V Group News, February 1944


V Group News, February 1944
5 Group News, February 1944


Five Group Newsletter, number 19, February 1944. Includes a foreword by the Air Officer Commanding, and features about tactics, navigation, air bombing, gardening, sports, training, flying control, H2S, Gee, photography, honours and awards, signals / radar, armament, link trainer hours, war savings, flight engineers, war savings, second thoughts for pilots, aircrew volunteers, engineering, gunnery, motor transport and flying accidents, self help, equipment, who?, air sea rescue, operations and the war effort.

In accordance with the conditions stipulated by the donor, this item is available only at the University of Lincoln.



Temporal Coverage




16 printed sheets


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Base Commander [Initials]

Base Int:


FEBRUARY 1944 * [deleted] CONFIDENTIAL [/deleted] * NUMBER 19


The German night fighters have once again been forced to change their night fighting tactics, and this change has increased the importance of accurate flying, especially as regards airspeeds. Until recently, German fighters were sent to orbit over the city which the German Command thought was the one to be attacked. Owing to the ingenious selection of routes for the Bomber Force these tactics proved a failure and the Germans have now gone over to a new method, which is to give the fighters courses to steer which will intercept the bomber stream.

It is obvious that the greater the length of the stream the greater will be the chances of the fighters coming across some portion of it and it is, therefore, of the utmost importance that that all Captains should maintain the most accurate timing from the concentration point to the target. The aim should be never more than plus or minus 2 minutes from the times laid down. This standard is very far from being reached at present and a proportion fail to achieve better than plus or minus 10 minutes. If some are 10 minutes early and some 10 minutes late the effect is to spread the Lancasters over a distance of 60 miles greater than that planned, i.e. it nearly doubles the length of the bomber stream and increases in this ratio the chances of interception.

Until recently time keeping was beset by many difficulties. Each Navigator was responsible for finding his own wind vectors and from these calculating new ground speeds and E.T.A’s. The majority of aircraft were not equipped with H2S and, therefore, had little chance of finding accurate winds when outside Gee range.

This problem has now been solved by the use of the Command wind broadcast to all aircraft and by the newly introduced moveable T.O.T. In future, provided crews leave the concentration point at the exact time ordered, and fly at the speeds and heights laid down in the Flight Plan, they will arrive at the target at the correct time to commence their attack. Should they encounter winds different from those used for timing the operation, a new T.O.T. based on the new winds will be transmitted by wireless.

Responsibility for time keeping therefore, devolves primarily to the Pilot, who must not only ensure setting course from the concentration point at the right time, but must thereafter keep rigidly to the speeds laid down. In view of the enormous importance which timing has now assumed, a special drive is being undertaken to improve results and to eradicate those errors which still cause aircraft to arrive early or late, or to stray off track.

A report analysing a number of recent operations has been circulated to Squadrons and I hope this will be read by all Captains and Navigators. It shows how apparently trivial mistakes can build up into serious errors and illustrates the need for extreme care and accuracy in every stage of navigation.

Two key points are :-

(i) Captains must leave the concentration point at the exact time ordered.
(ii) They must maintain heights and speeds decided at Flight Planning.


[Underlined] TACTICS AND PLANNING [/underlined]

A new type of attack was introduced this month, whereby the main force and P.F.F. were divided into two forces to attack the same target with an interval of 2 – 2 1/2 hours between zero hours. It is not possible to form conclusions from the limited evidence obtained from the two attacks which were carried out, but two advantages of this scheme are obvious:

(i) P.F.F. Marking of the second phase should be accurate – observation of the location of the first phase M.P.I. providing an opportunity for visual markers to correct any apparent displacement of the attack.
(ii) A carefully timed interval may increase the difficulties of the enemy fighter force, compelling them to refuel either before or during the second phase attack.

Assessment of the results of the Schweinfurt attack, 24/25th February, points to the probable achievement of both these aims. Losses for the second phase were less than the first, although the number of combats was greater in the second phase; the M.P.I. of the attack was in fact nearer the aiming point than the first phase attack. For this type of attack to be successful, however, the temptation to bomb the centre of the fires from the first attack must be strongly resisted, and implicit faith placed in the second phase marking, whether it be coincident with the first attack or some distance away.

[Underlined] BULLSEYES [/underlined]

Bullseyes routed North-East towards Denmark have been very helpful to the bomber force on two occasions during the month. Shielding the bombers’ Southerly courses to Schweinfurt and Augsburg, Bullseye aircraft drew many fighters from South Germany to the North, and comparatively low losses on both those night were undoubtedly partly due to this well planned diversion. Accurate timing on the part of Bullseye aircraft is essential however, if they are to simulate a concentrated bomber stream.

It is thought that Units taking part in Bullseyes are not deriving as much benefit from these exercises as is possible. The need for a more precise interrogation of crews into types of manoeuvre taken against fighter and searchlights is obvious. This Headquarters is examining the various fighter and bomber crew reports available, and endeavour will be made shortly to issue a collated summary of interceptions for each Bullseye, for tactical discussions at Stations.

The following incident which came to light a few days ago reflects the general attitude of crews towards Bullseyes:-

A Polish fighter pilot made three attacks on a bomber during a Bullseye exercise, flashing three “kills”. The fact that there was no response from the bomber during any of the attacks aroused his interest and he finally closed right in with landing lamp on, and this revealed – empty mid-upper and rear turrets.

No accusation is made against crews in this Group, but this sort of thing is most discouraging to the fighter boys, and certainly does not stimulate their interest in bomber tactics. More than this, it shows a stupid lack of interest on the part of the bomber crew. Remember that 50% of a bomber crew’s job is to bring the aircraft and themselves back safely to fight another day. This can hardly be expected if gunners throw away the only chance they have of seeing a fighter attack at night, before meeting a real Hun which flashes cannon shells instead of its landing light.

[Underlined] EARLY WARNING DEVICES [/underlined]

The enthusiasm of Squadrons in Monica and Fishpond training is welcomed, but there is still room for improvement. Wireless Operators must not relax until they are able to interpret the cathode tube from a mere glance. Remember that whilst you are thinking whether to report a blip or not, you can be shot out of the sky. Interpretation and reporting must be immediate and accurate. If you know your drill you can get away with it. Here’s someone who did :-

“At 2127 in the target area Monica indicated a fighter closing rapidly at 1,800 yards. Lancaster corkscrewed at 750 yards. Enemy aircraft then opened fire but tracer went above the Lancaster. Later gunners identified JU.188 at 100 yards range as they fired, tracer ricochetted [sic] off the nose of the fighter. JU.188 claimed as damaged.

[Underlined] Conclusions [/underlined]

(i) The fighter’s burst would obviously have been fatal if the Lancaster had not corkscrewed.
(ii) A standard patter was carried out throughout the attack and a corkscrew was started at the correct range on Monica.

Do [underlined] you [/underlined] know the standard patter and tactics? If not, study 5G/34/Air dated 4th February, 1944 (Appendix “A”) until you talk Monica language in your sleep.

[Underlined] TAILPIECE [/underlined]

The following is quoted without comment with apologies to A.A. Command Intelligence Review :-

“On 24 Feb. according to the Berlin radio, American bombers flew over Switzerland. This radio conversation is then stated to have been exchanged between Swiss A.A. gunners and the USAAF :-

[Underlined] Swiss A.A. [/underlined] “Look out, you are over Switzerland.”

[Underlined] USAAF [/underlined] “We know!”

[Underlined] Swiss A.A. [/underlined] “If you don’t turn back we shall shoot.”

[Underlined] USAAF [/underlined] “We know!”

(Swiss guns open fire)

[Underlined] USAAF “Your A.A. fire is about 1,000 feet too low”

[Underlined] Swiss A.A. [/underlined] “We know!”

[Page break]


[Underlined] BROADCAST W/V’S [/underlined]

Concentration this month was, on the whole, better than last month. Timing with the exception of the raids on LEIPZIG (19/20 February) and SCHWEINFURT (24/25th February) was very good. This is the combined result of the excellent effort of the Windfinders and the good use made of the broadcast w/v’s by all the Navigators.

We still have a long way to go however. Many simple mistakes are being made by Windfinders, e.g. incorrect plotting of air positions, wrong computions, errors made in measuring the w/v, messages wrongly coded, to mention a few. It will be appreciated that if plotting and compution errors are made, incorrect w/v’s will be the result, and therefore, the Senior Met. Officer at H.Q. 5 Group cannot forecast the correct w/v for use of other aircraft. Windfinders have a great responsibility and must make every effort to obtain accurate w/v checks.

The same mistakes are also being made by the rest of the force. A recent O.R.S. report stated that errors in compution are reaching a phenomenal figure. Every effort must be made by Station and Squadron Navigation Officers to eliminate this fault. Compution of true airspeeds presents a big problem to many Navigators , the average error is approximately 5 m.p.h. Calculation of courses is another stumbling block, the average error being 2° or 3°. The combination of these errors has an adverse effect on concentration, besides nullifying much of the good work done by the Windfinders. Watch computions and calculations carefully, Navigators. Also check each calculation at least once.

One word about interpolation. The w/v’s broadcast are those applicable to the mean height band. Therefore, if you are at the top or bottom of the band, the broadcast w/v is not accurate for your height. Interpolation is the answer. Consult the Form 2330 and note the forecasted change in the wind speed and then interpolate and apply the correction to the broadcast w/v. There have been instances of the wind speed increasing by 15 m.p.h. for an increase in height of only 2,000 feet.

Many Navigators do not use the broadcast w/v’s correctly. Some do not use the corrected w/v if it is “within a few degrees and a few miles per hour” of the previous forecast w/v. There are still a few Navigators too, who do not seem capable of applying the corrected w/v when it is given to them. A plotting method to be adopted when using broadcast w/v’s has been described in A.S.I. Nav/14, issued 14.2.44. All Navigators must make sure they are fully conversant with this method. Any suggestions of criticisms are welcomed.

One final word to Windfinders, you did an excellent job last month, the record achieved being 153 w/v on the night of 15/16th February, a very fine effort. Keep this up!!!

[Underlined] AIR POSITION INDICATORS [/underlined]

Many A.P.I’s and A.M.U’s have been issued to the Group during the last month, and we are now in the happy position of having 100% A.P.I’s, though all are not yet fitted.

There is an inherent error in the A.P.I. This is caused by the heating in the Navigator’s cabin. A modification is now being fitted to all A.P.I’s which should reduce the error to less than one percent. It is hoped all aircraft will be fitted with the A.P.I. and the modification by the end of the next moon period.

Con. Units are also being supplied with A.P.I’s; Navigators will soon be arriving at Squadrons fully trained in the use of this instrument.

Trouble is still being experienced when re-setting the Air Position Indicator. Station and Squadron Navigation Officers must have a drive on this procedure. Several Squadrons have suggested methods to be adopted when re-setting the A.P.I; any other suggestions will be welcomed.

[Underlined]LOG AND CHART KEEPING [/underlined]

The present system of log keeping and chart work involves unnecessary duplication of effort. If a Navigator’s chart work is done correctly, less detail is required in the log, and the Navigator can devote more time to his primary object of navigating the aircraft to the target and back to base.

The following entries are considered by some Navigators to be superfluous because the detail already appears on the chart, (a) Position and time of all fixes, pinpoints, D. R. positions and air positions, (b) all w/v’s obtained, tracks made good and position lines.

If these entries were omitted from the log approximately 10 minutes would be saved hourly. Moreover, the Navigator’s attention would not be constantly distracted by having to refer to the log each time a fix, D.R. position etc was obtained. This scheme has been tried successfully by several Navigators in this Group.

All Navigators should consider this suggestion carefully and discuss with the Station and Squadron Navigation Officers.

[Underlined] NAVIGATION “BLACK OF THE MONTH” (No names no Packdrills) [/underlined]

A very good example of what can happen if a Navigator boobs and there is little co-operation in the crew, occurred on a recent sortie in this Group.

The crew in question set course from Base for Position “A”, and arrived there early. It was decided to carry out a dog leg and return to Position “B” (the South Coast). When the dog-leg was almost completed as Gee fix was obtained and course altered for Position “B”. This is where the mistake was made. The Navigator gave the pilot a course to steer of 024°(M) instead of 064°(M). The Navigator then decided to “try his hand” with the H2S. It was his second operational sortie. He was hoping to pick up the English Coast line, but this did not appear. Just before E.T.A. the Navigator decided that “something was wrong”, and obtained a Gee fix. This placed the aircraft a great many miles North of Position “B”. The mistake was immediately realised and course altered for Position “B”. The aircraft arrived at this position 19 minutes after the latest time, and so the sortie was abandoned.

Apart from the glorious “boob” of the Navigator, the pilot should have realised that the course of 024° (M) was greatly in error. This is a warning to all pilots and navigators. Had the pilot studied his “Captains of aircraft” map, he would have spotted the error in the course given. Pilots should always check a course with the Navigator if it sounds “phoney”. The Navigator [underlined] must always [/underlined] recheck all his calculations and computions.


It was stated in last month’s News that the Astro Compass was being modified. This has now been done with the result that only the Pole Star can be used for checking the aircraft’s course. The advantage is that the instrument is very much simpler to use. No calculation is necessary, the observer merely rotates the bearing plate until the Pole Star is in the sights, and reads off the aircraft’s course against the Red pointer.

Trials carried out by No. 49 Squadron, Fiskerton, have proved successful. The compass was found very simple to use. The checking of the aircraft’s course is now a very simple task, and can be done by any member of the crew, as no calculations are necessary.

The difficult task of finding a good position for the Astro Compass still remains however; numerous trials have been carried out but with little or no success. Can [underlined] YOU [/underlined] help to solve the problem? Remember the Astro Compass can also be used for obtaining bearings, so bear this in mind when you are hunting for a new position.

[Underlined] NAVIGATION QUIZ [/underlined]

1. What part does the Navigator play in (a) Emergency procedure, (b) S.O.S. procedure?

2. If you are 10 miles or more off track by how many degrees would you alter course to regain track?

3. What is the procedure for obtaining a Gee fix if either the “B” or “C” Strobe is missing?

4. You are not certain of your position and suddenly red flares are seen ahead of you. (a) What does this mean? (b) What immediate action would you take?

Answers to last month’s Quiz

1. (a) 3500 ft. (b) 2500 ft. (c) 1000 ft. (d) 5000 ft.

2. (a) Section “E”. (b) Section “N”.

3. Lincoln!! (by approx. 100 miles)

4. The Navigator should immediately co-operate with the W/Op, and attempt to home on to the dinghy. (The W/Op. on hearing the S.O.S. will listen for an acknowledgement from the ground listening station, and if this is not heard he will pass the intercepted message on to M/F Section “J”, saying that it has been picked up and giving his own call sign etc but not his position (this will be known by Section “J” from the aircraft’s own transmission)).

5. (i) Change the fuse. (ii) Check [underlined] all [/underlined] leads.

6. The creeping line ahead method of search is best under all conditions (see Appendix “A” to A.S.I. Ops.1/18).

[Underlined] UNION NEWS [/underlined]

S/Ldr. H.C. Lobb – B.N.O. Swinderby to 8 Group P.F.F.
S/Ldr. H.L. Creeth – Radar/Nav 5 Group to B.N.O. Swinderby.
F/Lt. N.W. Mould, DFC – 57 Nav.Offr. to S.N.O. Dunholme.
F/O. J. Simms, DFC – 57 Sqdn appointed Sqdn. Nav. Officer.
F/Lt. G. Crowe, DFC – 106 Nav.Officer to S.N.O. Metheringham.
F/Lt. W.J. Beeston – Attached to 5 Group O.R.S. posted to Flying Trg. Command.

5 Group News. No. 19. February, 1944. Page 2.

[Page break]


[Underlined] CALLING ALL PILOT BOMBING OFFICERS ! [/underlined]

The following paragraphs are the precis of an address by Air/Cdr. Patch, C.B.E., to the first Conference of Bombing Officers :-

The post of Flight Bombing Officer was created to improve bombing in 5 Group. Enthusiasm of such officers is essential, and should be directed to keeping bombing in the forefront by constant pressure on Squadron Commanders and Flight Commanders. The Squadron Bombing Leader is able to deal with the bombing problems of the Air Bomber but he has difficulty in convincing pilots that their ability should be shown in bombing flying rather than aerobatics. In 4 engined bomber aircraft, Pilots should concentrate in the first place on flying accurately over a given point on the ground. Next, Pilots must appreciate that on any given heading the bomb must be released from one point in the air. It requires most skilful flying to direct the aircraft through this point. Analysis of bombing errors showed that, excluding Vector Errors, 90% of the errors were due to bad flying, in particular in tracking and aircraft “skid”. The Mark XIV Bombsight has been designed to give tactical freedom but it is essential that a steady approach be made, accuracy depending on the final steady run. There must be no sudden alteration of aircraft attitude, no skidding, and complete accuracy of tracking.

Flight Bombing Officers must think over these practical points and decide how best to put it over to the Pilots. They must point out to Pilots that their aircraft are, in reallity [sic], sighting platforms from which, with the help of a complicated piece of mechanism – the Mark XIV Bombsight – they are to direct a tremendous bomb load against an enemy target. The conception of “area bombing” has caused bad bombing flying. If we can attain precision, not only against small targets but also large cities, we can reduce the number of raids required to obliterate Berlin and those other vital targets we must destroy.

Under operational conditions now being developed, and with the help of improving P.F.F. technique, we should be able to achieve greater accuracy at night in attacking a point of light, that is a T.I. or Wanganui Flare. The Bombing Officer’s job was to make Pilots “think bombing”, “talk bombing” and “fly bombing” until the time is reached that over the pint of beer in the Mess the main conversation is bombing accuracy.

[Underlined] N.B. [/underlined] The first Bombing Officers Air Staff Instruction was issued 11th January, 1944, No. BL/15.

[Underlined] AIR BOMBERS’ QUIZ [/underlined]

1. Why should incendiaries not be dropped by the Main Force before Zero Hour on a Newhaven attack?

2. If an engine cut on take-off, and it was necessary to lighten the aircraft quickly, what action could the Air Bomber suggest concerning the bomb load?

3. If you were carrying a 1000 lb bomb on No. 5 Station, and it was not pre-selected on the Connell Pre-Selector, would it be released by Jettison action?

4. Why should the camera [underlined] NOT [/underlined] be operated before bombing?


[Table of Bombs dropped and errors found by category and Squadron]


Squadron or Con. Unit Pilot Air Bomber Navigator Error at 20,000 ft.

9 P/O Blow F/Sgt Smith Sgt Hurrell 131 yds
44 P/O Charlesworth Sgt Frederuck F/Sgt Hill 148 yards
P/O Butt Sgt Whiter F/O Sparrow 143 yds
49 W/O Jones Sgt Blackham F/Sgt Stevenson 123 yds
61 P/O Nixon F/Sgt Garrett F/Sgt Devenish 140 yds
106 P/O O’Leary F/Sgt Snowden F/Sgt Williams 142 yds
207 P/O Briggs F/O Bujac P/O Murray 147 yds
P/O Barnett Sgt Hazel F/O Anderson 61 yds
463 P/O McKnight F/O Johnson P/O Isham 140 yds
619 Sgt Wadsworth Sgt Bengston Sgt Shenton 72 yds
1660 Sgt Newman Sgt Outram Sgt Ratner 132 yds
F/Sgt Riddle F/O Larsen Sgt Glulow 140 yds
1661 Sgt Grantham Sgt Young Sgt Hobbs 145 yds
F/Sgt Monaghan Sgt Wand Sgt Philpott 147 yds

617 Squadron obtained 18 exercises, error less than 150 yards, the best 3 being

F/Lt Wilson F/O Finlay F/O Parkin 55 yds
F/Lt Kearns F/O Daniels F/O Barclay 60 yds
P/O Knight F/Sgt Bell W/O Giller 57 yds


[Table of Training exercises by Squadron]

[Underlined] LEADER COMPETITION [/underlined]

F/Lt Walmsley, 619 Squadron, made the only, and most creditable, effort in the Leader Competition, his Bombing Error at 20,000 feet being 79 yards!!! Congratulations.

5 Group News. No. 19. February, 1944. Page 3.

[Page break]


[Underlined] SQUADRON BOMBING COMPETITION [/underlined]

8 Squadrons qualified in this month’s competition, with results as follows, all errors being converted to 20,000 fett.

[Underlined] Pilots & Air Bombers Navigators [/underlined]

1st 106 Sqdn – 88 yds 1st 207 Sqdn -108 yds
2nd 50 Sqdn -125 yds 2nd 619 Sqdn -138 yds
3rd 61 Sqdn -141 yds 3rd 61 Sqdn -169 yds
4th 619 Sqdn -147 yds 4th 467 Sqdn -170 yds
5th 9 Sqdn -157 yds 5th 9 Sqdn -174 yds
6th 44 Sqdn -166 yds 6th 50 Sqdn -188 yds
7th 207 Sqdn -189 yds 7th 106 Sqdn -216 yds
8th 467 Sqdn -201 yds 8th 44 Sqdn -231 yds
9th 630 Sqdn -175 yds 9th 630 Sqdn -170 yds

(630 Sqdn completed [underlined] 5 [/underlined] exercises only)

The following Squadrons completed 1 exercise only.

10th 463 Sqdn -86 yds 10th 463 Sqdn – 95 yds
11th 49 Sqdn- 90 yds 11th 57 Sqdn -162 yds
12th 57 Sqdn-245 yds 12th 49 Sqdn -291 yds

Congratulations to 106 Squadron who have now won the Bombing Competition for 3 successive months. Nos.9, 50, and 61 Squadrons have all improved their positions considerably but 619 have relinquished their customary “runners up” place in the table. We expect a maximum entry for March and a keen effort on all Squadrons part to topple 106 from the top.

[Underlined] “GEN” FROM WAINFLEET [/underlined]

The following news items are provided by the Range Staff at Wainfleet.

1. It is emphatically denied that the entire Night Staff applied for compassionate posting after a night programme carried out at maximum height by No. 5 L.F.S.

2. [Underlined] Heard over the R/T [/underlined]

R/T Operator – “Hullo ----- Please give me a TT.”

Pilot of A/C – “Time over Target 22.26.”

[Underlined] Note: [/underlined] A TT is a tuning transmission.

3. [Underlined] Advice to Crews. [/underlined]

(i) Conform to the established R/T procedure.
(ii) Be sure you burn the correct Downward Recognition Light during NIGHT exercises.
(iii) Pass times of strike and headings QUICKLY after the exercise.
(iv) Wait for silence on R/T before calling the Range.
(v) When you query errors given by the range REMEMBER please that a Direct Hit from 20,000 feet gives the Range Staff as much pleasure as it gives you !!

4. [Underlined] A Thought for the Month. [/underlined]

DO make sure you know which target you are to bomb !! (Many Wainfleet workmen have of late doubled their insurance).

P.S. A certain Mosquito from a certain well-known Group dropped a practice bomb which hit a lorry standing in front of the Range Headquarters. A 3,500 yards error.

[Underlined] “GEN” FROM THE SQUADRONS [/underlined]

[Underlined] 44 Squadron [/underlined] (F/Lt Lowry) have introduced the Pilot’s Miniature Route Chart for the use of Air Bombers. Thus a single map of the complete route is available and the defended localities and route markers can be recorded. Its use is primarily for dark nights when map reading using the topographical maps is difficult.

[Underlined] 9 Squadron [/underlined] (F/Lt. Bell, DF.C.) has originated an excellent scheme with the use of operational 3073’s. After each operation a chart is made out which shows on one sheet of paper each Bomb Aimer’s picture of the markers bombed. The full sequence of marking in the order of the times of bombing is thus available to each Air Bomber who can compare his attack and estimation of distances with the other Bomb Aimers in the Squadron.

[Underlined] 619 Squadron [/underlined] (F/Lt. Walmesly, D.F.C.) states that of the 300 practice bombs dropped this year, not one has been aimed below 5000 feet. Further they claim to be the only Unit in the Group (yea, verily, even in the Command) with such a record.

[Underlined] 57 Squadron [/underlined] (F/L Keates) reports that training was concentrated on to H2S and Gunnery. Blind Bombing with H 2 S had taken a prominent part in this training.

The Squadron Bombing Leader has compiled a graph consisting of nine curves on one sheet, which shows the forwards travel in yards and seconds of groundspeed of all bombs with T.V. between 420 and 1900 feet per second, for specific heights and groundspeeds. The groups apply to the selected heights 15000, 20000 and 25000 feet and the curves in each group cover height and groundspeeds 200, 210 and 220 m.p.h. Any other combinations of height and groundspeeds could be used. All information has been extracted from 5 Group Armament Training Notes, Part 1.

The advantage of this graph is that all information is contained in one graph and considerable time and labour is saved in calculating time intervals or compiling or checking preselector figures for any kind of load within the limitations of T.V., heights and speeds selected.

[Underlined] BOMBING LEADERS CORNER [/underlined]

F/O Billington has succeeded F/Lt Bray as Bombing Leader to 207 Squadron.

F/O. Astbury, D.F.C., moves up to F/Lt. Bombing Leader, 617 Squadron, and is joined by F/O. Harden, D.F.C., and F/O. Walker, Bombing Leaders from 1660 Conversion Unit and 61 Squadron respectively.

Congratulations to F/Lt. Bell (9 Squadron) F/Lt. Wake (106 Squadron) and F/Lt. Walmsley (619 Squadron) on the award of D.F.C’s.

Congratulations also to P/O Ball (1661 Con Unit) 3rd on No. 76 Bombing Leader’s Course with an “A” category and P/O Watford (1661 Con Unit) on gaining 1st place on No. 27 A.B.I’s Course.

F/Sgt. Coates (9 Squadron) obtained “B” category on No. 76 Bombing Leaders’ Course. F/O Lyons (61 Squadron) was 9th on No. 75 Course with a “B” Pass.


Despite February weather, the Command planted no less than 1647 vegetables, the second highest total for any month. As all Lancasters were busy discomforting the enemy by more direct methods it fell mainly to the Stirlings of 3 Group, followed by Halifaxes of 4 and 6 Groups and, on a smaller but useful scale, Wellingtons of 1 Group, to achieve this mighty total.

KIEL BAY received over 35%. The French U-boat bases about 20%, and the Western German Estuaries, the Kattegat and Channel also received good measure. Small numbers were planted off the French South Western Iron Ore Ports and in Oslo Fjord.

A Swedish newspaper reports the closing of the ports and shipping channels as an immediate result of 4 and 6 Groups’ visits to the last named. Photographic evidence is already available of the effects of the great effort on Kiel Bay. It shows one 6000 ton liner sunk and lying on her side, and also great congestion of shipping, indicating beyond doubt that traffic has been stopped for a time. It is hard to over estimate the importance of Kiel, which is the focal point of all German traffic in Northern Waters; the annual turnover is 29,000,000 tons of war material, nearly one half of which is iron ore imported from Norway and Sweden. The amount handled [underlined] DAILY [/underlined] would fill 12 1/2 miles of railway trucks. One effect of heavy and sustained mining against this traffic would be to force the enemy to use the sea route to the West of Denmark down to the Elbe and Ems. In hard winters this is done for us by ice in the Baltic, but this winter we have been let down by this ally.

Two interesting points arise from the month’s work. First, nearly all of it has been carried out from high level with great success. A variety of techniques have been used including:- The use of P.F.F. methods (both by aircraft of that force and H 2 S aircraft from the other Groups, marking pinpoints for those not so fitted); the use of the Mark XIV Bombsight when visual means have been possible; and dropping entirely on H 2 S. Secondly, a start has been made in the mining of the enemy’s inner harbours.

We have the task in 5 Group of studying and keeping up to date with the new methods which are still in an experimental stage, and therefore, subject to frequent changes, so that when the call comes for either a small or large gardening effort we can carry it out with our traditional efficiency.

49 Squadron have already been informed of the success of their accurate attack from high level with H 2 S on the 5/6th January.

[Boxed] [Underlined] PILOTS – TAKE IT EASY! [/underlined]

Use your throttles LEISURELY at all times. Do not open up with a rush. You won’t get off the ground any quicker if you “ram” the throttles open, and you are more liable to swing. Make any correction with engines smoothly. There’s no such thing as a “short burst” of engine in proper flying. Make your maxim “EASE your throttles open. EASE your throttles back”. That applies to all aircraft including the Stirling, Lancaster and the Tiger Moth – if your Station Commander lets you get your hands on it. [/boxed]


[Page break]


Bad weather rendered most sports pitches u/s during the last few days of February, but there has been a full quota of matches played in spite of this. Attention is again drawn to the desirability of each Station submitting its sports resume two days or so before month end, to allow ample time for publication in this News. Several Stations have not submitted resumes this month, and so the picture is necessarily incomplete.

[Underlined] FOOTBALL [/underlined]

[Underlined] SCAMPTON [/underlined] proved unbeatable during the month, playing six games of which they won four (including two Matz Cup matches). However, Lincoln Rovers held them to a 2 – 2 draw, and Waddington to a 3 – 3 draw. Both these games were in the Lincoln League, Division 1, and Scampton could ill afford to drop these points since the League Championship is a neck and neck finish between them and Lincoln Rovers.

[Underlined] FISKERTON [/underlined] had four Station games of which they drew one home game with R.A.F. Wickenby. The inter-section competition is now in full swing.

[Underlined] DUNHOLME [/underlined] beat Fiskerton at home, but lost to Ruston Bucyrus, A.V. Roe and R.A.F. Wickenby. Four games were played in the Inter-Section League.

[Underlined] EAST KIRKBY [/underlined] beat Spilsby but lost their Matz Cup game against Skellingthorpe 5 – 1. The Section League produced 5 games, and in addition there were 7 ‘friendlies’, the aircrew cadets team winning all three of their games.

[Underlined] CONINGSBY [/underlined] Inter-Section games were plentiful. The outstanding match of the month was the Matz Round One win against Woodhall. This has been followed by a 3 – 2 victory against Dunholme, taking Coningsby into the Semi-finals.

[Underlined] METHERINGHAM [/underlined] scored a sweeping 10 – 0 win against Bardney in the Matz Cup Round One. They proved it no fluke by holding Waddington to a 2 – 2 draw. They now boast a “Reserve XI”. In the Inter-Section events, 5 games were played. “A” Flight have a strong side and should go well towards winning the trophy generously presented by S/Ldr. Whattam.

[Underlined] SKELLINGTHORPE [/underlined] had 5 Station games and 9 in the Inter-Section events, while there were a further 3 games restricted to aircrew personnel.

[Underlined] SWINDERBY [/underlined] XI beat Winthorpe and Wigsley, and were unlucky to lose 3 – 5 to Scampton in Round Two of the Matz Cup. It was a splendid effort at “giant killing”.

[Underlined] SYERSTON [/underlined] had 3 games of which they won two, including a 4 – 0 win against a R.A.F. side from Fulbeck.

[Underlined] THE MATZ CUP [/underlined]

The second round saw Coningsby, Scampton and Skellingthorpe emerge as semi-finalists, defeating Dunholme, Swinderby and East Kirkby respectively. Winthorpe and Metheringham have still to decide their event. The semi-final draw is as follows:-



Both matches will be played on neutral ground at dates to be announced in G.R.O’s.

[Underlined] RUGBY [/underlined]

[Underlined] 44 SQUADRON [/underlined] now boasts a strong side. They beat the Air Crew School 6 – 3, and ran up an astronomical total of 68 – 6 against Lincoln Home Guard. The Home Guard did better in the second game and held them to 18 – 6.

[Underlined] CONINGSBY [/underlined] were unlucky in having to cancel all Rugger games due to flying.

[Underlined] METHERINGHAM [/underlined] completed only one out of four games, losing 5 – 0 to 7th K.O.S.B. after an extremely hard game.

[Underlined] SWINDERBY [/underlined] won three out of three games. A hard struggle with their old rivals, 93 M.U., produced a 3 – 0 win, and Winthorpe and Lincoln Home Guard were beaten 14 – 3 and 18 – 0 respectively.

[Underlined] SYERSTON [/underlined] XV is doing well and won all three games played, Magnus School and Newark R.F.C. 9 – 6, and Rufford Home Guard 24 – 6.

[Underlined] LANCASTER SEVEN-A-SIDES [/underlined]

This competition is fast developing into a 53 Base monopoly. 9, 463 and 467 have all concluded their Squadron events now, producing F/Lt. Hadland’s team, P/O. McKnight’s team and P/O. Simpson’s team as the respective winners. In these three Squadron events, 65 crews took to the field. 50 Squadron are following suit, and three games have so far been played. Other Squadrons please note and “get cracking”! A complete Squadron event can be decided in two afternoons, and the physical “uplift” is amazing – try it and see.

[Underlined] HOCKEY [/underlined]

[Underlined] SCAMPTON [/underlined] won three out of four games, suffering their only defeat at the hands of 5 Group in a “mixed” game.

[Underlined] EASY [sic] KIRKBY [/underlined] had one station event, losing to Spilsby Town. The Aircrew Cadets “A” and “B” sides fought two very close games.

[Underlined] CONINGSBY [/underlined] lost to the Green Howards, and held K.O.S.B. to a 3 all draw.

[Underlined] SWINDERBY [/underlined] mixed side beat 5 Group 7 – 3. The Station side beat Lincoln Home Guard, but lost to Wigsley.

[Underlined] SYERSTON [/underlined] lost 2 – 4 to O.C.T.U. Newark, but won a mixed game versus Winthorpe R.A.S.C. by 3 – 1.

[Underlined] 5 GROUP [/underlined] mixed side defeated Wigsley 7 – 5 on Swinderby ground, lost to Swinderby 3 – 7, and enjoyed a 3 – 2 win against Scampton.

[Underlined] GENERAL [/underlined]

49 Squadron now allot one afternoon per week to physical “fitness”. Wood-chopping, country walks (pubs out of bounds) and gardening are all featured. Swimming at Lincoln is laid on each Tuesday, and for ground staff on Sundays. All that is needed now is the completion of the “gym”.

Dunholme R.A.F. Regiment keep up their water worthiness by attending Lincoln Baths.

Coningsby gym is now in full swing for badminton, boxing and gymnastics.

Metheringham gym will open this month for badminton, boxing, fencing and P.T.

[Underlined] COMPETITIONS [/UNDERLINED] The Wines Rugby Cup Competition has been launched, also a new event in 5 Group –“5 Group Mixed Hockey Trophy”. There should be some keen games in both these events. New events need new trophies. Two are needed – a Lancaster seven-s-side trophy, and a Mixed Hockey Trophy. Benefactors please contact F/Lt. Stott, Headquarters 5 Group (Ext. 54)

[Underlined] CRICKET [/underlined]

Spring brings the cuckoo and cricket, a 5 Group Cricket League is being formed. It is hoped that every Station will enter a team. Details are being circulated.


Training on Stirlings and Lancasters in 51 Base pressed on during the month and 66 crews were posted to Squadron.

The Stirling programme has a few teething troubles and but for this there would have been a larger output of crews. Ignition and electrical failures were particularly troublesome and infectious.

The snow fall at the end of the month involved all available man and machine power on a new and unwelcome form of training – shovelling snow – and prevented a last minute spurt in training.

The incoming crews judged by ground training standards are quite good, and the Aircrew School at Scampton did a lot of the spade work in giving them a sound basic knowledge of 5 Group tactics and operational procedure.

H 2 S training has been reorganised in the Base. The present aim is to train selected crews during the ordinary Conversion Unit course. Ground training is being given, and an initial demonstration flight arranged as early as possible in the course so that the cross country exercises (day and might) are flown using H 2 S as a navigation aid. No practice bombing is now being attempted. Air Training has been held up by the unserviceability of the H 2 S Stirling.

The Lancaster Finishing School at Syerston has so far done no H 2 S training, but a synthetic trainer has been promised by Bomber Command. When it is installed crews will be able to keep in practice by dry swims before passing out to H 2 S Squadrons.

With the disbandment of No.1485 (Bombing and Gunnery) Flight, the training of Air Gunners has been incorporated in the normal Conversion Unit Course. When No.1690 (Bomber) Defence Training Flight begins its work it is hoped that the former high standard of training can be maintained.

Flight Engineers are passing through the Stirling Units twice to give them the maximum possible flying time before going to Lancaster Finishing School. This ensures that they are well experienced in the air by the time they reach their operational Squadrons.

Crews under training took part in a large scale Command Bullseye which was laid on as a diversionary feature for the operation against Stuttgart on the night 20th February. The diversion achieved the success hoped for and attracted a large proportion of the weight of the German Fighter Force away from the area in which the Squadrons were operating.

5 Group News. No. 19 February, 1944. Page 5.

[Page break]

H 2 S

H 2 S training has progressed favourably during the month, but unfortunately once again training in blind bombing has been held up due to bad weather and cloud over targets. Good use is being made of synthetic trainers now installed at 49, 57 and 630 Squadrons and 1660 and 1661 Conversion Units. Navigators and Bomb Aimers should look upon this ground training as an essential part of their syllabus, and endeavour to make as much use of the synthetic trainer as navigational and blind bombing aid in the limited time they have.

It is gratifying to note that many crews are becoming increasingly aware of the value of H 2 S as a navigational aid and should realise the amount of work that is carried out by the Radar Sections for their benefit. Many set operators can help to decrease this work by reporting all faults personally to either the Radar Officer or one of the Radar Mechanics, and not merely to one of the ground crew who pass it on in hushed tones to the Radar Section, but with no explanations regarding unserviceability. You, the set operators, are the ones to let the section know the faults experienced and their symptoms. It may mean the difference between a “ropey” or good set on the next flight. Cultivate this habit of personal contact and you will earn the gratitude of the Radar Section and probably pick up some useful tips.

Some operators are having trouble with poor reception. This is a complaint particularly common amongst crews under training. Like ourselves, components of H 2 S have age limits, and their deterioration may cause poor reception; but remember the set can easily go off tune and it is necessary to check tuning whenever doubts arise regarding the quality of reception.

Cupolas are also liable to give trouble with reception. Extraneous matter which has a habit of collecting in the cupola will materially affect reception, giving rise to a mushy picture. Set operators are advised to see that the cupola is clean both inside and out before every flight.

Does this happen in YOUR aircraft?



Plotting charts are now being revised every three months to give the H 2 S operator as accurate a view as possible of the shape of towns from which he should receive responses. Every set operator can help in the revising of those charts by noting any peculiarity in town shapes and passing the information to this Headquarters by means of the usual report made at interrogation.

Know your Landmarks. The following are well known H 2 S landmarks on the continent.

Can you identify them?

[Three drawn outline maps]


Coningsby tops the list, with Waddington a close second; it is encouraging to note that landing times of all Stations are getting more consistent, and the overall landing time of 2.75 minutes is an encouraging improvement on January’s figures. It is hoped to see, each month, a further reduction so that the Group can record an overall average of below two minutes per aircraft.

In planning operations it can now be assumed with confidence that 5 Group aircraft, sometimes in excess of 200, can be landed within one hour of the return of the first machine. Compare this period of landing with that of 12 months ago, when smaller numbers of aircraft were concerned, and when a landing hook up often used to last 80 or 90 minutes. This reduction in the landing period has meant greater safety for the crews, less fuel to be carried, and a greater tonnage of bombs available for delivery.

Reports from Eastern airfields indicate that aircraft are not adhering strictly to lattice line approach procedure. This is essentially a part of the quick landing scheme and rigid compliance with this part of the scheme must be stressed to all crews.

[Underlined] FEBRUARY LANDING TIMES [/underlined]

[Table of landing times and averages by Station]


Rather poor range on Gee was experienced in operations this month, and once again XF transmissions were little used by Navigators. However it is apparent that there are still a few navigators who endeavour to get the best out of their sets and try all available means to secure fixes at maximum range. Success in track keeping and timing is the result of their efforts.

Other Navigators seem more concerned with finding reasons why ranges cannot be improved without endeavouring to improve them. This attitude is more effective than any jammer that the Hun can produce. It is therefore, up to every Navigator to use Gee to its actual and not its apparent limits. Plots of fixes made on the last three operations show the distance between the worst and best fixes to be 200 miles or more. Many of the worst ranges come from non-H2S Squadrons in which Gee is the sole navigational aid. Gee Trainers and Jammers are available on all Squadrons and Conversion Units and, therefore, it is up to every navigator, whether on Squadron or Conversion Unit, to carry out maximum training in Gee, particularly in the reading of signals through jamming.

One general complaint is that the Series3, Southern Chain miniature lattice charts do not afford full coverage and many fixes cannot be plotted. Charts covering such areas are to be issued in the near future, but in the meantime the remedy is in the Navigator’s own hands. Continue your lattice lines in pencil along the margins of the those charts you have, covering areas where fixes might be obtained, but no chart coverage is available.

With the constant lack of interest in XF transmissions, enquiries have been made, and many Navigators complain that they find it difficult to insert the XF unit into the receiver and use it in its present position. If this difficulty is arising now, it will be even greater when the new RF unit is issued, because of the attention required to secure maximum results. A little perseverance now may help in the future. However, how about a few ideas on the repositioning of the Gee receiver to obviate this complaint? They will be welcome at the Headquarters providing they are practicable.

Navigators of 630 and 57 Squadrons visited a Gee transmitter station during the month, and were given an idea of the ground organisation necessary to provide so valuable a navigational aid. The visit was much appreciated by all concerned, and it is hoped that other Squadrons and the Conversion Units will take advantage of this facility in the future.

[Underlined] FLYING ACCIDENTS [/underlined]

(Continued from page12 Col 3)

investigations into them are not yet complete. One aircraft dived to avoid another and crashed in the funnel. Another failed to get airborne by the time it reached the airfield boundary. The undercarriage hit the hedge and the Lancaster crashed. Another hit a hill while the pilot was flying low in bad weather. In others the causes are still obscure.

15 avoidable accidents occurred in 51 Base during February, of which 8 were taxying accidents. This means that more than half of the avoidable accidents in the Group occurred at Conversion Units and No.5 L.F.S.

5 Group News. No. 19. February, 1944. Page 6.

[Page break]


January’s low percentage of photographic failures was not maintained during the month of February, and the following increases occurred:-

Photographic + .02%
Armament + 2.1%
Electrical + 1.07%

It is curious that a large number of failures occurred on the first raids following the stand down period. It is expected that technical efficiency should then be at its peak, as ample time is available to effect thorough maintenance and servicing of camera equipment etc. That this is not so, points to the fact that this period is not being used to the best advantage.

During the stand down period N.C.O’s must ensure that everything possible is done to produce Type 35 Controls and camera gearboxes which are without fault. Particular attention must be given to timing the camera sequence – control contact strips – gear box spring teeth and film measuring roller needles; this applies particularly to newly issued equipment.

Photographic film processing and printing is taking [underlined] far too long to accomplish [/underlined] and NCO photographers are to check the internal section organisation. Delay always occurs when numerous Ground Detail photographs are obtained, indicating that the organisation is based on having a minimum amount of printing instead of the maximum. Station Intelligence Officers need prints to plot with a minimum of delay. Printing should therefore, be arranged to allow the S.I.O. to have the prints in batches instead of waiting to complete the whole of the work.

Every photographer must realise the importance of carrying out his tasks, with the [underlined] utmost speed and efficiency [/underlined]. The aircrews have completed their tasks, but delay in producing photographic evidence of the effect of the raid is comparable to sabotaging their efforts.

The use of Composite film (Kodacolour and H.S. Night) was carried a stage further during the month and it is hoped that in the near future other Squadrons will be using this method of recording attacks.

The problem of operating the camera when the bomb doors are opened prior to the bombing run is now considered to be solved. Aircraft of 44 Squadron are carrying out final tests which have so far been successful and the advantage of the circuit now under trial is that it does not impose exacting Drill upon the pilot and Air Bomber.

[Table of Photographic Analysis including Target Conditions and Failure Analysis by Squadron]


The following immediate Awards have been approved during the month:-











The following non-immediate Awards have been approved during the month:-







49 SQUADRON (Continued)


















5 Group News. No. 19. February, 1944. Page 7.

[Page break]


[Underlined] RADAR WORKSHOPS [/underlined]

Although none of the Radar Workshops in this Group have quite reached the stage depicted in the picture on the opposite page, it does show what can befall a section if it is left to sweep itself out after you have all packed up for the day. It is surprising what a few minutes at the end of the day can do if everyone pitches in before leaving for town. It also helps to ward off that hopeless feeling one experiences in the morning on entering a section which looks as if our bombers had got a bit off track (Gee u/s?).

Odd pieces of timber can be scrounged on the Station (NOT packing cases – which have now supplanted the gold standard), and with these can be built trays for spare components which we trust you have saved from detonated sets and other salvage material.

Test equipment should be treated with the greatest respect and kept in its proper place when not in use.

An up-to-date serviceability and fitting board in the office or workshop can save no end of trouble and time for all concerned when information is required at short notice. It keeps all mechanics posted too, and they will add that extra little drive which helps to make the picture the board portrays a rosier one.

General interest diagrams – excluding polar diagrams of Dorothy Lamour and other homing devices – should be neatly displayed on notice boards and walls.

The use of lino is nullified if the mud is not left outside, so get hold of those foot scrapers and door mats which the equipment section will be only too pleased to provide.

So let your aim be to keep your Radar workshop clean and reasonably tidy, so that the priceless equipment you have the privilege of handling may have the best chance of ensuring more bombs on the target.

[Underlined] WIRELESS OPERATIONS (AIR) [/underlined]

[Underlined] Codes [/underlined]

The month of February saw the last of our old standby, the “X” book, and in its place comes the A.P.3026. This will be easier to understand if Wireless Operators (Air) take the trouble to study its contents during the odd spare moment.

The new edition of C.D. 0250(16) should also receive a little of your attention, as the contents have been enlarged and the spare groups decreased. Remember that any time spent in studying these new editions might well save a frantic turning over of pages and a panic in the air.

Tests will be carried out on the Group W/T exercises, embodying the additions to the C.D.0250. Operators are reminded that this is an excellent means of getting up to date with anything new, and if you are not on the exercise you can always learn something from the logs of those who were taking part.

[Underlined] Finding Messages [/underlined]

All Wireless Operators (Air) are to be congratulated on the splendid work done during the month in connection with the “wind finding scheme”, especially on the night 15/16th February when 153 wind messages were received from aircraft. There was great joy and jubilation in the Signals Cabin at this Headquarters, for the “Back Room Boys” are always in the show.

[Underlined] Tail Warning Devices [/underlined]

Training in the use of the various early warning devices should now be standardised throughout the Group, but there are Squadrons who have not sent to the Group Signals Leader their version of the synthetic training cards. These cards are the best method of obtaining a quick snappy reaction to what is seen on the screen. The combined efforts of O.R.S., T.R.E., B.D.U. and the Radar “Kings” produced a piece of equipment designed to aid the bomber crews to beat the Hun when he is met in the air. Are [underlined] you [/underlined] tackling the job with the enthusiasm it deserves? Remember, TRAINING is the only answer.

A fault finding table for Visual Monica has been prepared and will be issued to Squadrons for inclusion in the current fault finding booklet carried by all Wireless Operators (Air).

[Underlined] Lighting of Operator’s Cabin [/underlined]

Quite recently the old complaint of lighting in the Wireless Operator’s position has cropped up again. Now, at this present stage of the war, it is quite impossible to start producing modified lighting on a large scale, and it must be left to the initiative of the individual to produce something for himself. The maintenance section of No.50 Squadron produced and excellent lighting system for the T.R.1154 and are working on the R.1155. Come along fellows, don’t leave it to one – try saving your breath on complaints and using it up on some action.

[Underlined] “Brace up” [/underlined]

Now for a final word to all airborne “key bashers”. Things are likely to get cracking in the very near future. Can you say with a clear conscience that you are ready to meet any emergency? [Underlined] If [/underlined] not, now is the time to GO TO IT INT QRL QRV K 2359

[Underlined] Stop Press [/underlined]

A tip from No.630 Squadron. Switch on your T. R. 1196 when going in on your bombing run, and then, should your intercom. go unserviceable, the change-over can be effected immediately.


There has been an alarming increase in the percentage of Signals failures during February and whilst it is true that almost 50% (13 out of a total of 29) were due to definite failures of components in the equipment, it is felt that this number could have been reduced, particularly those of a recurring nature. Special attention should be paid to the starter relay contacts in the Power Unit type 35 pending the introduction of the new type with silvered contacts in a more accessible position. Faults in the switch type 170 in the fighter warning circuit are nearly always due to an insufficient allowance of slack in the connecting cable exerting a pull on the switch during the rotation of the turret, causing a displacement of the switch contacts. This results in a point contact and an intermittent high resistance connection.

There were six failures reported in which no fault could be found. Five affected intercom, four of which were contributory to early returns. Every member of a crew can assist in diagnosing obscure intercom faults by remembering the details and symptoms of the failure and passing them on to the Signals Officer.

The object of reporting failure is to ascertain the reason why the failure occurred, and if possible to originate a modification or maintenance instruction which will tend to eliminate the type of failure. This object is defeated unless all failures are conscientiously reported, and the number of failures reported by a Squadron does not reflect upon its maintenance efficiency, but rather indicates a conscientious devotion to detail, in an effort to reduce the number of failures and increase the delivery of goods to the customer.

[Underlined] GEE [/underlined]

Gee remains one of the most serviceable of all Radar devices; out of 1115 sorties flown, 94% of the sets were completely trouble free. This is a very good effort, but with all the experience obtained on this equipment there is no reason why the figure should not be far higher.

Another R. F. Unit is about to be introduced; these units are not, however, to be available in large quantities for some time. It is probable, therefore, than [sic] non H 2 S Squadrons will receive them first. In this connection it is of interest to learn that the Lancasters will soon have a stowage provided for the units not in use.

Authority has at last been obtained for lino to be laid on Radar workshop floors; many enterprising Squadrons have already had their floors covered, and were repaid by increased serviceability. It is hoped that no time will be wasted in so equipping all workshops.

Air Ministry has now ruled that detonators need no longer be fitted; although this will present the Hun with a considerable quantity of Gee equipment, it will be a great help to Squadrons, as many men were necessary for the fitting and removal of detonators.

[Underlined] H 2 S [/underlined]

The serviceability figures for H 2 S are very unsatisfactory. Last month only 68.8% were serviceable for the whole trip; the one blessing is that most of the failures occurred after the target. Main causes of failures are filament transformers, power units and manipulation. An oil filled filament transformer is now being tried, and this may be the solution to our main cause of unserviceability.

Manipulation is confined only to U/T crews but is assuming alarming proportions. Some Squadrons are still troubled by freezing scanner, and repeater motors. Bomber Command is trying to get approval for a new method of heating, but meanwhile the existing heater elements should be repositioned forward of the scanner motor.

The equipment situation is considerably improved, and with the Group Pool now at this Headquarters, Squadrons will have little difficulty in obtaining the main units of H 2 S.

(continued on Page 9 col 3)

5 Group News. No. 19. February, 1944. Page 8.

[Page break]

[Cartoon of Workshop]

5 GROUP NEWS. No. 19. February 1944.

- Maurice levell –

IS THIS [underlined] YOUR [/underlined] RADAR WORKSHOP?

[Page break]

[Blank page]

[Page break]


[Underlined] GUNS AND TURRETS [/underlined]

The month of February shows a notable increase in the number of gun failures still being attributed to freezing. Rare reports have been received where conclusive evidence is available that guns have frozen, while instances have occurred that gunners have attempted to operate the breech blocks by operating the triggers. Attempts have also been made to release the breech blocks by means of the manually operated rear scar release units with little or no success. It is considered that the hydraulic media in the rear scar pipes becomes either frozen or congealed, and that trouble is not brought about by ice in the breech blocks.

To provide conclusive evidence that this is so, trials have been arranged whereby a percentage of gunners operate their breech blocks at intervals of 30 minutes, with guns at “safe”, throughout the operational sortie once operational height has been gained. A percentage of guns are also to be tested during the return, and by this means it is considered a valuable comparison will be obtained.

[Underlined] GALLEY HEATERS [/underlined]

A turret heater known as the “Galley Heater” is shortly to be introduced. The first 10 heaters are being delivered to Skellingthorpe for installation in aircraft of No.50 Squadron. The inside temperature of the turret is raised by means of a steady flow of hot air via air ducts, the ducts being so arranged as to spray the air on to the guns and turret components most susceptible to freezing, and re-bounding on to the gunner’s face.

[Underlined] BOMBING RANGES [/underlined]

[Underlined] Wainfleet Bombing Range. [/underlined] Extreme difficulty has been experienced during recent weeks in keeping targets and their lighting fully serviceable at Wainfleet Range. This has been due to the heavy tides experienced, causing the ingress of salt water into lighting fittings, and resulting in a depletion of vital bombing training. An all-out drive is being made which, it is hoped, will ensure one hundred percent serviceability at all times.

[Underlined] Owthorpe and Epperstone Ranges [/underlined] are available for both day and night bombing, target illumination being effected by flares.

(continued in next column)

[Underlined] ARMAMENT FAILURE [/underlined]

It can be seen from the failures table below that certain Squadrons claim to have had comparatively few, if any, bomb or S.B.C. failures during the month; it is known from Raid Reports received that this is not a true representation of the month’s failures. It is once again emphasised that all Armament failures are to be signalled in accordance with B.C.A.S.I. Part I, Section S, Leaflet No. 2, Issue No. 4.

[Underlined] ARMAMENT CONFERENCE [/underlined]

An Armament Officers’ Conference was held at Base Station, Scampton, on Friday, 11th February, 1944, and afforded an excellent opportunity for the Command Armament Officer, Air Commodore Bilney, to meet all Armament Officers within the Group. Minutes have been circulated.

[Underlined] MINES “A” – MKS. I – IV [/underlined]

With the introduction of numerous types of new assemblies, it has been found that the personnel who carry out the testing and preparation, need instruction on all these later assemblies. To meet this requirement, courses have been arranged and allocated to all Units within the Group.

[Underlined] FAILURES TABLE [/underlined]

[Table of Armament failures by Squadron]


Link Trainer Hours

[Table of hours spent on the Link Trainer by Pilots and Flight Engineers per Squadron]


(continued from page 8 col 3)

[Underlined] VISUAL MONICA [/underlined]

Serviceability of this equipment has still not reached a satisfactory figure; last month it was approximately 81% serviceable. A large percentage of the failures were due to switch motors seizing. A great deal of time and trouble has gone into this switch motor problem, and it is hoped that the solution is close at hand. All Units will have received information regarding the Manufacturer’s methods of setting up, and soon a report will be issued summarising the findings of a local ball bearing works which has been testing these motors. In the meantime the 2-way Pye sockets will allow the Wireless Operator full coverage even though the switch motor stops.

The biggest headache is still the shortage of equipment. Many Squadrons have managed to “acquire” bits from here and there, and in this manner fit more aircraft. This unfortunately, appears to be the only way in which replacement can be maintained at present.

[Underlined] FISHPOND [/underlined]

Fishpond, unfortunately, depends on H 2 S serviceability and manipulation by both the Navigator and Wireless Operator. In such circumstances one would expect the Fishpond serviceability to be bad, and such is the case. In spite of this general low serviceability, Squadrons which have trained their crews well are now very pleased with the results obtained, and indeed managed to show a figure of 73% serviceable.

[Underlined] A. I. [/underlined]

Trials have been going on for some time with Mark IV A.I. It is believed that this equipment will make a good “Tail Warning Device”.

There are many snags yet to be cured before both elevation and bearing can be obtained.

It is expected however, that the experts will find the answer soon, and once more 5 Group will have pioneered a first class “Tail Warning Device”.

5 Group News. No. 19. February, 1944. Page 9.

[Page break]


(a) Pence saved per head of strength
(b) %age of personnel contributing
(c) Total amount saved

[Table of amount saved by Base and Unit]

TOTAL 4170.10.9


(a) New Volunteers
(b) Accepted by A.C.S.B.
(c) Posted for training
(d) Awaiting interview by A.C.S.B.

[Table of Aircrew Volunteers by Base and Unit]


[Underlined] FRESHMEN [/underlined]

You should always have a clear picture of each leg of the route in your mind. Study your track throughout briefing. Your [sic] can’t overdo this. It will prevent you accepting a completely wrong course from your Navigator. They have been known to give airspeeds for courses! It will help you as a rough guide to your track make good to take approximate bearings on defended areas each side of the route. But [underlined] don’t [/underlined] pinpoint on flak. One gun site can seem like “Happy Valley” if you are getting its undivided attention.

Always trim forward after bombing. The Lancaster becomes appreciably tail heavy after the bombs have gone. One pilot didn’t trim forward. He was a trifle shaken when the “wizard prang” he was giving all his attention to suddenly took off and orbited him. It was a sadder and wiser man who finally recovered from a stall some 8,000 feet nearer the ground.

Watch the “George” auto-control on take-off, especially taller pilots. It is possible during powerful movements to knock the auto-control lever to “In” and though “George” can fly straight and level, he can’t cope with a take-off, and you may not either with his unwanted co-operation.

By the way, when did you last do a proper Link Trainer exercise? Did you blank off the artificial horizon and carry out recovery from more extreme attitudes by use of the turn and bank indicator, A.S.I. and rate of climb? Or did you just fill in time?

If you have to “queue up” for take-off, don’t leave your engines idling. The plugs may oil up if you have long to wait. Run each engine up against the brakes to about 1600 revs. This will be sufficient to clear them, and it will also prevent overheating.

[Underlined] VETERANS [/underlined]

A Pilot in this Group did his take-off drill the wrong way round. He left the boost cut-out till the end of his checks. When he did pull it down, his heavily gloved hand knocked the port outer fuel cock off, Fortunately his Engineer noticed it. He may not have done!

Keep your beam flying on the top line. Don’t just switch it on to test it on N.F.T’s Fly down the beam and do an approach each time. It’s a good scheme after training flights and N.F.T’s to find the aerodrome yourself on your own and other beams in the area.

Have you got your drills for using portable oxygen bottles weighted up? If you have any doubts at all- which you shouldn’t have – read 5 Group Aircraft Drills, No.12. Do you know how long the supply will last?

On your next N.F.T. carry out a dummy drill for an emergency. Have your Flight Engineer and Wireless Operator go down and lift the Rear Gunner out of his turret and carry him to the rest bed, using portable bottles. One pilot we know had three of his crew unconscious on the rear turret cat-walk just as he was approaching the target. They knew how to use the bottles, but had never practiced it!

Don’t wear signet rings on operations, however well dressed you may feel. You may regret your elegance. It increases the danger of frostbite if you have to bale out at altitude. It is also difficult for the M.O. to treat you for hand wounds or abrasions. Either the ring comes off – or your finger does!!


All Flight Engineer Leaders in the Group must have a drive on their Squadron in log keeping. So much valuable information is lost because details of small defects the recording of airspeeds, and the time of descent are omitted. It is difficult to keep a good log when the Flight Engineer is to “Window”, but if we can instil more keenness in the keeping of these logs, Flight Engineers in the long run, would benefit from the research which is given to all operational flights.

There is much discrepancy in the duration of flight from these logs. In future the time from airborne to landing must be taken from the Watch Office records and entered in the log.

This month at least one early return was made that should have been avoided. On the outward trip, the port engine showed a higher temperature than the other three; it was decided to return. On the check the next day it was found that this temperature was within the limits laid down for this type of engine; the Flight Engineer should have known this and advised the pilot that there was no danger. Another case was one engine feathered because the oil temperature gauge dropped to zero, yet both the oil pressure gauge and the coolant temperature gauge remained normal. On check it was found that the gauge was faulty.

[Cartoon] Dot and Dash – our immaculate W.A.A.F’s

“- and you needn’t say I’m jealous of this Monica of Bill’s – “

5 Group News. No. 19. February, 1944. Page 10.

[Page break]


The Group operated five times only during February, and these five operations produced 1000 sorties; to achieve this an exceedingly high percentage of aircraft held on charge flew on each of these operations, the outstanding feature being the first operation of the month, when 226 Lancasters took off from this Group. Further comment on this achievement is unnecessary as it must be obvious to any person who knows the difficulties which have to be overcome to get such a large force off the ground, what work was entailed.

March should see an even larger effort than did February, but we still have our cancellations and early returns which do not appear to reduce by very many in spite of all our efforts. The technical defects which cause early returns and cancellations are not of a recurring nature; that is why it is so difficult to overcome each single case, but in spite of these individual faults, the numbers of early returns will be at least reduced if we persevere.

Much discussion has taken place during the month on the salvage of equipment, and one point which affect all Engineer Officers in this connection is that they must make sure that full use is made of the Base facilities for the repair and testing of technical equipment. A very frequent check should be made on R. & I. stores, and station equipment sections, to ensure that items of equipment have not been returned for subsequent return to the R.E.D. when these items can be repaired within the Base facilities.

During March it is intended to review the Maintenance Schedules for both Lancaster and Stirling aircraft; committees will be set up for each type and each individual inspection item will be checked both for the Daily and Minor Inspections; as a result it is hoped to cut out many items which exist in the Daily Inspection which are unnecessary, similarly with the Minor Inspection. Many hours are at present expended inspecting items which happen to be shown as requiring inspection by the schedule where, in fact, no defects were ever found. At the same time that the schedules are being revised, the card system will be introduced which will assist greatly with carrying out inspections, and it may be no longer necessary, once the scheme is introduced, to put aircraft unserviceable for longer than a few hours for inspection purposes.

[Underlined] TRAINING UNIT SERVICEABILITY [/underlined]

[Underlined] STIRLING AIRCRAFT [/underlined]

[Table of aircraft serviceability by Conversion Unit]


[Aircraft Serviceability for 5. L.F.S.]


[Underlined] HARMONIZATION [/underlined]

Standard diagrams for each turret in Lancaster aircraft for harmonization at 100 yds and 25 yds have been issued to all Squadrons (5 Group letter 5G/237/2/Trg. Dated 1st Dec. 1943). These diagrams show all dimensions including the height of boards above ground, colour scheme for the gun spots and size of gun spots. The Mid Upper Turret is harmonized on the PORT beam and in all instances the distances are measured from a point vertically beneath the gun pivots to the board. The Tail turret is harmonized with the board dead astern and the nose turret with the board dead ahead.

A good tip is to strip each gun in turn, and not have four breech blocks laid around the rear turret at the same time, as instances have occurred of the breech blocks finding their way into the wrong gun, with the result that the Gunner has had a little difficulty in getting all the guns to fire. It is essential to check the harmonization again after the gun has been trained on the gun spot and the locking device screwed tight as the gun sometimes moves slightly during the locking procedure. The best type of board is the solid wooden one, fitted with a handle for carrying, and the best place to keep the boards is in the Gunnery Office and NOT laid about the dispersal points, remember somebody else may want the board after you and will expect to find it in its proper place. The guns should be harmonized at 100 yards and the 25 yards board used only for checking, it will be realised that the danger of harmonizing at 25 yds is that a slight error at this range is a large one at 400 yards, and although it is often easier to use the short range, don’t get into the habit of doing it every time.

[Underlined] COMBAT REPORTS [/underlined]

These reports are showing a tendency to become very brief and a lot of valuable information is omitted; this may be due to the gunners not giving the information at interrogation, or the duty gunner not including everything that is laid down in Appendix “A” INT. 1 and 2 to Air Staff Instructions, it is not easy to remember each item in this Appendix, and it is suggested that a copy is made and used at interrogation to ensure that all the information required is obtained from the crew.

All gunners should realise that the gun freezing bogey is still very much in existence and gunners should do everything possible during the trip when freezing is suspected, to find out where the trouble is; this is not simple, but if the guns won’t fire with the firing gear, the manual release should be tried. This may not cure the trouble as the breech block may go forward and stay there, instances have occurred of the firing gear taking some few seconds to function after the triggers have been pressed. These points and the presence of ice on guns should be noted by the gunners and stated at interrogation. Will all air gunners, therefore, do their utmost to help the technical staff to solve the serious and difficult problem.

[Underlined] MARK II GYRO GUNSIGHT[/underlined]

The Standard Free Gunnery Trainer at Fiskerton is being modified to take the Gyro Gunsight and training of gunners will commence as soon as this modification is complete. Considerable practice is required with this gunsight before the gunner becomes proficient in following the target accurately, due to the slight lag produced by the gyro on the moving graticule. It is found at first that when following a target which changes direction, the gunner is apt to overshoot with the sight, as the graticule carries on after the turret has stopped, and this, coupled with the foot pedals which are operated to feed the range into the sight, are both innovations which are new and must be mastered before accurate shooting can be expected.

The turret in which these sights will be installed is the F.N. 121 which has an electric motor to operate the servo mechanism, which eliminates any inter-action of trigger and turret movements. The control characteristics in the valve box have been modified to give more positive control for small turret movements at the cost of a slight reduction in the speed of the turret. No information is available at the moment regarding the speed with which the remaining Squadrons will be equipped after 49 Squadron is complete, but it is expected that the rate will be speeded up after the first Squadron has been completed.

[Underlined] RESULTS OF C.G.S. COURSES [/underlined]

[Underlined] NO.73 GUNNERY LEADERS’ COURSE. [/underlined]

[Underlined] FINAL EXAMINATION RESULTS [/underlined]

P/O. Sandford – 467 Sqdn. – 79.2% - Cat. “A”
P/O. Powell – 619 Sqdn. – 67% - Cat “C”

[Underlined] NO.74 GUNNERY LEADERS’ COURSE [/underlined]

F/O. Williams – 463 Sqdn. – 74.8% - Cat “C”

This Month’s Bag


[Underlined] DESTROYED [/underlined]

[Underlined] Sqdn. A/C Night Type of E/A [/underlined]

49 M 19/20.2.44. DO.217
49 D 19/20.2.44. JU,88
207 F 20/21.2.44. ME.110
49 C 24/25.2.44. T/E.
463 S 25/26.2.44. FW.190
207 K 25/26.2.44. ME.410

[Underlined] DAMAGED [/underlined]

50 B 15/16.2.44. JU.88
44 J 15/16.2.44. DO.217
50 H 15/16.2.44. ME.210
207 C 15/16.2.44. ME.110
9 C 15/16.2.44. T/E.
44 A 19/20.2.44. ME.210
50 J 19/20.2.44. JU.88
106 M 19/20.2.44. ME.410
619 B 19/20.2.44. ME.109
44 Y 20/21.2.44. ME.210
49 G 24/25.2.44. JU.88
49 Q 24/25.2.44. ME.210
57 P 24/25.2.44. JU.88
207 P 24/25.2.44. S/E.
9 Q 24/25.2.44. ME.100
9 S 25/26.2.44. JU.88
630 G 25/26.2.44. FW.190

All these claims have been confirmed by Command.


[Page break]


[Underlined] ‘YOU’VE HAD IT’ [/underlined]

Reporting an M.T. accident, even filling up Form 446, is easy enough if the driver does it straight away, but it gets more difficult every day he puts it off.

In the end you will find that he doesn’t report it at all, but don’t be misled; the other man will and A.D. Claims then start the ball rolling from the other end, and you will find that you are in more trouble than ever, and it’s quite a big snowball by the time it reaches you.

Will M.T. Officers and N.C.O’s i/c Transport try to impress their drivers with the necessity for keeping the following rules.

(i) If you hit an aircraft or an aircraft hits you – REPORT IT – Everybody will; it’s a BLACK, but Training are dealing with this more fully.

(ii) If you knock someone’s wall down, or even bend it, --REPORT IT – the owner may quite like it, and he’s sure to be watching out of the window.

[Cartoon] E.M.P.

(iii) If you bump a car in the blackout – REPORT IT – the owner values his car much more than you think; usually more than it’s worth.

(iv) If you knock his daughter down – REPORT IT – injuries get so much worse if no one calls to sympathise from A.D. Claims. By the way, don’t call to sympathise yourself, however pretty she may be; this is against the rules, A.D. Claims have all the luck! A.M.O. A475/42, paragraph 17 lays down quite definitely that you must not approach the civilian involved in an accident. If you can get yourself invited to tea after the whole thing is settled – well that’s different!

Very few MT accidents now require more than F.446 action if they are reported at once. Page.16 of the AMO tells you all about this.


DECEMBER - [/underlined] 10; [/underlined] JANUARY – [underlined] 18; [/underlined] FEBRUARY – [underlined] 27. [/underlined]

The exalted position held by this Group for the past three months in the Bomber Command Accident Ladder will certainly not be held for the month just finished. It has been the blackest month from the accident point of view for a long time, and the most prevalent type, viz. [underlined] Ground Collisions [/underlined] has contributed to a greater extent than ever to the long list of damaged Lancasters and Stirlings in the Group. THESE AVOIDABLE, UNECESSARY AND EXPENSIVE ACCIDENTS MUST CEASE.

The “taxying” record for the past 3 months reads as follows:-

December – 9; January – 9; February – 11.

When it is realised that at least half of the aircraft involved were [underlined] CAT. AC. [/underlined] the effect on the war effort from this type of accident alone is immediately apparent.

So much has been written in these notes recently that it is difficult to avoid repetition, but it is hoped that the new instructions issued in February have the desired effect. However, the exercise of care and foresight on the part of everybody, especially pilots, is essential at all times when taxying an aircraft if the number of accidents in this category is to be reduced. There is no doubt that if ground personnel and aircrew do their very best, taxying accidents can be brought to within reasonable limits.

Manpower, paper, time and tempers can be saved by getting your report off quickly and giving AD Claims a chance to settle the case at once.

A great deal depends on M.T. Officers ensuring that their drivers report accidents promptly. If the drivers was not at fault he will not be punished (Not often!!! Editor), but he may be if he doesn’t report it at all.

Of course it saves an awful lot of trouble not to have the accident at all. It’s worth trying!

An unusual accident occurred at a Station in No.51 Base this month. An aircraft had landed and was slowing down towards the end of the runway, when the rear gunner called up the captain and told him an aircraft was landing beside him. The quick landing scheme was in force , and just prior to the gunner’s warning, Flying Control had advised the pilot to clear the runway quickly. As a result of these warnings, the captain thought the aircraft was close behind him (it was still in the funnel) and accelerated. He had too much speed on turning off the end of the runway, and broke his undercarriage. Rear Gunners should pay particular attention to give their captains precise information as to where an aircraft landing behind actually is. If it is still in the funnel they should definitely say so.

The month’s total of all kinds of avoidable accidents is made up as follows:-

Ground Collisions- 11; Heavy Landings – 4; Overshoots on Landing – 3; Swings on take off – 3; Crashes on Overshooting – 1; Other errors of judgement – 5. Of the aircraft which made heavy landings, two were Cat. A. and two were Cat.A.C. Three of these occurred at night. In one of them the pilot was prevented from using engine [sic] to recover from the first bounce because the Flight Engineer still had his hands on the throttles after ensuring they were fully closed. He was thrown off balance and held on to the throttles. This is a point which must be watched. Another occurred after an operational trip, when the pilot was caught unawares by his flaps only partly lowering. The flap gauge must always be checked.

Investigation of 2 of the swings on take off shows that either the wrong procedure for take off was used, or the wrong action taken when the swing started. Every pilot should ensure that he thoroughly understands the 5 Group Drills on swinging.

The accidents classed as errors of judgement were almost all of a serious nature, and the

(continued on page 6 Col. 3)

5 Group News. No. 19. February, 1044. Page 12.

[Page break]


A recent letter from Air Ministry impressed upon Command Group and Station Commanders the critical shortage of labour and materials that exists today. Notwithstanding the evidence of this on Stations in the shape of current establishment deficiencies and shortage of equipment, very few people realise how serious the position really is.

In effect, the allocation of labour for constructional work has been considerably reduced. This labour will be required to cover minor Works Services, as well as larger schemes.

[Cartoon] P/O Snooks will Help Himself any time! EMP.

Therefore, the available labour must only be used on those schemes that are essentially of an operational necessity and this can only be done at the expense of day-to-day minor services. If the minor Work Services themselves are to be carried out, it will only be possible to implement them by a “Self Help” scheme.

Now the expression “Self Help” should not be taken too literally. It does not mean that it can be taken as a good excuse to knock down the local guard room, or to pull down the intervening wall between the W.A.A.F. and R.A.F. Dining Room. A “Self Help” scheme is done by Service labour, and as such must be organised as a Service for the benefit of the Station as a whole, and not to satisfy the whim of any individual. There still seem to be a number of people who, being accustomed to “Having jam on it” in the shape of the excellent facilities normally available at a R.A.F. Station of peace-time design, think that the provision of any little extra convenience for anyone connected, however remotely, with the many activities involved in running a flying station, can justifiably be regarded as “operationally essential”. This, of course, is nonsense – ask some of our fellows who have served overseas.

The problem is, therefore, how to get a fuller effort from the available R.A.F. man and woman. There is, no doubt, very many R.A.F. personnel who are not doing the full amount of work of which they are capable and quite a lot of them have not yet grasped that they ought to do more than they are doing. Quite a few regard the acquisition of as many late passes and “forty eights” as possible as their chief aim in life, with unofficial extension to such periods of absence as a minor hobby. Quite a number of these might well contribute a few hours to “Self Help” each week, without suffering any grave hardship.

There are, on the other hand, a considerable number of individuals who continuously work to the limit of their capacity and sometimes beyond that limit (“Not you Adj. – sit down”). Everyone should feel a strong personal urge to give of their utmost to their Service tasks and to put no limit to the amount of effort which should be demanded of them. As we have now reached the stage when national resources are inadequate to provide us with every facility we need just when we want it, this extra effort must be organised and well led, to help ourselves as far as we can. This extra effort can be used on Station Maintenance, to replace broken windows, re-painting quarters and firming up paths and standings.

But, in conclusion, remember the buildings etc., on the Station are Air Ministry property so don’t knock down that Guard Room without first obtaining authority from the higher formation – it is really quite embarrassing to stand on Pay Parade and find you have no money to come.

[Underlined] (Continued from back page, Col. 1) [/underlined]

It is not done at all even thought the men drown. Recently in Lincoln Swimming Bath an aircrew member who couldn’t swim took the precaution of providing himself with a Mae West and took care to fasten it properly; he then jumped into the bath from the top board – and wasn’t seen for a long time, he eventually came up shouting for help and on being pulled out immediately started blaming his Mae West, only to find that he hadn’t inflated it – it goes to show!!

[Underlined] Note for Gunners. [/underlined] If your Buoyant Suit has no pocket for a floating torch don’t take it that this means you are not to have one – have a pocket fitted. If no pockets are available, you can still wear the torch round your neck inside the suit. Similarly make sure that there is an attachment for the lanyard of the K-dinghy on your suit – if you don’t know then make enquiries [underlined] now [/underlined]

IN “Air Sea Rescue” the proverb is:-

[Underlined] “YOU CAN BE TOO LATE TO LEARN”. [/underlined]


[Underlined] CARE OF EQUIPMENT [/underlined]

As one goes about the Stations, it is obvious that equipment in general is not being cared for as it might, or rather as it should. There is no doubt whatever that at the present time, especially owing to the shortage of materials, we must make the best use of that which has been given to us. There is a feeling that the Government is a good firm and that “there is plenty more where that came from”. That may be true in certain respects, but as this war goes on, demands will increase, but whether the material will be there to meet our needs is another matter; so it is up to everyone [sic] of us to safeguard, handle and use articles of equipment entrusted to us as though they were our own and we had paid for them. Can you imagine yourself buying an expensive article and then after a short time throwing it away because perhaps a small component of it had become unserviceable! Of course you wouldn’t, you would get another part and make it serviceable. Why should you not, therefore, treat Government property in the same way, and thus save materials, manpower, man-hours and money?

[Underlined] REPAIRABLE EQUIUPMENT [/underlined]

Have you read, thoroughly digested and understood AMO A.736/43? This order gives in great detail the method for disposal of repairable equipment. Amongst the many important things one has to do, none is greater than the labelling of an unserviceable article correctly, for if this is not done (i) you are likely to get it thrown back at you by the Equipment Officer – which may mean humping a heavy article back to where it came from, or (ii) you will have to wait for the new article in exchange for the old until you present it in its proper form; thus considerable manpower and time has been unnecessarily expended. Again, if the label does not state the reason for unserviceability of the item, when it gets back to the R.E.D. many more man-hours are lost investigating the cause and extent of its unserviceability, whereas had the label borne the exact cause of failure, the mechanic at the R.E.D. whose job it is to repair such equipment, could have repaired it with the minimum of delay. Special labels are available for this type of equipment (see A.M.O. N.1174/43) – ensure you have a plentiful supply, and use ‘em.


Thoroughness is a virtue which we view
With envy, and with admiration too;
And we, in common fairness must agree,
That rarely in a fellow man have we
Encountered such tenacity and drive
As led him on a recent day to strive,
And show his humble tyros how ‘tis done
To fly an aircraft properly, and shun
The common errors that all pupils make.
Enthusiasm prompted him to take
An aircraft up, and as they turned he spoke
“A broken undercarriage is no joke,
And if you swing on take-off you will find
Your legs will go; you’ll sit on your behind!”
Then as he spoke he swung to demonstrate
And proved his words.
……….he met his forecast fate!!

5 Group News. No. 19. February, 1944. Page 13.

[Page break]


A man suffering from shock or the after effects of great mental strain usually behaves in a most peculiar manner, as his brain has become numbed and does not function properly. It is on this account that it is necessary for aircrews to practice dinghy drills and have a sound knowledge of safety and rescue equipment carried in their aircraft and also of the equipment that might be dropped to them in the sea.

A crew of this Group was recently forced down in the sea and an airborne lifeboat was dropped to them – they dug about and found the sleeping suits but did not use them as it was considered that, in the crews wet state, these would not be of any use; similarly because the “Everhot” bags had been immersed they did not attempt to use them, thinking that they would be useless! Normally these men are not the “dim clots” you are now calling them – they are an outstanding example of how dim your brain can become after a climax of mental strain, and also of how insufficient knowledge of equipment can be the cause of much unnecessary suffering. Imagine it – wet through, at sea in a small boat on a cold winter’s day, and the means of warming themselves discarded as useless!

In addition, this same crew showed abysmal ignorance of the ditching stations to be taken up – the two gunners ditched with their [underlined] backs [/underlined] to the flap jack and the flight engineer was badly out of position with his back to the rear spar. As this aircraft broke its back at the rear spar, it is logical to suppose that each of these men, had they taken up their correct stations would have been alive today – the flight engineer should have been on the rest bed and the two gunners probably broke their backs on impact, they should have been facing the other way round with their backs on the floor, and “buttocks to flap jack with feet over it”.

Many flying men still seem to have the idea that fully inflated Mae West makes escape through the upper exits of an aircraft difficult. This is not true and tests have shown that the biggest and smallest members can easily “evacuate” Lancasters and Stirlings with a fully inflated Mae West. Inflate your Mae West when your Dinghy Drills provides – experience has shown time and again that unless this is done at the proper time

(Continued on Page 13 Col. 2.)


Until the moth was half spent and the “fighter” moon had been allowed to wane, the Group was unable to stage a major attack, although 617 Squadron found two opportunities to add further to their history. Nevertheless, the 1000 sorties mark was again achieved of which 89.7% were successful in attacking the primary targets, with 3.3% casualties. The lull in operational activity, however, was not allowed to pass unprofitably, as can be evidenced in the record figure of 226 aircraft airborne on the 15/16th.

With the progress of the month it became clear that the immediate objective of the Allied Air Command was to strike and crush Germany’s air strength at its source, by a sustained and co-ordinated air offensive against factories associated with aircraft production. To this end LIMOGES featured as the Group’s first assignment on the 8/9th. Until that night, memorable as indeed it must be to those “locals” who were fortunate enough to remain spectators, The Gnome and Rhone aero-engine factory was producing in the region of 50 engines per month for the Axis. Immediate assessment of the results was greatly facilitated by excellent night photographs and a particularly impressive cine film which was eloquent testimony to the accuracy of the marking. It is now apparent from P.R.U. cover following the raid, that of the 48 bays comprising the factory, 7 only have escaped destruction or serious damage – a considerable part of the machinery being wrecked and production brought to a standstill.

On 12/13th February, ANTHEOR again bore a charmed life, and escaped with no direct hits from an attack pressed home in the face of increased opposition. A few very near misses were recorded, from which, however, the Viaduct sustained no apparent damage.

Having husbanded her main bomber strength until 15/16th., Command directed a record effort against the Reich capital. The weight of the blow appears to have fallen to the South of the city and the West of the Potsdamer Railway Station, where extensive damage can be observed.

Continuing the offensive against the enemy’s aircraft industry, LEIPZIG was singled out for a 2,300 ton raid on the 19/20th. Within a few hours of this attack, made in conditions of 10/10ths cloud, American heavies returned in daylight with yet another load for the battered city. Photographic confirmation of the results is awaited with interest.

The night following, viz 20/21st. STUTTGART received a damaging blow – the attack being carried out against an apparently weakening Luftwaffe, since little enemy fighter activity was experienced by our crews. Heavy smoke rolling South Westwards away from the target obscured the Central, South and South Western areas of the town, hindering photographic cover the next day, but fires still burning, apparently unchecked, in the Northern outskirts, gave rise to the impression (later confirmed) that severe damage had been suffered.

The strain on the German night fighter and ground defences was further aggravate on 24/25th by a two-phase attack on the important ball and roller bearing plant at SCHWEINFURT, which originally contributed something approaching 50 per cent of the total production available to Germany. This attack followed closely in the wake of a heavy daylight assault by the Americans. Guided by fires started by their predecessors, later aircraft were able to continue the bombardment which largely wrecked the group of factories as a war time centre.

The month’s activities wound up with a double blow at AUGSBURG on 25/26th. The targets included the Messerschmitt plant and experimental establishment (believed to be engaged in the production of the Me.410) and the M.A.N. Diesel Engine Factory. Following the precedent of the previous day, this important aircraft centre had been attacked in daylight a few hours before by the Americans, and the evidence of night photographs taken during the raid indicates that enormous fires were left burning throughout the area, with a vast pall of smoke shrouding the stricken city.

It is true to say that never before has the enemy’s war production been so heavily bombed, or their defences subjected to such continued strain as that imposed during the sustained attacks of the last nine days of the month, which in themselves exemplify the crushing might of the Allied co-ordinated offensive.


[Table of Aircraft, hours flow, bombs dropped, sorties carried out and results by Squadron]

5 Group News. No. 19. February, 1944.



“V Group News, February 1944,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 6, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/17344.

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