Interview with Stephen Walker

Title

Interview with Stephen Walker

Description

Stephen’s father, Ronald Cecil Walker, was born in Southampton in 1923. On leaving school he worked as a junior clerk with an accountancy firm. In 1941 he joined the Air Training Corps, 424 Squadron, in Southampton and in December the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve where he was accepted to train as a bomb aimer. He trained with the Royal Canadian Air Force, 5 Bombing and Gunnery School, at Dafoe in Canada. His next posting was to the Climate Assimilation School and then to the Heavy Conversion Unit at RAF Marston Moor. In 1942 he joined 102 Squadron at RAF Pocklington where he flew Halifaxes with the same squadron. His full tour included operations to Cologne, Osnabrück, Sterkrade, Nuremberg, Witten and Mainz. He finally left the RAF as a warrant officer.

Creator

Date

2017-01-08

Temporal Coverage

Language

Type

Format

00:06:50 audio recording

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Rights

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

Contributor

Identifier

AWalkerS170108, PWalkerS1702

Transcription

CB: My name is Chris Brockbank and today is the 8th of January 2017 and I’m here with Stephen Walker to do a proxy interview for his father, late father, Ronald Cecil Walker. And they lived in the Salisbury area. So in practical terms what are the earliest recollections you have of your father and what he did?
SW: Well my first memories are really as a young boy. Mainly standing by or sitting by the back door watching dad walk up the garden path in his long grey raincoat having finished his day at work and looking forward to seeing him there. So that’s really my first memories of him as a boy. He was a keen sportsman. He liked his football and his badminton which he very much did in his early days as a lad and then through to being an adult as well. I did go and see one movie with him as a young boy which obviously would have stuck in my mind because it was the Battle of Britain. But that’s the only movie we ever saw as a father and son team. But he, those are my memories really initially as a small boy.
CB: Right. So the question next is what did father do? Where was he born and when? And what did the family do?
SW: He was born on the 19th of October 1923 in West End, Southampton. He was one of four boys and two sisters. Born to Frederick Austin Walker and Lillian Maud Walker. And Frederick’s — his father’s occupation was a shopkeeper. And again in Southampton. So that’s his father’s role. With regard to Ron in his early days he attended, school wise, he was at the Deanery School in Southampton. He spent, in fact all of his schooling time at the Deanery School. Whether it be the junior school or the senior school.
[recording paused]
SW: With regard to when dad left school. That was in December 1937. He left the Deanery Senior School and he went out into the workplace and secured work with an accountancy firm as a junior clerk. So that was his first steps in to the workplace which, I guess is probably linked to the fact, in some way that his own father was dealing with figures and shop-keeping and retail. That, that type of thing so, and that’s what he did. And then in 1941 he joined the Air Training Corps. Number 424 Squadron in Southampton.
[recording paused]
SW: So after joining the Air Training Corps in December 1941 he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and he joined the RAF because two of his other brothers — family wise they decided that one would join the army, one would join the navy and one would join the RAF. And so Ron joined the RAF in December ‘41. He formed part of a process that was pilot/navigator/bomb aimer. So he was assessed as being most suitable for the bomb aimer role.
[recording paused]
SW: From Southampton, having joined the Volunteer Reserve he went on to ACRC at Lord’s. And then, I believe, on to Scarborough for his initial training. And post that initial training he was then sent out to Canada. A place called Defoe which was a Royal Canadian Air Force, 5 Bombing and Gunnery School. Exactly how much time he spent out there I’m not sure but on his return from Canada he went to the Climate Assimilation School and then to the Heavy Conversion Unit at Marston Moor. And from there on to 102 Squadron at RAF Pocklington in 1942.
[recording paused]
Both Marston Moor and Pocklington are in Yorkshire which is where he spent his time and then moving on from there as a bomb aimer flying Halifaxes with 102 Squadron. With regard to some of the missions they are currently being researched to get finer detail with regards to his ORBs and exactly what happened. I’m waiting for results. The information from Cranwell. But he did his full tour and the information that I do have would have included operations to Cologne, Osnabruck, Sterkrade, Nuremberg, Witten and Mainz and I have some details with regard to the Halifax that he would have flown on those occasions which would have been PP179. And MZ426 on the operation to Mainz. But subject to receiving more information from Cranwell I should be able to fill in a lot more details with regards to his ORBs.
CB: Do you have any information about whether the aircraft was hit by flak or fighters?
SW: I don’t. No. There is nothing that I have by way of the personal scrapbook that I made when he passed away that shows any aircraft that he was either in at the time but it could quite be possible but I don’t have anything that can confirm that.
CB: So accompanying this on a memory stick we’ve a lot of pictures and narrative.
SW: Yes.
CB: Which can be matched up and we’ll top up later.
SW: Yes. Yeah.
CB: Good.
SW: A lot of further information to come with regard to that. That background.
CB: Now, when he ended the war — what rank?
SW: He ended the rank as a warrant officer which we’ve identified from his uniform and the hats and in the photographs that I have. So yeah that was his leaving rank.
CB: Good. Thank you very much. Thank you Steve.

Collection

Citation

Chris Brockbank, “Interview with Stephen Walker,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 6, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/11755.

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