ken. Ken Dugdale. Mid-upper gunner. He died of cancer in Saskatchewan. Twyneham stayed. He was alive until four years ago. He died in London. Who else was there? Bob as I said. Bill Sloane went on to America so we —
GR: Yeah. Lost track of him.
HPR: Lost all trace of him. There was myself still here. And Johnny de Luca.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Obviously of Italian parentage.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: He died two years ago.
GR: Two years ago.
HPR: He had a blood disorder.
GR: Oh dear.
HPR: Which they couldn’t cure.
GR: Did you stay in the RAF?
HPR: I stayed in the RAF until 1948.
GR: Oh, ’48. Right.
HPR: Went back to Cosford. I went to training to do a equipment officer’s job. I did it at Cosford for a while. Then they came along and said, ‘Right. We’re sending you on a bomb disposal course.’
GR: [laughs] What a thing to do.
HPR: So they sent me on a bomb disposal course and I was then employed getting rid of phosgene and mustard gases by firing them with sten guns. Blowing them up. Burning them.
GR: What a way to do it.
HPR: Yeah. So then they said, ‘Right. We’re getting you posted now to a place called Cottam, which is just outside Driffield.’
GR: Yes.
HPR: And that was a bomb disposal unit. They had bombs. Two hundred, four hundred pound bombs all over the place there. So we had to, well we was selling these to Iraq and Iran. We were repainting them and sending them off after the war to Iraq and Iran. So I was in charge of this unit there and eventually I applied for a permanent commission. They offered me a short service commission of four years. And I said no. This is ’48 and I said, ‘No. I’d rather it’s either a full commission or I’m out.’ So then, it was then I came out.
GR: Right.
HPR: 1948. Although, if I’d stayed in the guys who also applied for, for a short service eventually got a full —
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Commission because they were short of officers in the 1950s. So, I came out. Then got a job in one of the utilities with is the Electricity Boards.
GR: Back in Wales.
HPR: Back. No. First of all in Yorkshire.
GR: Right.
HPR: In Driffield.
GR: So you decided to stay in —
HPR: In, well in Hull really.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And then I transferred from there back to Wales.
GR: Right.
HPR: And I got a job with the Electricity Board in Wales. From there, I stayed with them for about three years and a guy came along and offered me a job with a company, an American company called Kelvinator making refrigerators. So I joined them as a sales rep. Left then after about three years. Got a job with Phillips Electrical who were forming a new group for white goods. So I became an area manager for them and eventually left them after seventeen years. They headhunted from another company called MK which made electrical switches and sockets. Became a sales manager from then. Then they asked me to go to South Africa. So I went to South Africa for two and a half years to, as a marketing manager and eventually marketing director for them in South Africa.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Sold the company in South Africa which they wanted me to do. Came home and then retired.
GR: Right.
HPR: Then somebody came along and said, ‘I’ve got a job for you.’ I said I didn’t really want a job. ‘Oh, we’ve got a job.’ So I went to work then for the government on marking, checking marking of GCSE exams.
GR: Oh right. Yeah.
HPR: In Harrogate.
GR: Yeah. So you was living up in this area by then.
HPR: Yeah. Finished up. I finished up here.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: Became the, as I said I have a house in, before I came here I had a house in Askham Richard.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: And do you know, so before that we had a house down in, I worked for, when I worked for Phillips I worked in London with them.
GR: Yeah.
HPR: At, so I had a house in Horsham for three years.
GR: So you moved around a bit.
HPR: So I’ve been around a bit.
GR: A wonderful life. Yeah. Very very good. So how are we doing? Yeah.

Collection

Citation

Gary Rushbrooke, “Interview with Hayden Philip Rose,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 17, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/11564.

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