V Group News, April 1944


V Group News, April 1944
5 Group Newsletter April 1944


Five Group Newsletter, number 21, April 1944. Includes a foreword by the Air Officer Commanding, and features about process of servicing, gardening, navigation, honours and awards, signals / radar, tactics, air bombing, radar / navigation, link trainer, sports, war savings, accidents, gunnery, training, air sea rescue, engineering, armament, flying control, operations and war effort.

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Base [underlined] Int [/underlined]

Wadd 9
Skell 10
Base 1


APRIL 1944 [deleted] CONFIDENTIAL [/deleted] NUMBER 21


Last month I said that it was up to us to undertake the training and to give the thought necessary to prove that we were right in our view that night bombing could be made more accurate than day bombing. During April we have gone a long way towards furnishing the proof. The concentration of bombs which was achieved during some of the attacks, notably those on the marshalling yards at La Chappelle and Juvisy, and against some of the small aircraft factories, was outstanding, and probably represents the greatest weight of bombs in a small areas which has yet been achieved in this war.

By previous standards, therefore, our results have been excellent. But there is still much more to be done before we can afford to be satisfied. We can, however, say that the system of marking, which was pioneered by W/Cdr Cheshire and 617 Squadron, has been applied with success to larger operations, including the highly successful attack on Munich. Nevertheless, in all our attacks during April we inflicted less damage than could have been caused by the weight of bombs carried, and I want crews to think carefully over the reasons which I outline below and to take note of the remedies which are being applied.

[Underlined] Communications [/underlined]

On nearly all targets a proportion of the effort was misplaced due to a failure in communications. It is recognised that the T.R. 1196 operates on an unsuitable frequency and cannot be relied upon. Furthermore, the wireless link which, on occasions, has proved highly satisfactory, is not well suited to the transmission of anything except short instructions in a pre-arranged code. The solution to these communication problems is the introduction of V.H.F. throughout the Group and this policy has now been approved by the Air Ministry although some little time must elapse before all squadrons are fitted. In the meantime, Wireless Operators must ensure a very high degree of efficiency in handling communications.

[Underlined] Smoke [/underlined]

The smoke given off by the bombs has, on many occasions, obscured, or partially obscured, the markers and has made bomb aiming exceedingly difficult during later stages of an attack. Delay action fuses will soon be available once more and their use on certain types of target will ensure that the aiming point is clearly visible throughout the whole run up. An additional method of avoiding the smoke nuisance by aiming off, is described below.

[Underlined] Bombing Errors [/underlined]

There is no doubt that crew bombing errors are still too large and that the pattern of bombs plotted around these precision targets bears a remarkably close relationship to the pattern of bombs plotted around the practice targets at Wainfleet. A proportion of crews obtain good results up to the performance of the sight, which is well under 100 yards. Other crews seem content with results between 200 and 300 yards and a small proportion manage to drop bombs at even greater distances from heights of 10,000 feet or below. There are many causes for these errors but all can be remedied if crews determine that every load of bombs carried out of this country shall fall fair and square on the aiming point.

In the past, the majority of errors in practice bombing have been due to wrong winds, but this source of error should be virtually eliminated by the introduction of the A.P.I. wind finding method. This method will also be used by selected crews on operations so that the bombing winds transmitted to the main force should be more accurate than in the past.

A further source of bombing error has been unserviceable instruments and many Air Bombers are still failing to take the close personal interest in their bombsight which is essential if they are to obtain good results. Although the Instrument Repairer forms the fourth member of the bombing team, it is the Air Bomber who uses the instrument and who must ensure that any difficulties, however trivial, are immediately reported so that they can be put right.

A third main source of error arises out of the manner in which the Pilot flies the aircraft. I find that a number of pilots are still attempting to turn the aircraft flat when making their final corrections during the run up and I can only say to them that such action may easily throw the bombs off by 100 or 200 yards, and that every turn, however small, must be made with the appropriate angle of bank. Far better not to turn at all at the last moment rather than risk a sked. Even a skid of 2° or 3°.

Finally there are errors due to the Air Bomber. Errors which can only be avoided by constant practice in directing the pilot over objects on the ground on every flight; by learning how to adjust in plenty of time for a drift greater or less than that set on the sight. This will become of increasing importance with the introduction of the technique described below.

The accumulative effect of all these errors results in the employment of too many aircraft on each attack, or, put another way, we knock out too few targets each night with the force available. There are many targets which could be destroyed with the effort of a single squadron if the bombing errors could be reduced to 100 yards. These are targets which, at present, have to be attacked by a Base.

I have referred above to the new technique which is being introduced for attacks against small targets on which it is essential that the whole weight of bombs should fall. In the past we have endeavoured to put a marker on the aiming point and, if there were two or more aiming points to put down two or more markers. Examples are some of the railway marshalling yards, or the dispersed hangars making up the aircraft factories at Toulouse. There are several disadvantages in this method of marking. First, the markers often fall through the roofs of buildings and are consequently difficult to see. Secondly, they may be blown out by the concentrated bombing which follows or, if not blown out, obscured by smoke.

It is now proposed that the markers shall be laid by Mosquitos on the upwind edge of the target and that the bombs shall be displaced by the simple expedient of setting a false wind vector on the sight. Recent trials at Wainfleet have shown that a displacement of 300 yards does not unduly complicate the Air Bomber’s run up. If, therefore, the target is 1000 yards long or consists of scattered buildings, one aiming point will be put down and portions of the force will be given different wind settings which will offset their bombs accurately on to the various parts of the target which it is desired to erase. By this means, the target can be scientifically covered and improved results obtained from fewer aircraft.

Success depends, however, on accurate bombing and I would again ask all crews to tackle this problem and to determine that, during May, they will not be satisfied with a bombing error, whether on the practice ranges or against small precision targets, of more than 100 yards from the aiming point or the M.P.I. if a false wind has been applied.

Nothing can more quickly bring this war to a close than the regular achievement of bombing errors of this order.

The arrival in 5 Group of Nos. 83, 97 and 627 Squadrons on attachment from P.F.F. provides the Group with the means of marking targets with great accuracy and I consequently look forward to a steady reduction throughout May in the number of aircraft which have to be detailed for the destruction of these small targets, and by this means to a steady increase in the effective aid which this Group can give in the great offensive which lies ahead.

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One of the major problems of the Engineering Branch is to maintain large numbers of aircraft which are of very complex design, with a limited number of tradesmen and with the use of the minimum quantity of test equipment. At the same time, the serviceability state must be high; therefore the time taken over periodical maintenance must be short and the work efficiently carried out.

Early in the war the number of really experienced tradesmen was comparatively few. All the men were exceptionally keen, and to make full use of experienced tradesmen on jobs requiring the greatest amount of skill, a reorganisation of the system of aircraft maintenance was effected.

Originally the squadrons on a station worked as independent units, each squadron being divided into two or three flights according to the number of aircraft held. Each of these flights had its own separate maintenance “set up”, with all equipment required for minor and major inspections. Each of these flights also kept its own supply of spares and tools, and minor and major inspections on aircraft were carried out by the ground crew who remained with the aircraft for all purposes including daily servicing.

This was so obviously uneconomical, not only in equipment, spares and tools, but also in the employment of skilled men and expenditure of man hours, that the new scheme was brought into force very soon after the commencement of hostilities.

The maintenance layout then consisted of the Flying Flights and a Maintenance Flight. Squadrons were still maintained as separate units, but the detailed maintenance was carried out in “M” (Maintenance Flight), i.e. minor and major inspections, acceptance checks and engine or power plant changes, whilst in the Flying Flights, daily inspections, refuelling and rectification of petty unserviceability only was necessary. The man power was of course split up accordingly, the more skilled and experienced men forming the maintenance gangs, whilst the men with less experience were employed in the flying flights.

The economy was marked and as can be visualised, only one squadron store, one pool of ground equipment for aircraft inspections and one set of test equipment for the various ancilliary trades were necessary. The economy however which made itself felt as much as anything was the saving of man-hours caused by the use of highly skilled men on detailed maintenance in the Maintenance Flight, with the result that a generally higher serviceability state was achieved.

There was a certain amount of opposition to this scheme by those who though that flights would lose their identity and spirit. This did not happen.

At a later date a further change in maintenance organisation took place. This was the formation of Station Maintenance. The resources of all squadrons on a station were pooled, and a Station Major Servicing Section was formed, catering for all major servicing work for all squadrons on the station.

These two improvements were merely forerunners of the present Base Maintenance Organisation and the advantages from the aircraft maintenance point of view are manifold.

With this scheme, squadrons do not carry out any of the detailed maintenance, this being left to the Base Major Servicing or Repair and Inspection Squadron. All tradesmen with the exception of the daily servicing squadron are controlled entirely by the Chief Technical Officer, so that by far the greatest amount of maintenance work which goes to keep the squadron at a high serviceability figure is carried out by tradesmen who, whilst working for the squadrons may not be known by members of the squadron.

It would appear therefore that those who said that we would lose the Squadron spirit etc., stood a good chance of being correct. These fears were proved groundless; the spirit has grown to embrace something which was very rare in the early days of the war. Not only have we squadron spirit which has never been as strong as it is now, but we also have pride in the station and Base achievements, and progress of the Group has naturally followed.

An extract from a letter written by a Flight Commander to the Base Maintenance Staff at his Base is typical of the spirit which exists at present. The letter refers to certain aircraft which had been modified, and brought up to operational standard in time for a specific operation, and continues:-

“It is known that in order to have these aircraft ready for operational requirements it was necessary for the staff to sacrifice much of their leisure time and to work long hours without relief.

“Occasions such as this bring forcibly to notice the excellent work being performed daily by the ground staff, and show how necessary it is for us to have their co-operation.

“We member [sic] of aircrew know that we can rely on the ground staff to help in every way possible, and we hope that we can show our appreciation by carrying out the duties in our particular sphere with the same thoroughness, perseverance, and resourcefulness which we have learned to expect from the members of ground staff.”


Interrogation, Easter Monday:-

“That wasn’t a U-boast, it was me – low!”.

Thus, when 5 Group staged a large scale comeback to gardening, out of six aircraft specially detailed to mine a stretch of water in the Eastern Gardens about the width of a runway, 4 (3 of 106 and 1 of 49 Squadrons) were successful despite heavy opposition, and the remaining 2 (49 Squadron) after valiant attempts, during which good use was made of firing the front guns, correctly planted in another furrow. The remaining 50 gardeners put down 244 vegetables off ports in the Gulf of Danzig. Two were missing and one returned early after jettisoning safe in the North Sea. This operation took place almost exactly on the fourth anniversary of the opening by 5 Group of Bomber Command’s mining offensive. During the four years over 30,000 vegetables have been planted, and over 1,000,000 tons of enemy shipping accounted for.

On 18/19th April, and again on 23/24th April, the approaches to Swinemunde received a total of 125 vegetables.

These attacks in the Baltic fill what was a serious gap in the mining campaign in these waters. This year intensive minelaying has been carried out by the Command to the West of Pomeranian Bay with highly successful results. One effect of this, however, was to intensify the use of mine-free waters further east as:-

(i) Training areas for all types of Warships especially U-boats.

(ii) Supply routes for vital imports and military exports to Scandinavia.

(iii) Supply routes to the North Russian front.

Press reports describe very great congestion throughout the Baltic due to closing of ports and channels; P.R.U. cover of the Western Baltic shows some of this, but was unfortunately not obtained of the 5 Group Gardens. Ground reports of sinkings are hard to come by, and take time to reach us, so for the moment we must wait for the news – which will surely come providing our mines were well and truly laid in the swept channels.

The summary of the month’s work is as follows:-

Sorties 80
Successful 77
%age successful 96.25
Mileage flown 126,880
Total vegetables planted 388

The Squadrons responsible were:- 44, 49, 57, 630, 207 and 106.

The Command effort for this month resulted in the successful planting of 2,643 vegetables in some 40 gardens ranging from South West France to the Gulf of Danzig. About half this total was planted in the Baltic, a quarter in the North Sea and the remainder in the Bay of Biscay and Channel. This is easily a record – the previous highest total for one month being 1,869, in April, 1943. A German Naval Correspondent of Transocean, states that in the Channel alone it has been necessary to treble the mine sweeping effort, but discreetly does not mention the Baltic. The problem that faces the German mine sweeping effort is to cope with a great increase in mining spread over some 2000 miles of shipping lanes. The same correspondent complains that we sometimes use 12 different types of mines necessitating the use of numbers of ships fitted with different types of sweeps to clear the same patch, [sic] of water. In fact, the number of different

(Continued in previous column)

types of mine now in use is about four times that number.

A special word of praise is due to the Armament Staffs for their complete success in the unfamiliar work of preparing and loading the vegetables. In particular, East Kirkby’s effort on the 9th April, in sending off 108 in good order, was outstanding. In some cases the weekly stock return continues to be rendered incorrectly, chiefly due to confusion about the different types sterilisers for the new and old marks of mines. The correct use of these sterilisers will literally be a matter of life and death to any of our forces who may operate in areas where we use them, and now is the time therefore, to clear up any doubts as to exactly what types are held.

Station Tracings have proved something of a stumbling block, as have some of the details required in Raid Reports. Both are designed to answer the question – “where do those mines actually fall”, using all the available evidence. Naturally the planning and success of future operations, especially the “triphibious” variety, depend to a large extent on the accuracy of this information.

5 Group News. No. 21. April, 1944. Page 2.

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There has been a marked improvement in the navigation this month. Navigators are now realising how important it is to obtain constant checks on their position by intelligent use of either H2S or application of the broadcast w/v’s.

H2S navigators and bomb aimers are checking and cross checking all fixes they receive. If the navigator obtains constant D.R. positions along track, say every 15 minutes, and corrects these positions as ground speed checks are obtained, then it is impossible to obtain wrong fixes on the H 2 S. All Navigators should ensure that bomb aimers cross check every fix obtained, no matter how confident they may be. Also remember that a track made good, w/v and G/S check can be obtained from an unknown response. Very few operators make use of this.

The majority of navigators now use the broadcast w/v’s in an intelligent manner. There are a few, however, who [underlined] do not. ALL NAVIGATORS [/underlined] are to make a regular practice of obtaining a D.R. position by use of broadcast winds every 30 minutes – and do not forget to use the “Past” w/v!! If the D.R. position obtained places the aircraft off track, alter course immediately and regain track. Now that 5 Group operate alone, concentration is even more important. Station Navigation Officers must have a concentrated drive in this direction, and ensure that all H 2 S navigators are making the fullest possible use of their equipment, and also that the remainder are making full use of broadcast w/v’s, by obtaining constant D.R. positions checks on ground speed etc.

The importance of timing was discussed in last month’s “News”. We would do well however, to reconsider this subject seriously. Accurate timekeeping is more important now than ever before. The largest discrepancies in timing occur on the return journey. This is due partly to the fact that aircraft do not all bomb at the same time and therefore do not leave the target at the same time. To overcome this it may be necessary to establish a concentration point on the return journey, situated close to the target. It is obvious, however, that many navigators make no effort to achieve good timing; they merely carry on and get there “sometime or other”. There are a few pilots who consistently fly at greater speeds than those laid down, and consequently on the return journey are some 10 or 15 minutes ahead of the main force, By so doing they give the Hun a few extra minutes warning of the route home, apart from exposing themselves to individual interception. Station and Squadron Navigation Officers must watch for and stem any tendency for bad time-keeping. Sufficient navigational aids are now available to ensure that you are on track and on time. Now it is up to [underlined] YOU [/underlined].

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

April has been a very good month for broadcast w/v’s, particularly since the Group began operating alone. Windfinders have been doing an excellent job. On two occasions this month more than 300 w/v’s were received from aircraft – an excellent effort. Windfinders are transmitting all the winds they obtain. If you note a sudden change in the wind direction or speed, then provided you are satisfied with the fixes used, send back [missing word] w/v immediately.

There are one or two cases, however of navigators chosen as windfinders not realising their responsibility. One navigator for instance, stated that he just couldn’t be bothered to send back w/v’s!! Another said that sufficient w/v’s were being sent back by other aircraft, so he didn’t bother either. Those few navigators who are chosen as windfinders must realise that the whole Group is navigating on the w/v’s they transmit to Base. We cannot afford to have anyone “not bothering”. So buck up chaps, the vast majority of you are doing an excellent job, but those few, who just “don’t bother” – well -- !!

Many experiments have been carried out on French targets to ascertain the most accurate and practical method of obtaining a bombing W/V, which must of course, be a w/v prevailing in the target area. The experiments have proved that the most accurate method is to use a datum point in conjunction with the A.P.I. It is hoped therefore that this method will be adopted on all future operations where practical. Any suggestions or criticisms on this subject will be welcomed.

[Underlined] ASTRO NAVIGATION. [/underlined]

It has been decided that Astro can no longer be considered as an essential aid to navigation. Much time has been devoted to teaching this subject to Navigators, but the results obtained do not justify this training. Therefore this training time is to be devoted to improving the general standard of navigation. More time is to be devoted to plotting and computing two of the weakest links in navigation at the moment.

This decision for not mean that Astro is now “dead” and can be forgotten by all., It is still a standby aid, and all navigators should keep themselves in practice. There have been isolated incidents where a Polaris shot or an Astro fix have been the means of saving an aircraft. You may find yourselves in such a predicament one night – so be ready.

All Astrographs and sextants are to be withdrawn from aircraft, but those navigators who are considered by the Station Navigation Officer as competent Astro Navigators may draw the equipment from the station stores.

[Underlined] SUGGESTIONS AND IDEAS [/underlined]

(i) Many station and squadron navigation officers find it impossible to spend as much time as they would like in supervising the work of a new navigator, and teaching him all the things he should know. To overcome this [underlined] East Kirkby [/underlined] put each navigator under the care of a very experienced navigator whose responsibility it is to supervise the other at briefing, to check his log and chart the next day, and to pass on to him all useful information and “tips”. In short the senior navigator acts as a “father” to the “sprog”.

This scheme is working extremely well, and should be adopted by all squadrons.

(ii) Many navigators cannot remember to check compasses regularly. [Underlined] Dunholme [/underlined] have overcome this by marking red or green dots on the face of the Astro watch. This serves as a constant reminder to the navigator. It is recommended that compasses be checked every 20 minutes, and therefore the dots on the face of the Astro watch should be spaced accordingly.

(iii) [Underlined] Metheringham [/underlined] suggest that since Astro will no longer be used to any great extent that astrograph films should be treated and used instead of Gee charts. The procedure would be to mark on the film the lattice lines in the same way as on the Gee Charts. The film or films applicable for each night’s operation would be placed in the aircraft before take-off.

There are two great advantages:-

(a) Fixes would be plotted directly on the plotting chart, thus saving time and reducing the risk of errors.

(b) It would not be necessary to carry a large supply of Gee Charts as at present.

[Underlined] P.F.F. [/underlined]

We welcome the arrival of the 3 P.F.F. squadrons to this Group. There is no doubt that we shall be able to pick up from them many useful ideas and suggestions. These will be passed on to Squadrons as soon as possible.

It is hoped that all station navigation Officers will make a determined effort to visit these 3 squadrons whilst they are attached to the Group.

[Underlined] AIR POSITION INDICATOR [/underlined]

It was stated in last month’s Summary that one A.P.I. was being modified by having a “miles flown counter” fitted. This has been done & has been tested by No.617 Squadron on three 6-hour cross countries, undertaken at operational height.

The results are as follows:-

Miles flown registered on counter = 2927
Miles flown calculated by navigator = 2892
Percentage error = 1.2

These tests have proved conclusively that the over reading error in the A.P.I. is negligible.

Permission is now being obtained from Bomber Command for the fitting of the “air miles flown” counter to all A.P.I’s. The manufacturers state however, that the modification may not be retrospective.

There is still considerable difference of opinion as to the best method of using the A.P.I. One third of the Group prefer to reset, the remainder prefer the “graphical” resetting method. It is not necessary to lay down any one method of use but Station Nav Officers must ensure that all Navigators use one of the above two methods.

Station navigations officers are to discuss the use of the A.P.I. with all navigators. Any suggestions on improvements or methods of resetting etc. should be tried out immediately and if successful passed to Group Headquarters.

[Underlined] ANSWERS TO LAST MONTH’S QUIZ [/underlined]

1. Put the switch on the heading Control unit to “Manual” and by means of the setting knob adjust the line of flight marker until it corresponds to the true course as indicated by the P.4 compass. Maintain the switch on “manual” until the D.R. compass is functioning correctly, when you should switch to “Auto”.

(Continued on page 4, Column1.)


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(Continued from page 3 column 3)

2. To obtain ground returns, tune in brightest responses on the P.P.I. by means of brightness, contrast, gain and tuning controls. To obtain correct height set range drum at zero and adjust the range marker ring by means of the height control until it is on the first ground returns.

3. (i) Check the pinpoint yourself, visually and by the aid of D.R.

(ii) If pinpoint correct, alter course immediately to regain track by 30° if more than 10 miles off track, by 15° if less than 10 miles off track.

4. You would lose the time in hand by flying small dog legs, preferably either side of track, and of a maximum duration of 2 minutes. Dog legs to be completed before reaching a position 50 miles from the target. Navigator must use his own discretion as to the most suitable area in which to lose time.

5. (i) France (ii) Germany (French name for AACHEN) (iii) Germany (iv) Belgium (v) Czecho-Slovakia (vi) Germany (Part of Berlin).

6. Stuttgart to London.

[Underlined] UNION NEWS [/underlined]

S/Ldr Quinn, DFC. Sqdn Nav. Officer 50 Sqdn to Stn Nav. Officer, Skellingthorpe.

F/Lt Cunningham 50 Sqdn promoted to Sqdn Nav. Officer.

F/Lt. Waterkeyn Sqdn Nav. Officer 44 Sqdn to P.F.F.

F/Lt. Woodhouse, DFM. H2S Instructor, Metheringham to Sqdn. Nav. Officer, 44 Squadron.

P/O Blackham 49 Squadron to H2S Instructor, Metheringham.

F/Lt. Bone, DFC. H2S Instructor Swinderby to Sqdn. Nav. Officer 106 Squadron.

F/Lt. Murphy Sqdn. Nav. Officer No. 467 Sqdn. to No. 61 Squadron (with W/Cdr Doubleday)

F/O Abbott 467 Squadron promoted to Sqdn. Nav. Officer.

F/Lt. Bonefield Sqdn. Nav. Officer, No. 9 Squadron – Missing.

F/Lt. Jones Nav. Officer, 1660 Con. Unit to Sqdn. Nav. Officer 9 Squadron.

S/Ldr. Georgeson, DFC. Sqdn. Nav. Officer No.83. Squadron.

S/Ldr Stevens, DFC. Sqdn. Nav. Officer, No.97 Squadron.


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

[Underlined] 9 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[/Underlined] 44 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 49 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 50 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 57 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 61 SQUADRON [/underlined]

F/O S. HALLIWELL, D.F.C. Bar to D.F.C.

[Underlined] 97 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 106 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 467 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 617 SQUADRON [/underlined]

W/CDR G.L. CHESHIRE, D.S.O. & BAR 2nd Bar to D.S.O.
F/L C.K. ASTBURY, D.F.C. Bar to D.F.C.
S/LDR J.C. MCCARTHY, D.S.O. D.F.C. Bar to D.F.C.

[Underlined] 630 SQUADRON [/underlined]

F/L W. KELLAWAY, D.S.O. Bar to D.S.O.

[Underlined] 83 SQUADRON [/underlined]


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

[Underlined] 9 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 44 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 49 SQUADRON [/underlined]

SGT. (NOW P/O [sic] A.E. BOASE D.F.M.

[Underlined] 50 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 57 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 61 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[/Underlined] 97 SQUADRON [/underlined]

F/L J. SEARS, D.F.C. Bar to D.F.C.

[Underlined] 106 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 207 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 467 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 630 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 463 SQUADRON [/underlined]


5 GROUP NEWS. NO.21. APRIL, 1944. PAGE 4

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April has provided another milestone on our road to the fullest use being made of radiations and echoes helping to get more bombs on the target. V.H.F. R/T has been fitted to two more squadrons – W/T has provided almost 100% communication between Controllers and Main Forces – the serviceability of all Radar devices has improved.

We are grateful to all those outside the Group who have helped us so readily – particularly 92 Group and the Signals Schools with their special drive to train Wireless Operators to read morse through severe interference and to tune their W/T sets with one eye on a C.R.T.

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

A hearty welcome to all those faces, both old and new, that have appeared within the Group since our last edition.

April 1944 will long be remembered in the history of 5 Group as a month of hard work, which was crowned with the success it so richly deserved. Wireless Operators (Air) played their part with the energy and determination that is always to be found when there is an extra job to be done, and a large slice of the credit for our recent achievements is due to them.

As usual, the “Back Room Boys” at stations and in our own W/T cabin at Headquarters gladly threw their weight into the fray, and we are indebted to them. Their keenness has always been an inspiration.

Several points have been brought out this month, first and foremost being the quality of morse emanating from the Controllers’ aircraft. There has been a noticeable difference between operators, which, if all past suggestions re training had been acted upon, should never re-occur.

It has been stressed time and again that ANY ONE Wireless Operator (Air) may be called upon to transmit control signals and the only way to ensure perfection is by constant practice.

In this connection, it is pointed out that the Group exercise is an ideal medium for improvement of morse (although not even a whisper of control code must be allowed to pass through the other), and during the coming month the exercise frequency will be closely watched.

Signals Leaders, get this fact thoroughly instilled into your flock – “The ultimate success or failure of future operations may depend on the ability of a Wireless Operator to send or receive signals”. Display it in your training room, convert it into morse symbols, give morse tests regularly each week for we have reached a stage in the conflict where every minute spent in training counts one hundred fold in the air.

[Underlined] EARLY WARNING DEVICES [/underlined]

The following is a combat report from 619 Squadron for the night of 22/23 April:-

“The first indication was a contact by W/Op. on Visual Monica Mark V at 1,800 yards… E/A dropped back out of gunner’s sight and W/Op reported it 800 yards astern down… E/A broke away to starboard and disappeared from gunner’s sight, W/Op again reported E/A 1100 yards, closing slowly…E/A disappeared and was reported once again by the W/Op.”

The outcome of this combat was one JU. 88 probably destroyed. Sgt. Brady, Wireless Operator (Air) deserves the highest praise for his reporting.

You see, it can be done, and when handled in the proper manner not only SAVES YOUR AIRCRAFT but probably destroys a Hun, which reduces the total that can be put in the air against you on the following operation.

Once again, there is only one path to take to success, and that path is labelled TRAINING. Constant practice with your Early Warning devices will pay handsome dividends.

Points for Signals Leaders to include in their “daily ration” to the Section:-

(i) Spare Groups No.12 and 15 in CD.0250.

(ii) X114 and X623 are still being used by some careless operators.

(iii) Log keeping could improve (we have seen some good logs this month).

(iv) More practice – or has that been mentioned somewhere before?

F/O Cook, D.F.M., has gone to No.9 Sqdn., as Signals Leader.

F/Lts Gronow and Chambers, D.F.C. are the Signals Leaders of Nos.83 and 97 Squadrons respectively, who are to be congratulated in accepting such a sudden change of procedure and dovetailing into the 5 Group system with the minimum of trouble.

[Underlined] SIGNALS MAINTENANCE [/underlined]

Facts and Figures about Failures

Out of a total of 2034 operational sorties during the month, 34 Signals failures were reported. Although these represent an increase over last month’s figure, this can be attributed almost entirely to the rise in Category 4 failures (miscellaneous). It is again stressed that Category 4 failures are most unsatisfactory. Most of the failures in this Category are of the type “Equipment reported u/s. O.K. on ground test. No fault found.” Every effort must be made to pin down any reported failure to some definite cause.

An investigation into failures in this Group over the past year reveals some interesting results. Apart from an unfortunate month in February, the percentage of failures shows a slight decrease over the year. This unfortunate February figure coincides with a large percentage of miscellaneous failures as well as a large percentage of T.1154/R.1155 failures. Category I (Equipment) failures show a general tendency to rise during the year. The other categories (2 and 3) have a see saw effect and no general conclusion can be made.

Intercom. failures over the year show a pronounced tendency to decrease, while T.1154/R.1155 failures show a corresponding pronounced increase. The reason for the former can be put down to the energetic drive which Signals Officers have kept up in their Squadron Maintenance Sections against this type of fault. The reason for the latter is not hard to find. During the past year the W/T installation has come into its own again and is an essential piece of equipment for the success of current operations. Whereas in the past unserviceability of the of the main W/T installation may have gone by unnoticed, now it cannot escape report.

[Underlined] THE OLD ORDER CHANGETH…. [/underlined]

Authority has finally been given for the removal of S.D.A. equipment from all Lancaster aircraft in 5 Group. This event has fortunately coincided with the partial introduction of V.H.F. (T.R.1143) installation. Command have agreed in principle that the fitting of V.H.F. is a necessity for the success of the type of operation now being undertaken by 5 Group, and every endeavour is being made to find sufficient equipment to fit all 5 Group squadrons. Careful thought has been given to the possibility of utilising the S.B.A. connectors as a small contribution to ease the very tight V.H.F. equipment production. The only small saving envisioned is the main receiver aerial and lead in; the length of the aerial will, of course, have to be shortened.

[Underlined] RADAR [/underlined]

Last month saw a great improvement in the serviceability of all Radar equipment. However, before anyone relaxes and sticks his chest out, it should be remembered that the advent of warm, dry weather was a contributory cause. In addition, many sorties have been at lower altitudes than usual, which would eliminate many of those non-reproduceable faults.

(Continued on page 6, col.1)

Then and Now – and how!!

[Underlined] Then [/underlined] In Ancient times, the D.S.O.
Performed his duties staid and slow.
He did his routine work by day,
And dozed his duty nights away,
Untroubled save for threats of violence
‘Gainst those who busted wireless silence!

[Underlined] Now [/underlined] The aethor’s full of legal dope
Which we receive, (at least we hope!).
It’s also full of surplus dits
Transmitted by the brainier twits;
While brighter souls – misguided clots –
Originate redundant dots!

Amendments to a basic plan
Are never ending, and unman
The D.S.O. who, frantic, chases
Vital gen in awkward places;
And rubs – with bitter rueful tear –
His Port, or Telephonic, Ear!

Poor chap, how like a sponge his brain,
Which, like a sponge, he’ll learn to squeeze;
And fill it daily once again
With brand new gen – with practiced ease!!


5 GROUP NEWS. APRIL, 1944. NO.21 PAGE 5.

[Page break]


(Continued from Page 8, col.3)

Having however, realised the existence of those contributory causes, it is possible to say that a considerable increase in serviceability was due to more efficient maintenance and manipulation. It is sincerely hoped that this improvement will continue.

[Underlined] H 2 S [/underlined]

A total of 767 sorties was flown with H.2.S, with 99 defects for a serviceability rate if 87.87. This is an increase of 10% over March. With an extra effort, and the weather on our side it could be made over 90% in May.

There has been a noticeable drop in filament transformer failures, largely due to the weather and height conditions. It is not expected that we will see the end of filament transformer breakdowns until the new type is introduced. The same is true for the 2000v condensers.

The expansion of H 2 S training in Conversion Units should go a long way towards eliminating the alarming number of manipulation failures. Manipulation and maintenance failures can be eliminated by constant training.

The arrival of 83 and 97 Squadrons has given us a taste of equipment to come. These Squadrons have a few Mark III sets and every one is very pleased with their performance. To date, the serviceability of the equipment is 92.8% which is very satisfactory for a new set. In this connection a debt is owed to 8 Group for having pioneered so well and eliminated most of the teething troubles. We can now look forward to a general changeover to Mark III with confidence in our ability to maintain and use it.

[Underlined] FISHPOND [/underlined]

Fishpond was 86% serviceable, an increase of 8% over March. This increase is of little value of W/Ops are not fully trained in the use of this equipment. The necessity for the Navigator – W/Op co-ordination cannot be overemphasised. Efforts have been made to reduce the minimum range below its present 600 – 800 yards. These have been unsuccessful, but it is believed the “back room boys” are now on the right track, so an answer should be forthcoming soon.

[Underlined] GEE [/underlined]

As usual, Gee is top man when it comes to serviceability. In 96.5% of sorties, Gee was 100& serviceable. This reflects credit on both maintenance personnel and navigators, as it is an increase of 1.2% over last month. Gee could be made almost 100% serviceable; those last few percent are hard to get, but keep trying. The next few months of dry weather should give ample opportunity to break all records.

[Underlined] MONICA MARK IIIA [/underlined]

The expression “Ever Upwards” could be fittingly applied to Mark IIIA serviceability. This Group has watched Monica grow from an idea to a headache when the word “Switchmotor” nearly drove a Radar mechanic mad, and now to a reliable and efficient tail warning device. April serviceability was 91.6% out of 534 sorties, an increase of 1.3% on March.

An examination of combat reports provides innumerable examples of Monica’s capabilities in the hands of a trained operator. The fitting of 10 aircraft at 5 L.F.S. should relieve squadrons of a great deal of preliminary training.

[Underlined] MONICA MARK V [/underlined]

Another 5 Group “baby” (Lulu to some) is growing up, after a rather shaky beginning. Out of 299 sorties flown, 259 were trouble free for a serviceability rate of 86.7% - an increase of 5%. Now that the initial teething snags are over, it should be possible to make Mark V follow the footsteps of IIIA and push serviceability to 90%.


[Underlined] PRECISION ATTACKS [/underlined]

The big step made this month towards perfection of target marking, with its detailed methods of target illumination, initial marking, assessing, backing up, and controlling the force, although introducing many new ideas and problems, has brought little change in basic tactics. Indeed more attention than ever must be directed to tactics, particularly to precise orders and instructions given out for each operation. Special attention must be paid to timing and track keeping, adherence to allocated heights, compliance with instructions from the Controller and an exact knowledge of the marking method. These are dealt with separately.

[Underlined] TIMING AND TRACK KEEPING [/underlined]

The force employed on each target is now normally very much smaller than that in the past. This means that greater accuracy is needed in timing and keeping on track. It also means that if you stray a few miles off track with force of 150 aircraft or less, you are more likely to be singled out by G.C.I. than if you stray the same distance with a force of 800aircraft. Timing is vital. Only a limited number of target markers are dropped, and unless all aircraft are ready to bomb on time, these may be obscured by smoke or blown out by the bombs that drop before yours, and in any case may be difficult to locate.

[Underlined] HEIGHT BAND [/underlined]

The allocation of height bands to Bases, which means that each crew must fly at a given height, has been introduced for several reasons and entirely for your own protection. Firstly, it is intended to protect the force against a collision risk, mainly in the target area, where it may be necessary to do dog legs. Secondly, as a countermeasure against barrage flak. The Hun must now put up the same number of rounds into a very much larger area than before, thus decreasing the chance of individual aircraft being hit. Thirdly, combined with extremely accurate timing, the length of the stream can be very much shorter, and therefore less liable to interception by radio controlled fighters. To achieve the full advantage of this scheme, it must be accompanied by a drive by each Captain to make sure that Window is always thrown out correctly, particularly OVER THE TARGET AREA. If this is done, then there is no reason why crews at the lower heights need have any concern. It is, however, their duty to tighten up the normal crew search procedure and to be aware of fighters which may attack from above.

[Underlined] CONTROLLER’S INSTRUCTIONS [/underlined]

It is essential to comply strictly with the Controller’s instructions throughout the attack, and his decisions should never be questioned in the air. A wrongly timed load of incendiaries dropped whilst the Mosquitos are examining the roof tops to assess the marking, may upset the whole routine and possibly divert the main weight of the attack.

[Underlined] TARGET MARKING METHODS [/underlined]

All crews must be quite clear before leaving the briefing room of the colour of the spot-fires to be used, and the details of the controlling code. It doesn’t pay to be doubtful after you have taken off. You must be ready to carry out orders given over the target without hesitation.

(Continued in col.2)

TACTICS (Continued from Col.3)

[Underlined] TAIL WARNING DEVICES [/underlined]

The fruits of good training in tail warning devices are borne out by the following Combat Report. Each month there are many similar instances of fighters which have been beaten off because the correct drill has been carried out. Each month there are also instances of fighter damage sustained, and the fighter that did it is not picked up until after the attack. It pays to practice the reporting code at least once a day!

“First indication was contact by W/Optr. on Visual Monica Mk.V, 1,800 yards, Port Quarter down. Pilot altered course and E/A followed and closed in to 800 yards. W/Optr. ordered corkscrew to Port, and at the same time E/A opened fire and scored hits on tail unit on Lancaster “G”. R/G sighted E/A at 500 yards, Port beam down 30° and opened fire. E/A fired again and missed Lancaster. W/Optr. reported E/A closing in slowly and R/G sighted it at 500 yards astern level. R/G opened fire and E/A broke away to Starboard Quarter up. Hits claimed on E/A which disappeared from Gunner’s sight. W/Optr. again reported E/A on starboard quarter up at 1,100 yards and closing slowly. Rear and Mid-Upper Gunners sighted E/A simultaneously at 500 yards, Starboard Quarter level. Both gunners opened fire and scored hits on E/A which broke away at 300 yards, diving to Port Quarter down with smoke pouring from both engines.”

The Station Commander’s comments are self-explanatory: “I consider that Mark V Monica saved this crew. The Wireless Operator’s commentary was excellent, and the crew co-operation of a very high standard.”

FLYING CONTROL (Continued from page 15)

play a part in the final choice. From the condition of the airfield right down to such small items as the cleanliness of the flare path party room will be reviewed, so if you want to top the bill S.F.C.O’s, start cracking the whip NOW.

[Underlined] BLIND LANDING EQUIPMENT [/underlined]

It has been decided by this Group to remove all S.B.A. equipment from operational aircraft and it is hoped that in the not too distant future other and better means will be introduced. The first piece of equipment which we hope to get is a P.P.I. which will be installed in the watch tower and on which will be indicated the positions of all aircraft in the circuit.

Other equipment such as Radar Landing Beam, coupled with a Radar G.P.I. Radar Homing Beacons will all follow in due course. These will naturally give Flying Control Officers more work and more responsibilities but with the increased safety of aircraft this work and the short training required will be well repaid.

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.21. APRIL, 1944. PAGE 6

[Page break]


April has been a most satisfying month for the bombing crews of 5 Group. Numerous precision attacks have been carried out with a great measure of success. The front pages of the Daily Press made public the achievements of 5 Group when they printed the after-bombing photographs of the marshalling yards at JUVISY, South of Paris. Equal success rewarded the attacks at TOURS and LA CHAPPELLE. The raid on MUNICH was successful, and a fair measure of success resulted from the attacks on BRUNSWICK and SCHWEINFURT. Finally, further small factories near OSLO, BORDEAUX and CLERMONT FERRAND are now devastated.

[Underlined] HOW HAS ALL THIS BEEN ACHIEVED? [/underlined]

Firstly, of course, most credit is due to the marking success of 54 Base. The next main contribution to the Group’s success has been the intense practice bombing carried out by the squadrons for the last year.

Owing to the very limited time available for bombing training at Conversion Units the final co-ordination of the bombing team has to be carried out on the squadrons. Much credit is due to the Conversion Units for their efforts, and particular praise is due to the Lancaster Finishing School who have elevated the importance of crew practice bombing to the extent of averaging between 12,000 and 18,000 feet in all bombing exercises over the last three months!!!

However, the crews are inexperienced with both aircraft and bombsight on arrival in the squadrons and intensive training is essential to bring them into line with the precision our operations require.

[Underlined] THE MARK XIV BOMBSIGHT [/underlined]

This bombsight has proved its worth. Although it is by no means a perfect sight, it is true that provided it is expertly maintained by the Instrument Sections and carefully handled by the Air Bombers, it can put bomb loads on to a target.

Air Bombers should make sure that their bombsights [underlined] are [/underlined] serviceable. It is the most important individual item of equipment that your aircraft carried, and as such should be the most carefully maintained. Its best test is on the practice bombing range – 6 bombs aimed accurately on different headings should produce a CLOSE GROUP. If not, then SOMETHING is wrong – report it to the instrument section – help them to find out what is wrong and then test it again. It may not always be possible to get this test exercise in the air – if not you must do the next best – carry out the exhaustive N.F.T. check.

In every P.R.U. picture there are sticks off the main concentration – it is almost certain that these sticks are wide because they were aimed with an unserviceable bombsight – are they yours? Were you absolutely certain that on Juvisy, La Chappelle, Tours, Brunswick, Munich or Schweinfurt, your bombsight was functioning correctly – when did you last do practice bombing with it – did you give is a thorough check during your N.F.T. or Ground Check? Did you??

[Underlined] NOTE [/underlined]

O.R.S. at Bomber Command have conducted a painstaking analysis of 5 Group’s practice and operational bombing. They report that

(Continued on Page 8 Column 1)

[Underlined] HIGH LEVEL BOMBING TRAINING [/underlined]


[Table of Bombing Training achievements by Squadron and Conversion Units]

[Underlined] THE BEST RESULTS FOR APRIL. [/underlined]

In previous months all crew errors at 20,000 ft. of less than 150 yards were listed in this column However, in April [underlined] 103 [/underlined] such results were obtained and it is therefore impossible to record them all. The crew errors of less than 100 yards are shown this month but it is confidently expected that in future space will only permit inclusion of results of less than 75 yards. It is possible – the list below proves it – therefore it must be done!!!

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

9 S/Ldr. Keir F/Sgt. Coates P/O. Lewis 54 yards
44 F/O. Oldham F/O. Petts Sgt. McKerrow 99 yards
49 F/Lt. Adams F/Sgt. Underwood S/Ldr. Evans 84 yards
F/O. Edwards F/O W. Smith F/Sgt. Cavanagh 83 yards
50 P/O. Lundy F/O. Bignall F/Sgt. Jordan 90 yards
P/O. McFarlin Sgt. Ball Sgt. Elliott 75 yards
F/O. Botha Sgt. Thompson F/O. Bishton 95 yards
S/Ldr. McLeod Sgt. Price F/Lt. Cunningham 80 yards
61 P/O. Ascott F/Sgt. May F/O. Ward 98 yards
F/O. Jeavons Sgt. Graham F/Sgt. Dow 93 yards
F/O. Paul P/O. Cook P/O. Griffin 40 yards
W/Cdr. Stidolph F/O. Aley F/O. Dyer 71 yards
F/Sgt. Woolnough F/O. Ravenscroft F/O. Haggerstone 71 yards
467 F/Lt. Marshall F/Sgt. Borman F/O. Easton 96 yards
619 P/O. Roberts F/Sgt. DeViell F/Sgt. Lott 43 yards
P/O. Saunders F/O. Rosenfield F/Sgt. Greacen 84 yards
630 F/Lt. Roberts F/Sgt. Jeffery F/Sgt. Davies 75 yards
S/Ldr. Calvert F/Sgt. Hogg F/O. Beaudoin 95 yards
Sgt. Mallinson Sgt. Pomeroy Sgt. Nassau 73 yards
F/O. Joblin F/O. Beeson F/O. Lambton 80 yards
1654 F/O. McLaughlan Sgt. Leeson F/O. Phillips 90 yards
F/Sgt. Pethick Sgt. Wallace F/O. Baldwin 82 yards
P/O. Richards Sgt. Buckby Sgt. Fazackerley 93 yards
F/O. Long F/O. De Sautels Sgt. Thomas 88 yards
1661 Sgt. Marsh Sgt. Carr ? ? 98 yards
5 LFS F/O. Oldham F/O. Petts Sgt. McKerrow 98 yards
617 F/O. Knights F/Sgt. Bell ) The best two 49 yards
S/Ldr. Munro F/Lt. Astbury ) exercises 53 yards

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.21. APRIL, 1944. PAGE 7

[Page break]


[Underlined] SQUADRON BOMBING COMPETITION. [/underlined]

APRIL has produced the first maximum entry for the Competition since its inception in June, 1943. Some excellent results have been submitted and hearty congratulations are due to 61 Squadron for their outstanding exercises. The results are as follows:-


1st 61 Squadron – 55 Yards 1st 50 Squadron – 59 Yards.
2nd 619 Squadron – 63 Yards 2nd 61 Squadron – 84 Yards.
3rd 49 Squadron – 71 Yards 3rd 619 Squadron – 96 Yards.
4th 50 Squadron – 80 Yards 4th 630 Squadron – 98 Yards
5th 44 Squadron – 81 Yards 5th 463 Squadron – 111 Yards.
6th (630 Squadron – 90 Yards 6th 44 Squadron – 125 Yards.
(106 Squadron – 90 Yards 7th 57 Squadron – 136 Yards.
8th 207 Squadron - 101 Yards 8th 467 Squadron – 141 Yards.
9th 9 Squadron – 112 Yards 9th 49 Squadron – 152 Yards.
10th 463 Squadron – 116 Yards 10th 106 Squadron – 163 Yards.
11th 467 Squadron – 125 Yards 11th 9 Squadron – 167 Yards.
12th 57 Squadron – 135 Yards 12th 207 Squadron – 188 Yards.

Group Captain Butler (R.A.F. Dunholme Lodge) produced a token cup to celebrate 44 Squadron’s victory in March. It is hoped that 44 will pass on the token to 61 Squadron.

It is noteworthy that the three Squadrons of 52 Base are all in the first five.

[Underlined] LEADER COMPETITION. [/underlined]

Only two entries were received this month:-

1st F/Lt. FARARA (630 Sqdn) – 85 yds.

2nd F/Lt. McDONALD (61 Sqdn) – 160 yds.

Congratulations F/Lt. Farara!!

(Continued from Page [sic]

our errors on both are similar – that means that 5 Group Bombing Teams achieve substantially the same results on German targets that they obtain at Wainfleet, Epperstone, Owthorpe and Bassingham Ranges, therefore, it merely remains to improve our results on the “home” ranges in order to obtain more hits on the “away” targets.

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

[Underlined] 106 Sqdn. [/underlined] (F/Lt. Wake DFC) reports that their descent from top position in the Bombing Competition is only temporary and is due to their best crews finishing about the same time. Other Squadrons are warned that 106 intend to be back at the top by the end of May.

[Underlined] 44 Sqdn. [/underlined] (F/Lt. Lowry) have constructed an effective Mk.XIV mock-up as follows:-

1. No suction used – Gyros are counter-balanced in Sighting Head and Computor.

2. All electric motor is used to obtain pressure.

3 Airspeed and Height operation is obtained by connecting two external sylphan tubes to the static and pitot heads of Computor Unit. Attached to sylphan tubes are adjustable thumb screws to enable airspeed and height indicators to be carried throughout their range.

This go ahead Bombing Section have also introduced the use of Navigator’s Log Books (an idea borrowed from 5 L.F.S Syerston) in which are posted all permanent information such as Bomb T.V’s Conversion of True to Indicated Wind speed tables, etc. and is also used to carry target maps and operational bomb load instructions.

[Underlined] 1661 Con. Unit. [/underlined] (F/Lt. Brewer, DFC.) have completed the installation of Mk. XIV bombsight complete, in the A.M.B.T. A really first-class job by all concerned!!!

[Underlined] 61 Sqdn. [/underlined] (F/Lt. MacDonald) Competition winners for April, report that W/Cdr. STIDOLPH and crew set the pace with a Crew Error of 71 yds. This aroused competitive spirit to a marked degree in the Squadron. The following result was obtained:-

Crew Error ar 20,000 ft. – 40 yards
Navigator’s Error – 25 yards
Pilot & Air Bomber’s Error – 37 yards

The crew were:- Pilot – F/O PAUL
Air Bomber – P/O COOK
Navigator – P/O GRIFFIN

[Underlined] 9 Sqdn. [/underlined] (F/Lt. Bell, DFC.) reports the following excellent method of plotting crater positions from night photographs.

Plot the centre of the photograph on tracing paper pinned on to the target illustration. Mark the heading accurately from the compass rose on the tracing. Calculate distance between centre of the bombing photograph and centre of bomb craters commencing with position of bomb and flash release. The distance from this position to the centre of the photograph is the ground speed of the aircraft in feet per second multiplied by the flash setting; a deduction being allowed for the 5° aft tilt of the camera.

Forward travel of the bombs can be noted in A.P.1730A.Vol.1. to which must be added or subtracted the distance due to the wind component.

Plot this distance forward along track on the tracing paper and the approximate position of the centre of the stick is recorded. The stick length is known and should be drawn to scale. This method if accurate provided that:-

(i) the aircraft maintains heading and attitude from bomb release to explosion of flash (this can be checked by study of pre-bombing frames on the film)

(ii) There is only a small error due to cross trail - allowance can be made for this if necessary.

9 Squadron have found that their plots using this method are accurate to within 100 yards by subsequent comparisons with P.R.U. photographs.

[Underlined] 617 Sqdn. [/underlined] (F/L Astbury, D.F.C) reports the following outstanding exercise:-

F/L Clayton, Pilot, F/O Watson, Air Bomber, carried out an application exercise from 20,000 ft. And averaged 73 yards. Two of the six bombs were DIRECT HITS!!

[Underlined] “G”N” [sic] FROM THE BOMBING RANGES [/underlined]

(I) [Underlined] Wainfleet [/underlined] – plotted 5,492 bombs aimed by 1,044 aircraft during April. Thus in one month 28 tons of practice bombs have been dropped at this range.

(ii) [Underlined] Epperstone [/underlined] – plotted 990 bombs aimed by 200 aircraft.

(iii) [Underlined] Owthorpe [/underlined] – plotted 916 bombs aimed by 147 aircraft.

[Underlined] AIR BOMBERS’ QUIZ. [/underlined]

1. What would happen to the Mk. XIV Bombsight if the Port Inner engine had to be feathered?

2. How would you use the Quadrant Plate and Pointer at 13,000 feet?

3. How could you jettison a load of incendiaries “SAFE” with reasonable certainty?

4. If the Pilot operated the Jettison toggle what would happen to your Jettison bars and what extra action is necessary to put them back to “SAFE”?

[Underlined] BOMBING LEADERS’ CORNER. [/underlined]

[Underlined] F/Lt. Abbott [/underlined] is now Bombing Leader at 49 Squadron. It is noted that 49 moved from hitherto unplaced position in the Competition up to [underlined] 3rd [/underlined] in April.

[Underlined] F/Lt. Stoney, DFC. [/underlined] (1660 Con.Unit) has moved to 97 Squadron for his 2nd tour of operations. Good Luck!

[Underlined] F/O Lowans, DFM. [/underlined] has moved from 49 Squadron to 54 Base where he is attached for Bombing Leader duties.

[Underlined] F/O Tibbs (207 Squadron) [/underlined] obtained “B” category on No. 79 Bombing Leaders Course.

[Underlined] F/O Kennedy (619 Squadron) [/underlined] and F/O Martins (106 Sqdn) obtained “B” categories on No. 80 Course.

[Underlined] P/O Ball, DFM. (1660 Con. Unit) [/underlined] has been attached to Headquarters, Bomber Command for Bombing Analysis duties.

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.21. APRIL, 1944. PAGE 8

[Page break]


[Underlined] H 2 S [/underlined]

Considerable changes have taken place in H2S training during the month, the most notable being:-

(i) H2S training has been expanded at the Conversion Units to cover 12 crews per course, to meet increased demands of the squadrons.

(ii) To standardise training throughout the Group, a Ground Training Syllabus has been issued outlining the minimum amount of ground training to be carried out by H2S crews, whether trained on squadrons or Conversion Units.

(iii) Greater emphasis is being placed on the Navigational aspect of H2S to increase further the reliability of fixes and winds obtained.

A concentrated drive is being made by all Instructors to improve D.R. navigation by H2S, to ensure that failures due to lack of confidence and inability to interpret the P.P.I. are things of the past. The tendency to slur over H2S navigation must be overcome as a successful H2S bombing run is largely dependent on a correct navigational approach to the target. This does not mean however that blind bombing is to be relegated to a mere fraction of the training time; on the contrary a large part of training can be devoted to blind bombing technique when crews are able to navigate accurately by H2S and ensure that the target is reached at the correct time.

Manipulation failures still continue to be reported and every effort must be made by operators to prevent such failures being attributed to their neglect. Now that the Air Bomber is required to sit in the navigator’s compartment and manipulate the H2S equipment, manipulation failures should be on the downward path. Two heads are usually better than one and with the list of H2S faults and remedies, one of them should at least have some knowledge of the symptoms and their correction. The impression conveyed is that many of these manipulation failures are due to lack of understanding of the equipment. The Technical Radar Officer is always willing to part with “gen” providing questions are asked. Don’t be afraid to worry these officers because in the long run by asking questions about your equipment you are probably saving their time and yours.

Leica cameras are now being used to photograph the P.P.I. on training flights and several remarkable prints have been obtained. particularly [sic] on Edinburgh and London. Two squadrons are now equipped and it is eventually hoped to obtain further cameras for the remainder. With the advent of P.P.I. photography blind bombing can be carried out irrespective of cloud cover and accurate results obtained. Much information can also be obtained on the definition of built up areas and it is hoped eventually to relate individual bright responses with definite structures in these built up areas. It is therefore essential that the camera operator fills in the photographic interrogation report in a concise and accurate manner, enabling much valuable information to be obtained for use of H2S crews on future operations.

The results of the blind bombing competition have now been received and are published below. All crews who participated are to be congratulated on the excellent results obtained.

[Underlined] Final Order Captain Squadron Av. Error. in miles. [/underlined]

1 P/O Rogers 630 .33
2 F/S Canever 57 .38
3 P/O Manning 44 .42
4 F/L Smith 57 .46
5 P/O Ross 57 .46
6 P/O Higgs 44 .48
7 F/O Bayley 57 .49
8 F/L Healy, DFC. 49 .60
9 F/O Penman 106 .64
10 P/O Shinn 49 .65
11 P/O Jones, J. 49 .66
12 F/O Thomas 57 .87
13 F/L Kellaway, DSO. 630 1.12
14 F/L Roberts, DFC. 630 1.15

One point arising out of blind bombing on H2S which has been noticeable on operations during the last month is that many H2S operators who claim to mark blind are unduly influenced by the markers showing a lack of faith in the instrument. Complete confidence can only be built up by sufficient training in which advantageous use should be made of the synthetic trainer.

Talking about synthetic trainers, East Kirkby have introduced a modification to the trainer which gives correct crystal current movement and a tuning position, thus enabling operators to practice manipulation on the trainer. It is hoped to introduce this modification to other trainers in the Group as soon as the technical details are settled.

This month we welcome 83, 97 and 627 Squadrons into the Group. They have brought with them new equipment and methods and it is felt that as pioneers in H2S much can be learnt from them. It is hoped that all H2S Instructors will take the opportunity of visiting these squadrons and utilising the information gained to the benefit of their respective units.

[Underlined] GEE [/underlined]

Gee range has improved considerably during the month and many navigators obtained fixes over targets attacked. However, there is still a tendency to neglect Gee when jamming appears.

Some navigators had opportunities of using the new North Eastern chain this month with gratifying results, many fixes being obtained further than 8° East, and off chart coverage. Providing navigators continue to give reports on the reception they receive outside the limits of the present lattice charts, something can be done to produce additional charts.

Coding has not caused any confusion, and the blinking of the “A” pulse appears to have been a success. There is one point, however, which must be borne in mind by all navigators and wireless operators regarding the use of coding in distress signals. All fixes passed for transmission during distress procedure must give the true lattice line values and therefore the coding figures must be deducted by the navigator from the indicator readings prior to passing the fix to the Wireless Operator. Watch this or you will be plotted miles away from your true position.

Manipulation failures are still too high and these can be overcome only by constant practice in setting up and correction of faults. Many navigators to whom manipulations faults have been attributed are still changing over alternator plugs with the set switched on resulting in fuses being blown. When changing the R. F. Units or alternator plugs, Gee must be switched OFF.

The following is an extract from a report on Gee which should be of interest to all navigators:-

“There seems to be a popular idea with navigators that XF’s necessarily give extra range. This is based on the fact that when they were first introduced, they gave extra ranges before the enemy had time to organise counter measures. The main advantage of XF’s is not to give extra range but to make the enemy spread his jamming over more than one frequency, tending to make it less intense on any one frequency”

Another point is that many navigators are using stud settings and RF Units which have not been detailed for the operation in question. There is even a case this month of a navigator using a chain which was not detailed, and he claimed far greater range though admitted the fixes were unpotable.

(Continued on page 14, col.2)

Link Trainer

The nil returns for 630, 617 and 627, and the very low return for 57 Squadron were due to the absence of Link Trainers at East Kirkby and Woodhall. Machines were, however, installed at these Stations at the end of the month and it is hoped these Squadrons will make up the deficiency by an increased effort next month. A revised Link Trainer Syllabus is being drafted and should be available to Units by the middle of the coming month. The amount of Link done on the squadrons still warrants improvement and it is hoped that the new Syllabus will assist in this.

[Table of Link Trainer Sessions by Squadron and Unit]

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.21. APRIL, 1944. PAGE 9

[Page break]

[Cartoon] SPORTS [Cartoons]

April, and the first few days of May, saw the last of the two Group Competitions – the Lancaster Seven-a-Side Rugger Trophy, and the Matz Cup.

[Underlined] The Lancaster Seven-a-Side Competition [/underlined] has had a very mixed reception. Although designed on a Group inter-squadron basis, to include every crew in each Squadron, and having a system of points that favoured squadrons fielding the greatest number of teams, no squadron outside 53 Base even began the competition. But within 53 Base it was an amazing success. 86 teams took part, and the resulting increase in fitness, and the keenness that developed, fully repaid the efforts of A/Cdre. Hesketh who originated the competition. Next season this is going to be one of the Rugger high-lights, with a smashing Boxing Day final meeting of all the squadron finalists, followed by “noggins for all” round “Ye Olde Yule Logge”.

[Underlined] The Matz Soccer Cup. [/underlined] Coningsby crowned a successful soccer season by beating Winthorpe 2 – 0 in the Matz final on the Lincoln City ground on 6th May. In their semi-final game, Coningsby met the Group “giants” – Scampton – at Waddington, and emerged successfully after a terrific duel. Winthorpe had to play three games with Metheringham before they got to the semi-final stage. Then they defeated Skellingthorpe 3 – 2, after being 2 goals down with only twenty minutes to go. The final was worthy of the competition, and produced a clean, hard fought duel, perfectly even in the first half, but with the Coningsby forwards more dangerous than their opposites in the second. Winthorpe goalie and backs are to be congratulated on their fight, they certainly kept the flag flying. Coningsby’s first goal came from a penalty, their second from a beautifully placed header into the corner of the net in classic “corner kick” style. Coningsby were minus their professional left winger, Colinridge, but his successor ably filled the bill, and the forwards were presented with many openings by a clever half back division. After the game, Mrs. Cochrane presented the cup in the stand, and the A.O.C., who had been a delighted spectator, congratulated the teams in the dressing rooms on their splendid show. Later the teams had tea together in Lincoln, and later again the Cup was christened with the traditional quart of “old and mild”, we hope.

[Underlined] The Wines Rugger Trophy. [/underlined] Dunholme are hot on the scent of this “pot”, and it will take a good side to stop them. Winthorpe are in the remaining semi-final with Waddington. It is proposed to polish off the semi-final and the final before the 14th, leaving King Willow in peaceful possession.

[Underlined] 5 Group Mixed Hockey Trophy. [/underlined] East Kirkby reached the final by beating the redoubtable Swinderby on their own ground. It now remains for Metheringham to play Waddington and the winner to meet Scampton, to provide the other finalist. This competition must be polished off quickly, before hardening grounds make the ball a little too lively for all but the steel shinned types. This new competition has proved very successful and should provide a most interesting final.

[Underlined] FOOTBALL [/underlined]

SCAMPTON played eight Station matches, during the month, of which they lost only one, 2 – 1 to R.A.F. Ingham. In the semi-final replay of the Lincoln and District Amateur Cup they defeated R.A.F. Wickenby 3 – 0. In the final with Lincoln Rovers on City ground they played magnificently for a 5 – 4 victory, finishing the game with only nine men. Now they are all out for the Lincoln and District League Championship. They have had a most brilliant season.

DUNHOLME had six games, of which they won four. Their two losses were to Scampton – 1 – 5, and to Headquarters 5 Group 3 – 4. Eight inter-section games were played off.

FISKERTON laid out two soccer pitches during the month and gained a considerable impetus in ensuing activity. The station team won its last three Lincoln League games. A combined league and knock-out competition is running with eleven teams competing. 49 Squadron has three teams entered. Two games per day is common; B.A.T. Flight v Echelon have already fought three pointless duels, playing extra time in the last two games. Which shows what a new pitch can do.

BARDNEY have a very strong team, and won six out of their seven April games, including Coningsby and Skellingthorpe, Matz winners and semi-finalists, among their victims. They challenge all comers to do battle! and they are keen, they even cycled to a match – and won!!

METHERINGHAM were unlucky in having three station games cancelled. They played three losing to Digby and 373 Battery, Woodhall, but beating Woodhall Spa 5 – 2. Inter-section fixtures (league and knock-out) produced 14 games, Squadron Armoury, the League champs, being knocked out by R.A.F. Regiment.

H.Q. 5 GROUP team is building up steadily, the laying out of a pitch having provided a much needed stimulus. After winning the opening game against Wigsley, 3 – 1, on the new pitch, the Group lost to Skellingthorpe away. Six games yielded four wins, a draw with 93 M.U. the old rivals, and one defeat. In early May, there was much creaking of joints when an officer’s team emerged minus winter woollies and held the Group side to a mere 3 – 1 triumph.


DUNHOLME, finalists in the Wines Trophy, have a powerful side. They defeated Swinderby 8 – 0 in the Wines’ second round, defeated 2 A.A. Command School both away and at home, and Scampton 7 – 6 on the latter’s ground. They are all out for the Wines Trophy and beat Fiskerton 27 – 0 in the semi-final.

METHERINGHAM with a greatly improved side held Waddington to a 9 – 0 victory, and win one and lost one with R.A.F. Digby.

[Underlined] HOCKEY [/underlined]

SCAMPTON certainly got in plenty of practice, with eight April games. They won five, knocking Syerston out of the Group Trophy, their victories also included Ingham, Faldingworth and 5 Group. They are in a strong position for the Trophy competition.

H.Q. 5 GROUP team is most active. Through the generosity of Swinderby they hold “home” games there pending completion of their Morton Hall pitch. During April they played six games winning two, with one draw. East Kirkby proved their downfall in the Group Trophy. A friendly three game duel with Swinderby has produced one win each and one draw. It is hoped to continue hockey, even if only in inter-section “sixes” throughout the summer.

[Underlined] GENERAL JOTTINGS. [/underlined]

SOFT-BALL 0 Fiskerton have a team in the Lincoln area league. Metheringham are also running a team, playing in a Digby League. 5 Group H.Q. have a willing, if unskilled, nucleus who like to “play ball”. There should be some scope for friendly games within the Group.

TENNIS and BOWLING – Bardney and Metheringham are lucky in having village facilities available, and the games are in full swing.

CYCLING is popular in Bardney. The tough kind with a “cow’s horn” handlebar and a “tail up” racing crouch. Any ex “roadmen” are welcomed to compete in a friendly “25”. A perimeter track is the proposed venue.

CRICKET – The great concern of every captain’s heart is the pitch. The sacred sward where worms and birds both “fear to tread” is THE FOCUS OF ALL CRICKETERS THOUGHTS. May we remind stations that it will be appreciated if they will keep to the date schedule of the Group competition, and not insist on a too Velvet like patch before playing their first round.


FISKERTON are to be congratulated on another fine effort in National Savings this month. Last month’s increase of 143% to £884 has again been increased by 34% to £1185.

FISKERTON will doubtless be only too pleased to pass on details of their fruitful methods to other Stations – if only to get a bit of competition!!

(a) Pence saved per head of strength.
(b) Percentage of personnel saving.
(c) Total amount saved.

[Table of War Savings by Station]

TOTALS 6309.13.4.

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.21. APRIL, 1944. PAGE 10

[Page break]



The month of April showed a welcome drop in the number of accidents in the Group compared with March, but though there was a large increase in total flying hours, this accident rate did not improve in the same ratio, and is still well below the Group’s best standards.

In all 40 aircraft were damaged during the month, 19 of which were classed as “avoidables”. The remainder were classed as technical failures or obscure. The total of “avoidables” may be subject to alteration as one or two accidents occurring at the end of the month have not been fully investigated and are not included. At the moment they appear to be technical failures or entirely obscure.

[Underlined] AVOIDABLE [/underlined]

The details of the avoidable accidents are as follows:-

Ground collision (including taxying) – 6
Swings … 2
Heavy landings …2
Low flying … 2
Overshoots landing … 2
Mid air collisions … 2
Errors of judgement landing … 1
Other errors of judgement … 2
TOTAL … 19

51 Base accounted for 11 and Squadrons 8.

[Underlined] M.T. COLLISIONS & TAXYING [/underlined]

There were again two M.T. accidents this month. In spite of strenuous efforts to stamp out this type of accident it still recurs. Next month [underlined] MUST [/underlined] be “M.T. Accident Free”.

Of the taxying accidents two occurred at night and two during the day. One of the “night” accidents was caused primarily by the pilot neglecting to use an Aldis lamp or taxying light. He struck an obstruction just off the dispersal lead in. In this instance his Flight Engineer was aware of the obstruction but did not warn his captain. Both log books were endorsed in RED.

A Lancaster pilot had just landed landed [sic] and was proceeding round the perimeter, when he told his Engineer to cut the outer engines. The Flight Engineer did so, but opened the starboard outer throttle fully before the propeller stopped turning. The engine roared into life and swung the aircraft off the perimeter. Again, the log books of both pilot and F/E were endorsed in RED.

[Underlined] SWINGS AND HEAVY LANDINGS [/underlined]

Both Swings this month were on take off – one Stirling and one Lancaster.

In the Stirling the pupil pilot swung off the runway, throttled back completely as per drill, but did not stop before his aircraft struck another in dispersal.

The Lancaster pilot ignored all he had ever been told about take-off procedure, handed over his throttles too soon to the Flight Engineer, swung to port at “full power”, over-corrected and broke his undercarriage on a final swing to starboard. His bomb load exploded. Luckily the crew got clear before this happened.

This pilot made another mistake in running up to +4 lbs, 2650 revs. against the brakes.

Heavy landings were of the usual pattern. One occurred at Conversion Unit in unfavourable weather conditions. The other was the result of a Lancaster pilot levelling off too high and not using the engine to correct.

[Underlined] MID-AIR COLLISIONS [/underlined]

There have been four mid-air collisions in the Group in recent months – two in April. There are so many aircraft over this country both by day and night that crews must keep absolutely on their toes at all times. We hear reports of “narrow squeaks” almost every


Dot and Dash, the immaculate W.A.A.F’s … “and I’d have been all right if that Stirling hadn’t backed into me”

day. The answer, of course, is to maintain a thorough look-out.

Don’t ignore the new “look-out” drill which was sent out this month. There should be no tendency to relax when an aircraft comes back into the circuit after an Op. or any other flight. The danger of collision is always present, and as the pilot is necessarily busy with his cockpit drills, it is up to the rest of the crew, especially gunners, to ensure the safety of the aircraft by keeping up a search and warning the captain of other aircraft.

[Underlined] OTHER INCIDENTS [/underlined]

A pupil pilot in a Stirling was out of line with the runway at 500’ on a good clear night. He landed anyway, off the runway, and knocked over the wind sock.

An Instructor in a Lancaster in showery weather, also found himself out of line with the runway. Instead of going round again he landed off the runway. His speed was excessive and he overshot. A deliberate ground loop placed the aircraft – CAT AC.

A Conversion Unit Mid-Upper Gunner was unloading his guns after a flight. One went off and fired a round into the “fin”. The fin had to be replaced. Gunners! make sure your guns are on “Safe” – all of them.

One Lancaster crashed this month in obscure circumstances. The aircraft was seen coming out of cloud in a high power dive. The tail fell off and then the aircraft broke up. The suggestion at the moment is that the pilot lost control in daylight in cumulo-nimbus cloud. The Accidents Investigation Branch may produce further evidence.

Further proof of the merits of the Lancaster came out this month. An aircraft returned on two engines after being badly shot up. On making an approach at a strange airfield, the pilot could not get his wheels down and went round again from a low height. Unfortunately on his second attempt the pilot overshot on a short flarepath and crashed.


P/O Milne of 50 Squadron displayed exceptional airmanship, and also proved that the Lancaster can be flown on two engines even with a load. He lost both starboard engines while outward bound on ops., at 3,000 feet. Forced to return to Base, he jettisoned the fuel from the inboard tanks and effected a perfect approach and landing still carrying full bomb load.

F/Sgt Young, a pupil at 5 L.F.S., put up a good show which also reflects credit on his Instructor. Shortly after take-off on his first solo in a Lancaster, the starboard tyre burst. F/S. Young was diverted to Woodbridge where he made a successful landing without causing any further damage to the aircraft.

F/Sgt. White and F/Sgt Millikan, the Navigator and Air Bomber of a crew under training at Conversion Unit, set an example which would have done credit to an experienced crew. While on a high level cross country flight, their pilot passed out through lack of oxygen and lost control of the aircraft. F/Sgt Millikan regained control of the Stirling and under the direction of F/Sgt White who assumed the responsibility of captain, they flew the aircraft for 1 1/2 hours back to Base when the pilot had recovered sufficiently to land the aircraft.

The “Plumbers Union” have also distinguished themselves. F/Sgt Gledhill, a Staff Engineer of 1660 Conversion Unit, was a member of a crew of a Stirling. While the aircraft was taxying to dispersal, the port inner caught fire. The Graviner had no effect, and F/Sgt Gledhill promptly removed the engine cowling and extinguished the fire with a hand extinguisher, saving the aircraft from much more serious damage.

(Continued on page 12, col.3)

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.21. APRIL, 1944. PAGE 11

[Page break]


[Underlined] CLAY PIGEON SHOOTING [/underlined]

F/Lt. Lucas of Flying Training Command visited the Group during April to advise on the subject of Clay Pigeon Shooting, this Officer is stationed at 54 Group Headquarters, and is responsible for Clay Pigeon Shooting in the I.T.W’s. It was obvious that we are getting little if any training value out of clay pigeon shooting at present, due to the lack of proper ranges and the fact that very few Gunnery Leaders have ever had instruction in the art.

A trap house was constructed at Waddington from sandbags, and seven firing points laid out; this work was done in two days. The lay-out in use at I.T.W’s has two trap houses, but this was not considered necessary for our purpose. A request has been made for an officer from Flying Training Command to be attached to the Group to give advice and instruction to all stations, and the possibility of constructing a sandbag trap house on each station is under consideration. A demonstration of the lay-out at Waddington, makes it obvious that clay pigeon shooting must be done on a properly constructed range under the supervision of an instructor; under these conditions it is an excellent quickening exercise and when gunners are proficient in hitting clays, they have confidence in themselves.

[Underlined] .5 UNDER DEFENCE GUN. [/underlined]

Six squadrons have aircraft fitted with this gun and squadrons have been asked for opinions on the value of the gun on operations, and if H 2 S is preferred to the gun, as the aircraft can obviously only have one or the other. Opinions given to date are not very favourable as several snags have been encountered during the trials carried out so far. With the gunner strapped in his seat it is difficult to follow the gun round on the beam; it is difficult for the gunner to get his head down behind the sight as it tends to push the oxygen mask upwards on the gunners face; and also considerable vibration is experienced on the sight when the gun is fired.

[Underlined] COMBATS [/underlined]

Combats for April numbered 81, resulting in 5 enemy aircraft claimed as destroyed, 1 as probably destroyed and 7 damaged. The maximum number for any one operation was 24 and this was on the 22/23rd April on Brunswick five claims being made on that night; 1 destroyed, 1 probable and 2 damaged. Combats on French targets were few, but these sorites are not to be treated lightly by air gunners and the most vigilant search is to be maintained at all times. Squadrons must include instruction on search during night vision training. Search from the rear turret is difficult as it entails the rear gunner standing or crouching in a most uncomfortable position for short periods to enable him to see below and astern; this must be carried out as the view below is very poor when the gunner is in the seat.

[Underlined] SELF TOWED DROGUES [/underlined]

This practice has not been carried out on the scale it was hoped for, due to a variety of reasons, the main one being the shortage of brackets for attachment to the aircraft. Some Stations have had difficulty in obtaining the material for the manufacture of these items and snags have been met in obtaining the quick release unit. Gunnery Leaders should press for this equipment to enable a consensus of opinion to be obtained on the value of the exercise. Self tow at night with the drogue illuminated is the best step and should present no difficulties when Squadrons are satisfied that the existing equipment is satisfactory.

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

[Underlined] NO. 77 COURSE. [/underlined]

F/O Wyand – 9 Sqdn. – 83.8% - Cat. “B”.

F/O Fisher – 1660 C.U. – 77.8% - Cat. “B”.


[Underlined] COURSE NO. 14. [/underlined]

F/O Gross – 1660 C.U. – Cat. “B”.

[Underlined] COURSE NO. 17. [/underlined]

P/O Hammond – 619 Sqdn. – Cat. “A”.

Congratulations to P/O Hammond on obtaining first place on the course.

This Month’s Bag


[Underlined] DESTROYED [/underlined]

49 Sqdn. “M” 20/21st April,1944 FW.190 C.
106 Sqdn. “G” 22/23rd April,1944 ME.109 C.
467 Sqdn. “N” 26th April,1944 FW.190 C.
630 Sqdn. “B” 29/30th April,1944 FW.190 C.

[Underlined] PROBABLY DESTROYED [/underlined]

619 Sqdn. “G” 22/23rd April,1944 JU. 88 C.

[Underlined] DAMAGED [/underlined]

44 Sqdn. “Z” 9/10th April,1944 ME.110 C.
207 Sqdn. “A” 22/23rd April, 1944 ME.210 C.
467 Sqdn. “W” 22nd April,1944 ME.109 C.
630 Sqdn. “J” 24th April,1944 FW.190 C.
630 Sqdn. “T” 24th April,1944 ME.109 C.
97 Sqdn. “Q” 24th April,1944 JU.88 C.

[Table of Air Training for April showing Fighter Affiliation and Air Firing Exercises by Squadron]

[Underlined] ACCIDENTS (Contd. From page 11, col.3) [/underlined]


A Stirling made a crash landing last month and the only man injured was the rear gunner. He was also unique in that he was the only man not in his crash position.

A Squadron aircraft crashed in poor visibility. There were several diversion airfields available and the pilot was told to stand by and orbit Base. But he thought he’d come down to have a look!! He and two occupants were killed as a result.

Two aircrew baled out over the Wash. They did not take their ‘K’ type dinghy, and so threw away their last chance.

An experienced captain was recently forced to make an early return. His Flight Commander removed his pitot head cover for him when he landed.

Another “gen man” thought it unnecessary to await the ground crew’s signal to leave dispersal. He taxied into the tail of an aircraft in front of him. Both aircraft are CAT A/C!!

A very much sadder and wiser crew landed badly shot up recently. They explained they had lost the Concentration. The pilot had put red on black on one course. Yes it can still happen!!

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.21. APRIL, 1944. PAGE 12

[Page break]


The number of photographic attempts during the month of April was 1635, of these 952 produced plottable ground detail, this increase being due to better conditions and the type of attack. It will be seen from the analysis that the percentage of failures is still excessive with a considerable increase in failures attributed to “no flash” illumination”. [sic]

There can be no doubt that, in the past, many flash failures were passing through as “flash muffled by cloud”, since it is impossible to assess bombing frames exposed by the light from fires on the ground when cloud conditions are 10/10ths. This is no attempt to draw attention to the high percentage of Armament failures; failures, whatever the cause, result in the loss of very valuable information and represent a loss in efficiency.

Photographic and Armament personnel must co-operate with each other to establish the [underlined] real cause [/underlined] of these failures; Type 35 camera controls and photo flash fuse settings must be identical with each other. It is not enough to set the control pointer to the required setting. Make sure that the timing of the control agrees with that indicated upon the setting dial before it is fitted to the aircraft; adjustments can be made to the pointer where necessary.

It is again necessary to stress that once the aircraft have returned from the attack, the production of the photographic results in the minimum period of time is essential to the Air Staff. The majority of the section personnel are aware of this fact, but improvement can be made by better organisation and attention to the following:-

(i) Ensure that everything is ready to commence processing as soon as the first magazines arrive (at one section seven minutes were lost between the time of the first magazine going into the darkroom and the lights being switched off).

(ii) The photographer detailed to receive the film magazine from the aircrew must obtain essential information and pass the first four or six magazines to the processing section in the quickest possible manner. (One section wasted valu-

{Continued on Page 14 Column 3)

[Table of Photographic Analysis Results by Squadron]


[Underlined] RECORD MONTH FOR TRAINING BASE [/underlined]

During April, 51 Base flew more hours and passed out more crews than ever before in its existence. The Stirling Conversion Units produced a grand total of 5500 flying hours, and the Lancaster Finishing School a total of almost 1900 hours. The Lancaster Finishing School posted 109 crews to squadrons and 95 crews were posted into the Lancaster Finishing School for Lancaster training.

These results were achieved as a result of strenuous efforts on the part of maintenance personnel and instructional staffs throughout the Base, despite the fact that the first ten days of the month produced little flying owing to bad weather. The operational stations in the Group assisted by providing their airfields for circuits and landings when training base airfields were overcrowded.

With excellent co-operation between this Group and 10 and 12 Fighter Groups, Training Base flew Bullseyes on 18 nights. Crews also took part in Command Bullseyes, including three spoofs over the North Sea which, in addition to providing good D.R. practice for the Navigators, helped divert the enemy’s fighter strength from the operations against enemy centres in France.

The main concern during the month has been burst tyres on Lancasters and Stirlings, and every precaution is being taken to reduce these to a minimum, because it is fully appreciated that the minor mishap caused by a burst tyre can well lead to a serious accident. The overall total of accidents for the Base is still too high, and the staff is pressing forward strongly with an “accident reduction” drive.

The forthcoming expansion in Training Base by which 132 crews are to be produced each month, has led to a revision of the Ground Syllabus and the Flying Syllabus. The revised Flying Syllabus is not yet effective, but will come into operation during May. There has been an expansion of H 2 S training in the two Units at present equipped for this training, and when 1654 Conversion Unit at Wigsley becomes productive, the periodical shortage of H 2 S crews should cease.


It is a very easy thing, when ordered to practice Parachute or Dinghy Drills to go out to an aircraft sit around smoking for half an hour and then report back to the Flight Office “D.C.O.” These drills are the “Safety Drills” and the instinct of self preservation alone should make crews practice them until “Practice makes Perfect”.

Generally speaking parachute drills are carried out more conscientiously than Dinghy Drills, but in recent incidents in this Group it appears that even this drill is not receiving the attention it should. Note the findings of the investigating officer after a recent fatal accident. “It seems doubtful whether the crew had done the amount of parachute drill accredited to them in the “Flight Records”. In other words completed records may save you a lot of bother, but unless the records are true they are valueless and wasteful.

Let us face facts. Even [underlined] you [/underlined] may be shot down and bale-out or ditch some time or other. If you have just a rough working knowledge of the drills, some of the crew will probably save their lives, but, equally probably, some will lose their lives. If you and your crew are word and action perfect in the drill, you will live to fight again, and get a good spell of “Survivors’ leave” into the bargain. Most probably!

Saturday morning had now been set aside as the time when every available crew is to spend at least an hour on these Safety Drills. It should also be regarded as a suitable time to acquaint aircrews with the latest safety equipment and modifications. This period, however, should not be regarded as an excuse for not doing drills at other times. There’ll be the odd occasion when you are elsewhere on a Saturday morning.

One Base has issued instructions that crews are to be ordered at Briefing, from time to time, that they are to do these drills after landing from Operations – when tired and in darkness, when their physical condition is similar to that when facing a real “Bods out” or ditching, or baling our [sic] conditions. This is a very good way of doing things – you get the maximum benefit, as you are already in full flying kit, with the minimum of effort.

In March 36.9% of aircrews in all Groups who ditched in “Home Waters” were saved, while 397 lost their lives. The fact that 73 lives were lost in crews where other members were saved stresses the importance of drills. The Americans are still making better use of your Air Sea Rescue Service than you are.

[Underlined] ARMAMENT (Continued from Page 15 Col.2) [/underlined]

stations in the near future to service the F.N.64 turrets prior to their being returned to Maintenance Units – a step in the right direction at last. All Armament Officers can assist in speeding up this servicing process by ensuring that a hydraulic turret test rig and a complete set of tools are available for the party when they arrive. Don’t leave it until the day the party is expected, and so waste a day collecting the equipment from various dispersed points around the station. Do it now and ensure that the floor space at present cluttered up by these turrets is made available for more important equipment.

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.21. APRIL, 1944. PAGE 13

[Page break]


A record number of sorties has been carried out during April and it was pleasing to note that note that the cancellations due to technical defects were: Early Returns .73% - Cancellations .69% - both being very definite improvements.

The number of engine failures which occur and necessitate change of an engine before the completion of its life are not decreasing at the rate we should expect now that a more reliable engine forms the bulk of our holdings. The Merlin 24 from which we expected such high performance is doing its best to produce this performance. It is however handicapped by the fact that paddle-blade propellers and AY/118 constant speed units have invariably been fitted to this type of engine, the results being that instances are occurring of over speeding and the odd case of engine disintegration. Action is in hand to fit modified C.S.U’s and this must go ahead with all possible speed.

The Merlin 28 and 38 still suffer from loss of coolant occasionally, and we still get failures due to fracture of the oil pipe to the dual drive, mainly due to the slow rate at which the modified oil pipe is being supplied.

It is pleasing to see the local improvements which are being carried out by C.T.O’s the improvement of technical sites on the “self help” scheme and the general clean-up and overhaul of equipment.

Although the introduction of a technical adjutant was mainly to allow the C.T.O. to be out amongst the aircraft more, there may be a tendency for the C.T.O’s to leave too much to the technical adjutant. This is a point which must be watched and although it is not the intention to pin the C.T.O. to his office, he must keep a tight control on correspondence, returns and technical reports and keep “au fait” with all leaflets and technical letters issued.

[Underlined] ELECTRICAL AND INSTRUMENTS [/underlined]

It is gratifying to note that the maintenance of the Mk.XIV Bombsight improves month by month, as is evidenced by recent photographs of targets after a visit by 5 Group. Ground crews in general share in these achievements, but the instrument repairer deserves a special pat on the back for the hours well spent in tuning and levelling the Bombsights to produce these results.

The same degree of accuracy is unfortunately not apparent in the A.P.I./A.M.U. Cases are still being reported of “racing” of the A.M.I. despite the fitting of Command Modification No. 57. This “racing” can be attributed in most cases to incorrect tension of the relay spring and as no test equipment is yet available the fault cannot be laid at the door of bad maintenance. Efforts are being made to obtain the necessary tension gauges so that this fault can be cured. In the meantime units must make every effort to complete the manufacture of the Coningsby A.P.I./A.M.U. test bench, details of which were forwarded several weeks ago.

April witnessed the introduction of new equipment the responsibility of which rests on the instrument repairer. The most important is the nitrogen installation. It is not necessary to demand the ground charging equipment, but units must advise their Equipment Officer when an aircraft with nitrogen is received so that the necessary steps can be taken to obtain the charging equipment. At the same time the Group electrical officer must also be informed.

The other item of new equipment arriving in aircraft is the Mk.VIII Automatic Control, the introduction of which should ease maintenance problems. The Group servicing van has been round all operational stations to give preliminary instructions on the maintenance of this instrument and courses of three weeks’ duration will shortly become available to those personnel who have already attended the Mk.IV Control course. The question of the inferior luminous markings of the Mk.IA repeater has been brought to the notice of Headquarters Bomber Command, and it is hoped that an improvement will be made shortly.

The Electrical Sections – particularly those in Base major servicing units – continue to do a good job of work, despite the increasing number of modifications in which the Electrician is involved. Further modifications of an operational necessity are on the way, so electrical officers must give all future suggested modifications very serious consideration before submitting them to higher authority, if the electrical sections are not to be overburdened.

A word about Bumph. There appears to be a rooted objection among electrical officers to put pen, pencil or typewriter – if you can get one – to paper. Base and Station electrical officers must realise that it is impossible to get on without a certain minimum of paper work and promptness in replies is essential. If you are asked to reply to a question by a certain date make sure that your reply is one time.

[Underlined] TRAINING UNIT SERVICEABILITY [/underlined]

[Table of aircraft serviceability for Stirling and Lancaster]

[Underlined] RADAR/NAV. (Contd. From Page 9 Column 3) [/underlined]

This dangerous habit must cease. Some navigators seem to use R.F. Units and Stud Settings as toys to be changed and switched about to see what fixes they can obtain; the result is incorrect fixes, and chaos. These navigators are playing right into the enemy’s hands, particularly if they obtain signals which do not emanate from our Gee Stations!”

All Navigators must realise the importance of the above points as it is possible that in future several operations per night may be planned with an XF possibility for each operation. If navigators persist in using XF’s which are not assigned to them and phased for their route, there will be multitudes of incorrect fixes, and possibly casualties as a result of careless navigation.

Flight Engineers

In the past the Flight Engineers have been selected from Group I or II tradesmen; having been in the R.A.F. for long periods they gained quite considerable experience of many types of aircraft and engines, and therefore the changeover to their new duties was easy.

To-day we are faced with the problem of having to train pupils who perhaps a few weeks ago, had never seen inside an aircraft. During their training in the early stages, many subjects are taught which would appear to have no bearing on their job as Flight Engineers; this must be done however, so that later in the course, when boost control, hydraulics and pneumatics are explained, the pupil will have the basic knowledge to understand them. This takes time, and as we must produce more and more Flight Engineers, time cannot be spared to train them as Fitters. They are trained as Flight Engineers but perhaps a few corners remain that can be “polished off” by the Flight Engineer Leader.

The Flight Engineer Leader in a Squadron is responsible for training new members until he is satisfied that after a personal check, they can carry out the duties as laid down in A.M.O. A.538/43. He must make them continue their practical training, and whenever possible let them be with the ground crews on Daily Inspections, or any other work on their aircraft. Only in this way will good aircraft familiarisation be gained.

The training to be carried out in Squadrons must consist of Daily and Between Flight Inspections, instructions on the electrical panel, log keeping and engine limitations. The last subject is most important; only last month an early return which could have been avoided was made by a crew in this Group. On this occasion the oil pressure dropped to 50 lbs. per square inch at 20,000 feet, but the temperature remained at 80°C. Engine limitations laid down in A.P. 2062C (Pilot’s Notes) are:-

Oil Pressure minimum 45 lbs. per sq. in.
Oil temp. maximum 90°C.

[Underlined] PHOTOGRAPHY (Continued from Page 13 Col.1) [/underlined]

able time in processing a batch of films which had not been exposed, for the simple reason that the bombs had been brought back. This was negligence on the part of the airman who took over the magazines from the aircrew.

The photographic N.C.O. is responsible for the first film analysis and must decide whether it is a success or failure. Despite repeated instructions, many instances still occur where films are sent to this Headquarters as successes when in fact they are failures, and failures which should be classified as successes. This wastes the time spent on correspondence and telephone calls. One N.C.O. stated that it was because everything was required in a rush; this is true. THE AIR STAFF MUST HAVE PHOTOGRAPHIC RESULTS as soon as they can be produced and in ensuring this there must be no reduction of effort. Once the prints have been despatched, all films should be carefully re-examined, to ensure that no mistakes have been made.

Now that Headquarters, Bomber Command have reduced the amount of photographic printing, an improvement in the printing quality is expected. Faint ground details which could be plotted is often lost through poor processing and printing.

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.21. APRIL, 1944. PAGE 14

[Page break]


[Underlined] BOMB DUMPS [/underlined]

The expression “unable owing to pressure of work” has become the password for excusing a dirty and untidy bomb dump. A slovenly bomb dump is too often the hall mark of poor workmanship and the effect is cumulative until unstacked empty cases, broken trollies and transporters disposed at random are taken for granted.

It takes little longer during a fusing operation to stock the tail boxes when removing the tails, rather than strew them indiscriminately over a large area; the effort is not great but the resultant tidiness is surprising.

A scene reminiscent of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow can be avoided if only a few men are employed on cleaning up after a fusing detail. If the broken transporters, trollies and liners are not repairable, write them off for scrap metal – the country needs it.

[Underlined] PHOTOFLASH [/underlined]

Nearly 7% of the total number of photoflashes carried in April have been classed as flash failure. The classification flash failure is given when:-

(i) There is no indication of illumination on frames 6, 7 and 8 (or 4, 5 and 6 in the old sequence) of the film.

(ii) The fusing wire from the fuse is brought back.

(iii) There is no indication of violent evasive action on any of the bombing frames.

(iv) The camera control is checked and found correct.

(v) The electrical circuit and release slip are found serviceable.

This figure of 7% is excessive and so much higher than any previous month that it must be assumed, as in many cases the same lot numbers were used over two consecutive months, that some of this 7% was, in fact, incorrect fuse setting and bad maintenance. Co-operation with the photographic section can solve this problem.

[Underlined] “J” CLUSTERS [/underlined]

Loading ramps and rollers for 500 lb “J” clusters should be spring cleaned so that the clusters which are now arriving in quantity may be loaded directly on the rollers, thus saving double humping.

[Underlined] SUPPLY [/underlined]

Owing to the present precarious supply position of certain weapons the C.O. and personnel of No.93 M.U. have been called upon to produce stores at a moment’s notice from nowhere. To the credit of 93 M.U. these stores always turn up, but it is realised how much extra work is entailed in meeting a rush demand.

The staff of 93 M.U. are extremely well informed regarding the requirements and difficulties of operational armament, but it is doubted if Armament Officers realise the difficulties of the M.U. who handled nearly 30,000 tons of bombs last month.

It is suggested that Armament Officers could spend a profitable day by accompanying an Austin to the M.U. and see for themselves how large scale humping is organised.

[Underlined] MANIPULATION FAILURES. [/underlined]

A marked increase in manipulation failures has been apparent this month resulting in a large number of bombs and pyrotechnics being returned to base. The more outstanding “boobs” are set out below:-

1. 2 S.B.C’s complete with contents returned to Base – distributor arm fouled by the quadrant peg card. No jettison action carried out.

2. The following stores were returned to Base due to non-[underlined] selection [/underlined]:-

2 x 4.5” photoflashes
2 x 250 lb Target Indicators
2 x 7” Hooded Flare Clusters
1 x 1000 lb M.C.


[Underlined] FN.64 TURRETS [/underlined]

The turret servicing party is visiting all

(Continued on Page 4 Column 2) [sic]

[Table of Failures by Squadron]


The high standard of landing achieved last month has been maintained during April. It is significant to note that SKELLINGTHORPE who pioneered this scheme when it was first introduced and in fact, carried out all the trials, have risen to the top of the ladder with an excellent average of 1.85 minutes.

The most outstanding figure for the month, however, is 30 aircraft landed in 36 minutes at Waddington. This is, in fact, the finest performance which has ever been put up within the Group and possibly within the Command. The following are some examples of really first-class performances for the month:-

[Table of Selected Flying Control Sessions by Stations]

[Underlined] FLYING CONTROL COMPETITION [/underlined]

It is hoped to introduce shortly a competition embracing all Flying Control aspects. This will be judged on a quarterly basis and the condition and efficiency of every part of the Station Flying Control organisation will

(Continued on Page 6 Column 2)

[Table of April Landing Times by Station]

Aircrew Volunteers

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

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.21. APRIL, 1944. PAGE 15

[Page break]


Our brief this month was abundantly clear. With the Allied air offensive continuing almost uninterruptedly on a rising scale against communications targets and airfields, it appeared certain that our own role would be integrated in the common plan to wear down the Western Wall. To this end we have seen during the course of the month a revolution in our bombing technique confirming the undoubted accuracy of low level precision attacks.

The importance of hammering railway targets as a means of reducing the enemy’s capacity to meet a threat from the West was fully recognised. On 10/11th TOURS was effectively attacked, followed by JUVISY and LA CHAPELLE on 18/19th and 21/22nd respectively. The results in each case were impressive. At Tours an exceptional concentration with over 100 hits fell on the track disrupting all communications. A particularly high precedent was established at Juvisy. Here we achieved one of the greatest concentrations of craters yet obtained on a target of this type – the attack almost completely devastating the marshalling yards.

The attack on La Chappelle was no less successful. Damage is severe at the southern end of the Marshalling Yard which sustained the main weight of the attack. Large fires were still burning in the area the day following the raid, and it could be seen that tracks had been severed at several important junctions. The importance which the enemy attaches to keeping his railroads open, and the difficulties which he is experiencing in handling even high priority traffic is perhaps reflected in the fact that some 50000 Germans have now been transported into France to relieve the situation and, furthermore, German branch lines have been torn up to provide new tracks.

This wearing down process is also being applied with particular attention to the Luftwaffe itself, its sources of supply being very seriously threatened by repeated attacks on aircraft factories. On 5/6th, 605 tons of bombs were dropped on four plants at TOULOUSE. The S.N.C.A.S.E. Aircraft Assembly Plant has sustained serious damage to its three main buildings – the assembly plant, component store, and testing shop. At the A.I.A. Works, every building is more or less severely damaged, while the Aircraft Factory buildings are all damaged – amongst those completely destroyed being the components manufactory shop, components store, drawing offices, heat treatment and plate shop. The Montaudran Airfield is now without its three principal hangars, and has suffered damage to other unidentified buildings.

Coupled with the first attack on St. Medard-on-Jalles (reported later) was a raid on the KIELLER Airframe Factory near OSLO – PRU cover is not complete, but the photographs available indicate that damage is considerable in the North Eastern part of the target area, including heavy destruction in the Bayerische Motorenwerke.

It is perhaps interesting to note that following the attack on CLERMONT FERRAND Aulnat Aircraft Factory, the sick bay is almost the only building undamaged. It is open to some doubt as to whether this fact can be accepted as a tribute to our precision bombing, but whatever the position may be in this respect, it is manifest that this Repair Factory will not be available to the enemy for a long time to come.

The attack on the ST CYR Signals Equipment Depot on 10/11th was highly successful – resulting in the destruction of several of the principal buildings in the Depot.

Although the focus of attention was directed on rail centres and other special targets in the occupied zone, this concentration in policy did not imply that other forms of attack would be discontinued; still less that they were conceived independently of the supreme invasion task. In fact four “blitz” attacks were staged during the course of the month. AACHEN was singled out for attack on 11/12th. Throughout the city – particularly to the South and South West, industrial and residential damage has been fairly severe, while the Main Station and sidings, large Passenger Station, Locomotive Sheds, and Goods Depot Shed have suffered heavily. Reconnaissance following our attack on BRUNSWICK on 22/23rd is not complete, but from the photographs obtained, it can be seen that damage is considerable in the business/residential area South of the City Centre, with many hits in the South Eastern marshalling yards. A high measure of success also attended the attack on MUNICH on 24/25th.

[Underlined] RIDER [/underlined]

Until that date this Nazi birthplace had escaped serious damage, but it is now known that the town has suffered its first heavy battering. No interpretation of the reconnaissance photographs is yet available but even to the unpractised eye it is obvious that the target is severely hit. Widespread areas of devastation are apparent in the old city (which is 30 - 40% gutted) continuing in a wide sear from East to West up to and including the Main Railway Station. The Nazi Party meeting place Kreig Ministerium and Prinz Leopold Platz, to mention but a few of the important Municipal Buildings are either destroyed or severely damaged.

Fierce fighter activity was encountered in defence of SCHWEINFURT on 26/27th. Despite this violent reaction, however, the attack was pressed home, resulting in severe damage to all five ball-bearing plants, in particular to the Deutsche Star Kugalhalter where two thirds of the machine shops have been demolished. The adjoining marshalling yards have also sustained damage, and there are many incidents throughout the town.

No less important were our minelaying trips on 9/10th, 18/19th and again on 23/24th. These sorties probably lack the spectacle of a bombing attack, but their sinister loads will doubtless reap a very real contribution in the war harvest.

The culminating stage of the month was in the final raid on 29/30th against the Explosives Works at ST. MEDARD-on-JALLES. A pass had already been made at this same target the previous night, but had been frustrated by unfortunate weather conditions. So with redoubled vigour another attack was launched. On this occasion the weather chose to be our ally, and the opportunity afforded was seized to produce one of the most impressive pyrotechnic displays. For more than half an hour the target was in the throes of a succession of violent explosions. The greatest concentration of the attack fell to the North East of the works area extending across the centre of the works to the western border. A most heartening result and an inspiring conclusion to the month’s work.

The above achievements were contributed by 1950 Lancs and 84 Mosquitos – 88.6% of which were successful in attacking the primary, with 2.5% casualties.


[Table of Statistics by Squadron showing Availability, Sorties, Results and Points]

5 GROUP NEWS. NO.21. APRIL, 1944



“V Group News, April 1944,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 18, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/17678.

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