Memoir Flight Lieutenant Gordon Cruickshank D.F.M. RAFRO

BCruickshankGCruickshankGv1.pdf

Title

Memoir Flight Lieutenant Gordon Cruickshank D.F.M. RAFRO

Description

Memoir written in 1956 by Flight Lieutenant Cruickshank. It starts with his early childhood and family life. It includes his early time in RAF after enlisting in December 1938 with first job as balloon operator and then training as an air gunner; details his postings to 50 Squadron and later 630 Squadron, crew members and friends.

The bombing operations he took part in are described, as is his investiture and his time in India as an administrative officer.

Cruikshank then moves to Instructing before returning to Operations including Nuremberg. He then describes the transition to civilian life after his demobilisation from the RAF, poor health and his attempt to build a business in post war Britain.

Some of the photographs mentioned were donated separately and some are recorded as separate items.

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

1956

Rights

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

Format

One hundred and seven page handwritten notebook with cover

Language

Identifier

BCruickshankGCruickshankGv1

Transcription

FLT/LT G CRUIKSHANK D.F.M
RAFRO
16, DEEPDALE,
NETTLEHAM,
LINCOLN

1
“Lincolnshire” 1956
As I lay in Johnson Ward of the County Hospital once more, under the now familiar faces of the Sister and Nurses!!
Thinking back over my life of its ups and downs, memories of the past come back to me – the experiences, the thrills, and comradeship which I will never forget.
Maybe to some they’ll mean very little, but to me everything!! I am one of millions – and my living earnt [sic] the hard way, as it is with most of us!! my name not even famous – but one that I am proud of, so it is that perhaps my life as [sic] been average? let me tell you about it!!
The date is 1914/15, and my Father was a regular in the army – then stationed at the “Verne” Portland, Dorset, he was a widower with three children!! two girls Bella and Lena, and George the son – who was killed in that war, Father was Scotish [sic] and his home was in ‘Aberdeen’.
Mother, who was a widow with eight children!! five girls, and three boys – the oldest Henry being away in the navy, having been called up for the war!! was later wounded in [page break]

2
action.
Mother was English and born in Dorset, her maiden name being ‘Corbin’, and married name Butler!! her husband having been killed in an unfortunate quarry accident, how they met [self-corrected] – well that is somethink [sic] I cannot answer!! but they did, and married shortly after.
Then my brother Lewis, myself and Norman!! who died in early childhood – and making me the baby of twelve, when looking back over the years – my Father, whose name was Lewis Cruickshank – going from Aberdeen to Dorset and marrying Mother Clara Daisy Butler, and years later myself moving from Dorset to Lincolnshire and marrying a Joyce May Butler.
I was born at the end of the 1914/18 war, we lived in a very large house in Portland – known as underhill, for being like the Rock of Gibralter, [sic] with a long hill of about 2½ miles in length from the bottom to the top – the bottom being called “Underhill” and the top “Top-Hill”, and we were situated about halfway up the hill. [page break]



3
I think Dorset a lovely county, and Portland although small a beautiful place!! with its lovely harbour – and barracks overlooking that, the large prison!! forts around the cliffs – two castles, the coves and steep cliffs, “Portland Bill” itself – with its lighthouse and famous “Pullpit Rock” [sic], not forgetting the [self-corrected] Chesil [/self-corrected] beach which is 22 miles long consisting of Millions upon Millions of egg shaped pebbles!! which goes from Portland to Bridport, and lastly the quarries which get out the famous Portland stone.
On one occassion [sic] a stranger asked me about the islands places of interest!! I replied, this is not an island “Sir’, but a “Peninsula’, meaning a portion of land nearly surrounded by water – which of course Portland is!! I was rewarded a penny.
With two years or so between us all in ages, Mother never had us at home altogether!! for when us younger ones were born the older ones had left, first Henry, then Mabel who married a regular in the Navy, their two girls now married and with children of their own – Aurther [sic] her husband having done his 22 years service and now working in Portland Dockyard.
[page break]

4
Bessie had married another time serving sailor and moved to Portsmouth!! they had three boys, two are now married with children – and the third is at “London University”!! Frank her husband did 28 years service, [sic] and works in Portsmouth Dockyard.
Gwen met a Soldier in the “Buffs’ then station [sic] at the “Verne’ Portland, they married and settled in Portland!! he [deleted] h [/deleted] is a Dockyard Policeman now, and have two married children.
While this came about I was growing up, and had started school!! our school being situated on the cliff edge over looking the sea.
Remember a French Schooner getting wrecked just below us, and was never refoated [sic] again!! when the sea around us got rough – it very often came over the top of the beach and flooding a large area.
My school days was more or less like any other lad!! but we had our moments, swimming, football, scouts ex [sic], and climbing the cliffs after eggs!! chasing wild goats – remember once catching a large “billy” and trying to ride it, but not succesfully. [sic]
Then we wanted to camp out as most lads do!! Lewis sent me home to ask – but on
[page break]

5
arriving no one was in, so helped myself to our requirements and set off back – we got nicely settled in our tent when both Mum and Dad arrived – they had been looking everywhere for us!! of course we went through it I can assure you, couldn’t blame them for I had taken her best blankets and sheets - apart from failing to let them know where we were, and I was unpopular with Lewis too!!
While at school, “Silv’ and Reg both joined the boys service of the Navy!! now they are out after 24 years service, [sic] Silv married and settled in North Shields – Reg and Violet his wife came and settled here at Lincoln.
Lewis had left school and was on the boats crossing the channel from Weymouth to “Guernsey” and “Jersey”, he later joined the navy and is nearly finnished!! [sic] Married a Portsmouth girl and settle there – they have two boys.
My schooling now over, and helped my brother-in-law window cleaning – until I got myself a shop assistants job in Weymouth, Mother moved shortly afterwards to Weymouth!! how pleased I was about that for it meant the end of my 10 mile [page break]

[Photograph missing]
Self [underline] “The 4th Queens Own Hussars” [/underline]
Early 1936 [underline] Warburg [/underline] [underline] Barracks [/underline]
[underline] Aldershot [/underline]
[page break]

6

daily ride.
Ethel married a regular soldier serving in the “Dorsets” stationed at the Verne they have two lads, and live at Hamworthy near Bournemouth.
He completed his service some while ago, having gained the rank of “Colonel”.
I was about sixteen when my other sister Rose married, she married a Portlander and have two girls, one married and still at Portland!! Fred her husband works for a quarry firm and during the war served in the Navy.
On reaching eighteen I joined the Army “The 4th Queens Own Hussars”, this was the 2nd January 1936, and was stationed at Warburg Barracks, Aldershot!!
We were Cavalry and had not yet been mechanised, this came in 1937!! so I did a full cavalrymans [sic] training and had just completed Army manouvres [sic] around Arundel castle area, and one Aldershot tattoo when we started to get mechanised with bren gun carriers and bren guns. Father had been ill for some time – and after he died Mother had me released on compassionate grounds. [page break]

7
George V had died, and the Prince of Wales had become King!! later abdicating, and now George VI was King - and just before his coronation in 1937 I was released this was April 20th 1937.
Back home again my work at that time was with Walls ice cream – “stop me and buy one”!! as it was known then - using a three wheeler bike and cycling from Weymouth to Portland Bill and back daily a distance of about 24 miles.
This was only a summer job, and when over I took a porters job in one of the hotels at Weymouth, things were very unsettled for me – and when in 1938 it looked like another war I applied to R.A.F. for enlistment.
It was early 1938 when I was instructed to go the [deleted] indecipherable letter [/deleted] R.A.F. centre at Bristol some 90 miles from Weymouth!! had to be there 9.30. in the morning, this would be impossible unless I traveled [sic] the evening beforehand – for their [sic] was [sic] no trains early enough, money at that time was as it is now – short!! but just the same I went up over night – spending the night on a bench in one of Bristols parks!! [sic]
[page break]


8
Using the public convinience [sic] to shave and wash before going for my examinations, which I passed!! and was finally enlisted at “West Drayton” on 13th December 1938 for seven years.
My first R.A.F. station was “Uxbridge” a training centre, having been in the Army I was trained in foot and rifle drill – also PT, so the first part of my service came easy!! my pay was, as in the Army 14/- per week and instead of Trooper was now A.C.2 A.C.H. (aircraftman second class – aircrafthand) none tradesmen.
We shortly moved to Cranwell – and I soon made up my mind that it would be better to have a trade!! so I applied for a Group II trade course on balloon’s [sic].
Before getting my course, I was posted to RAF Warmwell, Dorset near Dorchester and about nine miles from home!! shortly afterwards going to Lime [sic] Regis on airsea [sic] rescue, a [sic] Anson bomber had come down on a beach further along the coast and we went by boat – and I was left to guard it!!
After being at Lime [sic] Regis returned to Warmwell - my posting came through to go to No. 3 Balloon Centre Stanmore [page break]

9
to start my trade course – this was early summer of 1939.
This camp was situated a few miles north of London, and at that time Henry my oldest brother was working at the “Trocadero” in Shaftsbury Avenue!! and lived at Beckingham, Kent – used to visit him whenever possible. I was making great progress with my training, and was well on the way for completion when on September 3rd 1939 war was declared on Germany.
Things were then rushed along, we were given trade course’s!! [sic] and with the Auxiliary Air force we were sent out all over London to form independant [sic] balloon sites, ours being situated at Muswell Hill north London!! it was a striking effect when we completed our task and saw hundreds and hundreds of Balloons airbourne. [sic]
The men I was with, turned out a grand lot and we had many enjoyable times together!! my trade result came through and I was made A.C.1 Group II tradesman, this made a great difference to my pay.
Just before Christmas of 1939 I was [page break]

[Photograph missing]- PCruickshankG1502-0002
[underline] Taken Felixstowe early 1939 [/underline]
Self, second row, second from right to left
[page break]



10
posted to Felixstowe, where others and myself from different units to form a new Balloon Group at Felixstowe and Harwich.
We heard the destroyer “Gypsy” had hit a mine and blew up with all hands – this must of [sic] been our first loss in regards to warships?
The weather was terrible – and our hands got very cold handling the Balloons, and getting them first on bardges [sic] – then on land sites!!
My first Christmas dinner of the war was there – and still that “menu’, what a grand food we had too, soon after Christmas my L.A.C. came through and a further increase in pay.
Often went into Felixstowe and Ipswich for evening s off duty – had some grand times with the chaps who I had paled [sic] up with!!
One of our 5 toners [sic] had been left at Cardington, Huntingtonshire – some hundred miles inland, I was sent to fetch it back!! although I could drive, had never drove such a large lorry before – still I didn’t let that worry me!! spent the night at the camp there and reported to the motor transport section to get it early the following morning, but was informed [page break]

11
I was to take two five ton trailers of hydrogen gas back with me – due to a heavy storm back at Felixstowe, a heavy loss in Balloons, and they were in urgent need of gas!!
Well I was shaken beyond words – but only asked for a look-out, they sent along a A.C.H.
Got the lorry and trailers connected up ex [sic] and with my fellow airmen looking out we set off for our long journey to the coast – believe me driving it, and with trailers on for the first time was no joke for the length was a terrific experience, but we succeeded_ later on I learnt that driving with two trailers was stopped by “air ministry”.
Early summer of 1940 I was made a Corparal [sic], and was then of a Balloon site with another Corparal sharing duties, his name was Charles Miles and we had a crew of ten and were self supporting!! The Battle of Britton [sic] was on – we could watch them over London area doing a great job. I applied for aircrew.
We got on fine at our site – and apart from losing our Balloons during storms, we kept it up pretty well!! I remember a jerry bomber [page break]

[Two photographs missing]
Photos of our near miss!!
Felixstowe 1940
[underline] showing 150 ton lifting crane in background [/underline]
[page break]

12
flying on to bomb the main camp but his bombs [deleted] indecipherable word [/deleted] fell short and nearly had us instead, we were shaken I can assure you!! “this called for the camera”.
Then one of our Hampdens flying low on returning from a raid, hit into the cable of one of our Balloons, cutting away half its wing and causing it to crash into a factory nearby – all were burnt to death in the fire it caused!! luckily the factory was closed.
Ted Drake and Cliff Baston [sic] the footballers came to Felixstowe to do their training – I met them in the canteen, but I guess they’ll not remember now.
After the fall of [self-corrected] France [/self-corrected] – “Dunkirk” and my brother Sylvester helped in the evacuation of our troops from the shore of Dunkirk making several crossings!! a lot coming into Harwich where I was now stationed having been moved from Felixstowe – things looked black for us!!
I know when traveling [sic] home on leave, going through London after air raids was almost heart breaking – and longed to be “aircrew” to have a smack a jerry in return, soon this was granted – and after I had just done a fourteen day course on anti tank guns ex [sic] with the Army stationed near Ipswich!! I was posted to [page brake]

[Photograph missing]- PCruickshankG1502-0003+PCruickshankG1502-0004
[underlined twice] Evanton [/underlined twice] “gunnery school class”
August 1941
self middle, Fred Daley centre back row
[underline] centre row [/underline]
Ken Smith, first, centre row, Vic Greenwood next.
From next to right
[page break]

13
number 8 air gunnery school Evanton, Scotland.
This was the 28th August 1941.
We commenced our course on the 29th, I made friends with Ken Smith, Vic Greenwood and Fred Daley. The aircraft then was the Blackburn Botha a twin engine fighter with a gun [self-corrected] turret [/self-corrected].
Our course was short, and after only four weeks – and 7 hrs 25 mins flying we were passed out Sgt airgunners!! the increase in pay for me was only 6D per day – for being a tradesman Corparal [sic] my pay was nearly that of a Sgt airgunner, only pilots and other Branches of aircrew got the 13/6 per day as Sgts.
28th September I traveled [sic] home on leave, afterwards Ken Smith and myself spent the end in London before proceeding to 10 O.T.U. Abingdon, Oxfordshire.
We were to complete our training there, before going to an operational “Sqdn”!! gunners at that time weren’t very respected - believe [sic] due to the fact that Sgts having just been introduced into aircrew branch of [self-corrected] airgunners!![/self-corrected]
Aircraft in use at Abington at that time, “Handley Page Whitley”, this was just before Christmas of 1941. [page break]

14
Our other station "Stanton Harcourt" was where I first started flying on them - "all circles and landings" night and day with the following pilots, Sgt Stewart, P.O. Harcourt, Sgt Clarke, P/O Blease, P/O More, P/O Archer, F/O Warmer, P/O Luoid [?] and Sgt Butt, Have often wondered if any of them survived the war!!
When free, we visited Oxford, or into Abingdon - the Red Lion, Vic, Ken and I shared the same billet so we always were out together, not forgetting Fred Lacey and Colin Gray who we were also friendly with.
November 1941 was flying from Abingdon with P/O Dodds, Flt/Sgt Rees and Flt/Sgt Griffin on air tests, instrument flying and air firing, getting off about 2,000 rounds, and my total flying hours now 23 hrs - not much!!
Course completed had Christmas at home, and early January of 1942 was posted to number 50 Sqdn then stationed at RAF Swinderby Lincolnshire – [deleted] 1[/deleted] 8 miles from Lincoln, and the same distance from Newark the other way, Bassingham 2 miles away being our nearest village.
We had a "pub" called the Halfway House [page break]

15
on the main road near by - and the "Fossway" [sic] some half mile further up the road towards Lincoln!! these were used quite often when free, not forgetting the "Black Swan" Basingham [sic]
Aircraft on our sqdn were the "Hampden" 'flying pencils', with a crew of four!! although we had come to be crewed with the soon expected "Manchester" had the opertunity [sic] of flying on them if we wished - [smudged]some[/smudged] did, but I prefered [sic] to have a crew of my own and not do any spare bod flying - I considered this unlucky.
Colin Gray, Fred Dacey came with me to this Sqdn - [smudged] Alan [/smudged] Mason and several other gunners I knew !! Vic Greenwood went to 44 Sqdn Stationed at Waddington and Ken Smith went to Binbrook on Wellingtons.
Wing - Commander "Gus" Walker had been the C.O. of 50 Sqdn - his place having been taken by "Curly Oxley" D.S.O. D.F.C.
"Gus" was a well known rugby player - but at his new station [deleted] ed [/deleted] !! Syerston near Newark some months later a 4,000lb bomb blew up, as [correction one letter deleted before as] he was going to investigate and he lost an arm, and I believe he his [sic] still in the service now, a [sic] "Air commodore" [page break]

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and several times decorated.
Things were pretty dull at first - and when a fellow aircrew got killed in a crash, and I was a bearer at his funiral [sic] with other Sgts it depressed me even more - and he was one of the many that were to lose thier [sic] lives in the battle for freedom!! God Bless them all.
Time was creeping on when in March 1942 the Sqdn moved to Skillingthorpe [sic], because of runway repairs at Swinderby.
The Manchesters had arrived and I was crewed with a Flying Officer Norman Goldsmith a Rhodesian, an exsperienced [sic] pilot - who had nearly finnished [sic] his 200 [deleted] hrs
[/deleted] operational flying hours which were at that time considered a tour !! it was soon changed to trips afterwards
There was no flight engineers or bomb aimers at that time, we had second pilots!! and the navigator went forward and dropped the bombs
Our crew consisted of Norman, Terry [self-corrected] Tuinin [/self-corrected][Taerum?] a Canadian from Calgary - "Navigator", Colin Gray a Welchmen [sic], as mid-upper gunner, myself rear, and a chap from Norwich, wireless operator - cannot [page break]

17
recall his name !! hope he'll forgive me.
And the second pilot Sgt Wiseman, or Lew Manser, a crew of six altold [sic].
We commenced flying together on the 23. 3. 42, doing local flying, crew training, alt [sic] test with 4,000lbs bombs.
Our Gunnery Leader F/O Trevor-Roper!! and was in 'B' flight under S/LDR Everett, known as the "boy wonder" - on the 15. 4. 42 we did an N.F.T. (night flying test) and later attended my first briefing!! and my total hours now 34.
Was very excited, our target was St Nazaire France, "Mine laying", or gardening as we called it, with four "Veg" "height 800ft"!! "Veg" meaning "Mines".
A quiet trip which took 6hrs 15mins
Let me explain to you some of the proceedings before flight.
When arriving at your "Sqdn", you are put into "A" or"B" flight !! a Sqdn normaraly [sic] having two, and each Sqdn have sections for its aircrew - such as gunnery section, engineers - wireless, navigation ex, and a main crew room for all - and a[sic] officer in charge of each, usually a Flying Officer or Flt/Lt, and the flights under a Sqdn/Leader, a Wing commander over the "Sqdn" !! and "Group Captain" in [self-corrected] charge [/self-corrected] of the station. [page break]

18
During the day the C.O. ex [sic] are informed that so many aircraft will be required for operations!! the C.O. calls in his flight commanders ex [sic] - how many crews he'll need from each flight!! this done, a crew list is posted up in all departments - including the mess's
On seeing your crew are on - the pilot gets in touch with all members of his crew to do a N.F.T. "night flying test", a short flight of a half an hour or so in which all equipment is [deleted] indecipherable word [/deleted] tested for snags!! on landing and returned to your dispersal point - where all snags are reported to the waiting ground crew,
Who [deleted] indecipherable word [/deleted] will soon put them in order - also get the aircraft bombed up!! and the correct amount of petrol ex [sic]!! until briefing you are usually free - and mostly particulate [sic] in a game of cards ex. [sic]
Then briefing which is held in a large room with a full scale map of all Europe on the wall - your route marked with coloured tape ex[sic]!! all information given by the specialist in turn, (weather - fighters - time of take off, and time due over target ex [sic]).
Our target is Gardening off "Ameland" the evening of the 19.4.42, we are to carry four vegs and our hieght[sic] is to be 700ft. [page break]

19
After briefing you enjoy a good meal - collect your rations ex [sic] (chocolate, orange juice or oranges, chewing gum) and some half hour before take off you collect your flying clothing ex [sic] (lucky mascots) and proceed by transport to your dispersal point !! on arriving you wait arround [sic]- then you climb aboard, being rear gunner you see the ladder in and door firmly locked !! the pilot tests engines -after getting into your turret, leaving your chute safely in its place - locking your turret doors, load the four guns, check again everything - plug in intercom and report to skipper !!
When time draws near you make for the runway in use - on arriving you call up for permission to take off!! this given, you turn onto the runway - clear engines, then the pilot [self-corrected] usually [/self-corrected] checks with all members that he is going to take off ex.[sic]
With an all up wieght [sic] of around 65,000LBS you fill the power of the [smudged] engines [/smudged] as you roar down the runway, on reaching a speed of 110 MPH you leave the runway!! and you are now airbourne [sic] - hearing the pilot say under carriage and flaps up you give a sigh of relief, in the early days we set course over base and gained [smudged] height [sic/smudged] on route, testing your guns over the "North Sea", our bombing hieght [sic] never [page break]

20
much higher than 11,000FT, later all this was changed - we are now over the coast, and ask for permission to test guns - this given you fire a couple of short [smudged]bursts[/smudged] into the sea, report back guns OK to the skipper.
And proceed looking the sky for enemy fighters ex, when the target area is reached - and your mines have been dropped you make haste back for base!! on arriving back at base, you join the circuit and call up for permission to land - when your turn comes - this is given, on landing you make for your dispersal where your [sic] met by the waiting ground crew, inform them any snags ex, the transport arrives and you are taken back to the crew room - park your flying cloths [sic] and atend [sic] the debriefing!! where you first enjoy a cup of tea, after debriefing you have a good meal, and so to bed !!
April 22nd, an early N.F.T, briefing ex, gardening again!! this time Kiel Bay, 'Germany', our height 1,000Ft - with 3 veg [sic], a steady trip of 6hrs 25 mins.
Manchester aircraft were terrible - infact [sic] death traps !! talk about the Lancaster coming soon? 44 Sqdn and another already had them, "Nettleton" - Wing - Commander of 44 Sqdn did a daring daylight to Augsburg with his Sqdn and the other, they suffered very heavy [page break]

21
lossis [sic], the raid was successful and Wing Commander Nettleton was awarded the Victoria Cross !!
I still hadnt [sic] done a real bombing raid, but it was soon to come, Micky Martin and his crew, Dave Shannon and crew were also with us, later on Micky, Dave. their crews, Trevor-Roper our gunnery leader, and my navigator, and friend - Terry Teurum [sic] a Canadian from Calgary were to fly with Wing Commander Gibson V.C. D.S.O. D.F.C. on the now famous Dam-raid, on which Gibson won his Victoria Cross, Terry went has [sic] his navigator, and Trevor-Roper rear gunner.
Norman had one more trip to do - and wondered who would be our new pilot? we managed a little local flying - and on the 24th April 1942 we did an N.F.T, briefing later ex.
Our first - or rather my first bombing raid, it was to be 'Rostock Germany' our second pilot of that night was F/O L.T. Manser, "Lew" as we called him - like Norman and the others [self-corrected] was [/self-corrected] one of the best !! and I wondered if we were to be his crew when Norman left.
Our take off was to be 22.00 hrs with a bomb load of 14 250LB INCD [self-corrected]bombs[/self-corrected]
Our aircraft Manchester L7432 was all ready when [page break]

22
we arrived at our dispersal point about half an hour before take off - we talked a little, and then climbed aboard - with everyone in !! I closed the door and made for my turret at the rear, having parked my chute ex [sic] got into my turret and closed the turret doors, pluged [sic] in my intercom checked my turret over again - mean while Norman & Lew were running the engines, afterwards checking with all the crew that everything ['g' overwritten] was alright, we then made for the runway in use !! I was completing the loading of my four guns.
We made a good take off - heard Norman say undercarriage and flaps ups [sic]!! and check time ex [sic] with Terry our navigator !! pin pointed over drome and set course for Germany, out over the North sea I asked permission to test guns - making sure no ships near first, then fired a couple of bursts, reporting back guns O.K. "Skipper"
Having gained over 3,000 ft oxygen on, also switched on my electrical jacket - we didn't have a full length at that time, I usually had a blanket around my legs to help [deleted] indecipherable letter [/deleted] keep out the cold and three pairs of gloves - plus flying boots and long socks, and ervin [sic] jacket over my electrical, [smudged] may [sic][ /smudged] west and parachute harnest [sic] [page break]

[Photograph missing]- PCruickshankG1501-0026+PCruickshankG1501-0027

"Rostock" Germany 24th April 1942
Fires, still burning among about 61/2 acres of workshops at Neption [?] shipbuilding
[page break]

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and believe me very little room to move, for I was close on [self-corrected] fourteen [/self-corrected] stone.
My job was defence, and I believe in a continuous search for enemy fighters from base to target to base, a tail gunners job is a very lonely one - and at times very depressing - you had to know your aircraft well - also wings spans, this was most important if attacked.
Sometimes, the navigator would ask for a drift reading, this was done by you!! the wireless “opp” [sic] or another member dropping a smoke float on to the sea - you line your guns on it!! and read the drift seals on the side of your turret ex [sic], so many degrees just on starboard and inform the “Nav”.
We were getting near the target - and felt it, and when I heard them say the target was in view - and Jerry going down in the nose to drop the bomb I was keyed up beyond words!! guess we all were?
Bomb doors open!! Jerry saying left left steady ex [sic] - then bombs away, felt the sudden uplift as they went and felt much relieved!! for we were only 5,000 FT the search lights and flak getting dangerously near a [sic] we weaved to get out - I noticed some very large fires burning below!! but much to [sic] close for me.
[from previous page] ton shipbuilding’ yards, day after our bombs Command raid [/from previous page] [page break]

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getting clear we set course for base - after what seemed endless hours we crossed the English coast and Jim [?] pointed to base, joined the circuit and called up to land!! when our time came we landed and headed for our dispersal - I was busy unloading my guns!! and by the time our dispersal was gained I was done - and out of my turret with the fuselage door open breathing the cool night air.
Having reported any snags ex [sic] to the waiting ground crew - bless emm [?], we were taken back to the crew-room, parking your flying clothing ex [sic] and made for the de-briefing room - where you enjoyed a hot drink first!! reporting ex [sic] the raid and having completed made to your mess and after a good meal you made for bed.
The raid was very successful - and took 7 hrs 45 mins.
Norman had now finished - and was later awarded the D.F.C.!! but unfortunately was killed some months later on starting his second tour of operations.
I was now without a pilot, life [overwritten] was mostly cards, tossing two pennies - learnt off my [/overwritten]
[page break]

[picture missing]
[inserted] About to take off at night inserted [/inserted]
[page break]

25
Aussie friends - and beer ex [sic] and crap game!!
I remember sometimes playing for days on end, only stopping for meals ex!! Poker being a popular game - which included dealers choise [sic]!! sometimes winning - and of course losing too, life then was always a gamble anyway.
Once playing straight poker - "nothing wild” with Fred Dacey [?], who was in the same class at gunnery school, also one of my closest friend [sic]"!! Spam Spafford and Joby Jenon [?] - two Aussies, also Micky Martins [sic] gunners, myself and another.
I drew four Queens - a lucky draw, which I kept without changing the fifth card – watched’ what the others drew ex!! thought I was a certain winner, and went the haul hog - unfortunately Fred had drawn two more Kings to the pair he held already, and of course I went out broke!!
It was now early May - and was due 14 days leave. Mother had been bombed out completely some while before - but [smudged] escaped [/smudged] unhurt thank goodness.
My wireless "opp” [sic] friend took me home to his home in Norwich - just our luck, first night there Jerry made the first bombing raid on Norwich and upset things a little, his folks made me welcome and I [page break]

26
enjoyed myself pretty well under the circumstances.
We returned to Skellingthorpe late May and found Lew had taken over another crew and was operating as a first pilot - unfortunately I was down with cold!! and [sic] a pilot named Calvert [?], a [smudged] pilot [/smudged] officer from New-Zealand [sic] came to 50 sqdn and took over our crew!! Colin Gray my friend and co gunner keeping my place in the crew free for my return.
It is May 30th 1942, we still had the Manchesters - plenty of excitement, for it was to be the first thousand bomber raid, and the target "Cologne"
Everyone was on - except me, I was sick unfortunately!!
Roy my pilot ran into trouble over Cologne, and came back on one engine - he was awarded the D.F.C. and Colin Gray the D.F.M a little later, but Lew also had trouble, but what courage!!
It was some weeks afterwards that the story of his most conspicuous bravery was told by members of the crew - yes, they had come back to England, via Gibraltar in the record time of 21 days!!
As I said before Lew had taken over another crew after leaving us - and what a pilot [smudged] he [/smudged] was, [page break]

[Picture missing]- PCruickshankG1501-0016+PCruickshankG1501-0017
Cologne after first 1,000 Bomber raid 1942.
[page break]

27
As the aircraft was approaching its objective it was caught by searchlights and subjected to intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire (Flak) Flying Officer Manser held on his dangerous course and bombed the target successfully from an [sic] height of 7,000 FT.
Then set course for base. The Manchester had been damaged and was still under heavy fire. Flying Officer Manser took violent evasive action, turning and descending to under 1,000 FT, it was of no avail.
The searchlights and flak followed him until the outskirts of the city were passed, the aircraft was hit repeatedly and the rear gunner wounded. The front cabin filled with smoke; the port engine was over-heating badly [sic]
Pilot and crew could of [sic] have escaped safely’ by parachute. Nevertheless, Flying Officer Manser disregarding the obvious hazards, persisted in his attemp [sic] to save aircraft and crew from falling into enemy hands. He took the aircraft up to 2,000 FT. Then the port engine burst into flames it was ten minutes before the fire was mastered, but then the engine went out of action for good, part of the wing burnt, and the air-speed of the aircraft became dangerously low [sic]
Despite all the efforts of pilot and crew, [page break]

28
The Manchester began to lose height; at this critical moment, Flying Officer Manser once more disdained the alternative of parachuting to safety with his crew. Instead, with grim determination, he set course for the nearest base, accepting for himself the prospect of almost certain death in a firm resolve to carry on to the end.
Soon, the aircraft became extremely difficult to handle and, when a crash was inevitable, Flying Officer Manser ordered the crew to bale out, a Sergeant handed him a parachute - but he waved it away, telling him to jump at once as he could only hold the aircraft steady for a few more seconds while the crew were descending to safety they saw the aircraft, still carrying their gallant captain, [smudged] plunge [/smudged] to earth and burst into flames.
In pressing home his attack in the face of strong opposition, in striving, against heavy odds, to bring back his aircraft and crew and, finally, when in extreme peril, thinking only of the safety of his comrades, Flying Officer Manser displayed determination and valour or the highest order.
Flying Officer Leslie Thomas Manser, R.A.F.V.R. 50 Sqdn was awarded the "Victoria Cross" "Posthumously" [sic] [page break]

29
It is now late June and we are back at Swinderby.
Leave again - yes!! this was quite frequent for aircrew. I went to North Shields to see my Brother [sic] and his wife - and an enjoyable time too.
It was early July, Terry and I shared a room together in the "Sgts mess", we were getting the new Lancasters!! did two local bombing flights on the Manchesters with Roy - then they were grounded, and we started flying the "Lancs" on cross countries N.F.T., local beam flying, dark landings ex [sic] and bombing!!
Colin Gray had become our bomb aimer, Bert Braned [?] engineer, Alan Connor, an Australian as wireless operator mid-upper gunner, Lew Auston, wireless operator another Aussie, Roy Calvert pilot, and after Terry left - [smudged] "Sears [/smudged] or Stevens, and later Medina, our navigators in turn, and myself rear gunner.
It was July 25th when we did an N.F.T. and attended briefing for our first raid together on the "Lancs" our aircraft was 'S' for sugar 5702 - which we kept to its end - and nearly ours too!!
Our target was "Duisburg" load one 4,000 lb bomb and [self-corrected] incendiaries [/self-corrected]. [page break]

30
a [sic] good raid - much better than the Manchester aircraft, it took us 4 hrs 20 mins.
Next evening found ourselves on again - this time "Hamburg", load 1, 4,000 LB and 6, 500 LB, 2, 250 LB.
Another good do, time 5 hrs 30 mins. on [sic] the 31st July we are doing some formation flying - plus an N.F.T.
Later attending briefing, our target "Dusseldorf", load 1, 4000 LB and [self-corrected] incendiaries [/self-corrected], plenty of life - but we missed it, bombed at 10,500 FT time 4 hrs 30 mins [sic]
August 3rd another N.F.T, briefing ex!![sic] Mine Laying Kiel Bay. "5 Veg", lucky night - shot up enemy gun post.
time [sic] 6 hrs 10 mins [sic]
Free till the 6th then on again - this time "Duisburg" load 1, 4,000 LB and 30 LB [smudged] incendiaries [/smudged], Cloudy - bombed on T.R.
3 hrs 25 mins
N.F.T. on the 9th briefing target "Osnabrück" cookie & incends [sic] "Special stooge" [sic]
Meaning, we had to fly around afterwards!! not a job I liked, when I heard over intercom - those relieving words, bomb doors open!! and bombs away, I liked to get the hell out of it!!

31
The raid was good and took 4 hours –
9 days leave again!!
Yes, our leave for aircrew was around 64 days a year!! often more, believe me well earnt [sic] for ther [sic]were always a flow of new faces around, the comradeship of all was first class, with both aircrew and ground crews!! who I must say worked hard to keep aircraft serviceable - and on duty at all hours – to them, and my fellow aircrew, “I say God Bless you all”
Returning from leave, a little fighter affiliation, N.F.T.s, August 24th briefing – our target “Frankfurt” load 1,4,000lb & 10 cans 30lb incendiaries – time 5hrs 20mins. Couple of nights out with the lads in Lincoln – plenty of beer!! on 27th August, formation flying and NFT, later briefing ex[sic]. Target “Kassel” usual load, quiet trip of 5hrs 30mins.
Again on 28th Target “Nuremburg” but bombed Augsburg instead!! how, I really dont [sic] know!!
time 7 hrs.
Bomber Command, under Air Marshal A.T. Harris was really getting down to it now – and many aircraft, and those fine lads who flew them was [sic] to go missing!! Germany had to be well and truly bombed at all costs – all well and good for some!! for, they did’nt [sic] have to go. [page break ]

32
All my friends were to go - and thousands and thousands of others too.
September came in with a “bang”
1st Sept, Air to Sea firing, an N.F.T. briefing ex – our target “Saarbrϋcken”, load 1,4000lb and 10 cans 30lb incendiaries. Somehow the (P.F.F.) pathfinders marked “Saarlous” [sic] instead and that was wiped out!! time 5hrs 25mins.
Again on the 2nd , briefing ex, “Karlsrune” [sic] the target, usual bomb and petrol load – time 5hrs 35mins.
One night off, then briefing on 4th Sept this time Bremen is the target, load 5, 1900LB H.E.
Bombed F.W. Factory - good raid!! 5hrs 15mins
6th Sept Visit to Waddington, back to base, N.F.T. briefing, target “Duisburg” , load 1,4000lb 12 cans 30lb incendiaries – uneventful, 4hrs 5mins.
Two nights out in town, N.F.T. on the 8th briefing, target Frankfϋrt, usual load, cault [sic] in searchlights [smudged] searchlights [/smudged] over target – flak to [sic] close for my liking!! after ages we managed to get clear, time 5hrs 55mins
(“Shaky do” far to [sic] many searchlights)
One free evening, briefing ex, target “Dusseldorf” load 1,4000lb 8, cans 30lb incendiaries – “Bang on”
3hrs 45mins
[page break ]

33
Next two days N.F.T. ex [sic]
13th briefing, “Bremen” 1,4000lb 12 cans 30lb incendiaries “4 flares “ – good trip – 4hrs 20
Again on 14th briefing ex [sic], “Wilhelmshaven” usual load – 4 flares. 4hrs 35mins
“Essen” again on the 16th Sept – usual load!!
4hrs 55mins
Thank God a few clear nights!!
But not for long, 23rd find us on an N.F.T. briefing, low attack on “Wismar”, Aeroplane factories of J.U.88 & Dorniers, bombing at 2000FT – cault [sic] by light flak, port centre tank hit – port tail fin!! to [sic] damn close returned fire freely.
Time 7hrs 15mins.
“Sqdn” moved back to Skellingthorpe again – Swinderby being turned into a “con” training unit!!
Heard my friend Ken Smith had gone missing!! poor Ken, he was one of the best.
Next few days plenty of flying – low level formations, fighter affiliation – bombing ex [sic].
October the 12th we have a change of aircraft – “R” for “roger” (ours being overhauled.
N.F.T. ex our target is “Wismar” again [page break]

34
Height 5,500FT, load 14 cans of 30lb incendiaries – time 6hrs 40mins “good raid”
My friend of gunnery school Fred Dacey had gone missing – [smudged] how [/smudged] I miss his cheerful ways!! Fred and I had been the closest of friends.
14th October briefing again – “Kiel” is the target, load one, 4000lb 12 cans of 4lb incendiaries.
good trip of 5hrs 25mins
Free for a day or so – out again to Lincoln!!
17th October 1942, find [/self-corrected] usual [self-corrected] early briefing for the exspected [sic] “daylight raid”.
The target is “Le creucot [sic] France
our commanding officer [smudged] w/cdr [/smudged] Oxley D.S.O. D.F.C. said after briefing now chaps ‘don’t [sic] go mingling with the traffic in the streets, when passing large Cities [sic] or Towns!! this was a low level attack of 94 Lancasters, our bombing HT. 7,200FT bomb load 5, 1.000lb GPs .
We took off 12.05, and after formating flew South out into the bay of ” Biscay “ turned into St Nazaire, it was as we crossed the French coast at a little above roof tops I noticed a French farmer ploughing his field with a “pig”
What a laugh that was – the weather
[page break ]


35
was grand – lucky no enemy fighter about!! after bombing at dusk, made our way back to base
time 10hrs 20mins to [sic] damn long.
My other friend Vic Greenwood, who was flying from Waddington had gone missing –
“gee” only myself of us four left!!
We had a new W/cdr, Russell – nice chap too!!
Oct 22, briefed for our first Italian raids, “Genoa”, load 2, 1,000LB bombs H.P.s, 6 cans incendiaries, what a trip!! lovely passing over the “Alps”, we bombed at 7,000ft, a round trip of 9hrs 40mins – Landed at Waterbeach
Oct 23 returned to Base
24th October, briefing very early again – another Daylight [sic], this time Milan Italy, load 12 cans of 4lb incendiaries, our take off time 12.20
It being a low level afair [sic] – excepting of course the crossing of the Alps.
Having had our flying meal, collected rations ex [sic], we made for our usual dispersal – ‘S’ for “sugar”, it was a grand October morning – after a short chat, climbed aboard, locking the door after [page break]

[Photograph missing]- PCruickshankG1501-0018+PCruickshankG1501-0019

“Genoa Italy” Damage in Ansaldo fitting out yard after raids in late 1942 [written down left hand side of page]


36
pulling in the ladder, making my way back to my turret in the rear!! see my chute ex safely stowed I got in – pluged [sic] in my intercom, over which was going on a lot of talking ex!! loading my four “Brownings “ – checking the gunsights & lights, oxygen ex, I checked the intercom with the Skipper – Roy, had been running in the engines meanwhile.
We took off at 12.20, and formated a little later at the arranged time and place – afterwards heading South towards “Selsey Bill” nr Portsmouth where we were to pick up our escort [deleted] of fighters!! who would go with us part of the way across France, it was grand sight!! 84 Lancasters flying at roof tops.
After the departure of the fighters – luckaly [sic] it was cloudy!! so the formations broke up making our own way towards the Italian Alps, on arriving we gained height – then going over, looking out – not only for fighters , but also our own lads!!
Over the Alps we came down to low level again making for Milan – it was a lovely clear sky, everyone was excited, I can picture us now arriving at Milan – people running, as we went down the main street [page break]

[photograph missing]- PCruickshankG1501-0020+PCruickshankG1501-0021
Milan Italy. After Daylight raid 24th October 1942 [written down left hand side of page]

37
with bomb doors open – and hundreds 4lb incendiaries droped [sic] among the buildings!!
With bomb doors closed we flew clear of Milan, where seeing a train we went in and I give it a burst or two with my Brownings, a gun post [self-corrected] opened [/self-corrected] up on us – but soon stopped when I played four guns on them !! making our way towards the Alps – gaining height as we went – and was crossing them as the sun was setting, and the moon rising, a most beautiful sight of colours over the snow covered tops.
Arriving back at base a few hours later, joining the circuit - after landing, reporting for debriefing – a meal, and so to bed once again!! time 9hrs 20mins.
“A really good trip”
Heard that my brother Reg had been torpedoed in H.M.S. Dunedin, near the equator in mid Atlantic Ocean, [self-corrected] by [/self-corrected] a Germany “Sub”, out of just under 700 men that [deleted] indecipherable letter [/deleted] got onto rafts ex – only 64 survived!! Thank God he was one, but what an ordeal they must of [sic] suffered – apart from the heat, Baracuda [sic] fish – who jump out of the water and take bights [sic] of you, sea sore, [?] no water to drink ex [sic] for 3 days and 4 nights of hell, my brother swimming among sharks tying the rafts together – so they wouldn’t drift apart – and get a mention in dispatches.
[page break]

38
It is early November of 1942, informed of my award of the “Distinguished Flying Medal” called for a few beers ex [sic]
Joyce my wife now – was very pleased too, unfortunately she was to lose her Mother very soon afterwards.
Nov 6th W/cdr [sic] Russell DFC required me as his rear, we were briefed, our target again Italy, “Genoa”
[self-corrected] Usual [/self-corrected] load – full petrol ex [sic], a really bang on do, but again to [sic] damn long 10hrs 15mins.
7th November found myself on again – back with my own crew, I didn’t really mind for I was nearly finnished [sic], we had briefing – again “Genoa” Italy!!
Usual load – plus full petrol load, really on the mark again!! it was while on one of the Italian trips that when we returned to our base – two of Waddingtons [sic] Lancs crashed into one another and blew up!! poor devils, I watched them go – a most heart breaking [self-corrected] sight, our circuit, and that of Waddingtons were very close together.
Our time 8hrs 30mins
The 9th Nov 1942, My [sic] wifes [sic] Mother’s funeral – she had died a few days before, it was also my last raid of my first tour!! and nearly our last altogether.
Having attended briefing – our target was to [page break]

[Photograph missing]- PCruickshankG1503

Sgt Alan Conner
F/o Power
Self
Sgt Wilson

Taken after crash landing.
“Bradwell Bay”

After Hamburg raid 9th November 1942

Wireless operator Sgt Lew Austin R.A.A.F. being killed
Pilot, F/O Calvert, R.N19.A.F wounded
Navigator, Sgt Medina RAF wounded.
[page break]

39
be “Hamburg”.
Our crew was now changed a bit, Colin Gray our bomb aimer, had completed his tour – his place taken by a Sgt Wilson, Bert Branch was stood down – to enable a pilot to get experience, before taking his own crew on operations, his name F/O Power!!
Our Navigator was a Sgt Medina, Lew Austin, Wireless operator, Alan Conner, mid-upper gunner, self rear – and Roy Calvert pilot.
The raid, was to be a nuisance raid!! only 5 Group, which we were in, particulating [sic] of just over 100 bombers – usual load ex.[sic]
In our own “S” for sugar aircraft.
On arriving around the target area, it turned out to be about 9/10’s cloud, we couldn’t pin-point our correct position, and seeing some searchlights some miles from us – Roy asked the “Nav” if that could be Hamburg, he said no – deciding to go over and bomb them!! arriving the bomb aimer said lovely built up area below in the break though [sic] of cloud, so having said bomb doors open – started our run in!! but held in far to [sic] long, when the whole aircraft shook as we were the main target for them – We had been hit badly, the intercom going out of action – Roy weaving, diving, doing everything to get [page break]

[Photograph missing]- PCruickshankG1504+PCruickshankG1505
[Underlined] Bradwell [\Underlined]
After Hamburg 1942,
showing self, P/O Power, Sgt Wilson, Sgt Conner.
Both Power and Wilson going down on a later raid.
[page break]

40
clear, I felt completely cut off – for without the intercom you were an isolated spot, the others could at least see each other!!
After what seemed hours – a knock on my turret doors, Alan had brought a message from Roy to come forward!! no use staying, for my guns were u/s anyway.
Alan informed me the Navigator was wounded – also Roy, and that Lew was unconscious!! I noticed the aircraft was full of holes as I went forward behind Alan – going first to see the Skipper and Navigator, returned to see Lew, feeling his pulse – thought him still alive, and got him to the rest bed position, laying him down, his head on my lap, Alan set to with trying to fix the wireless ex!! but it was hopeless.
With no means of contacting base or the ground, we made for the English coast – arriving around the essex [sic] coast, where Roy flew in a triangular route – to inable [sic] the observor [sic] corps to plot our position!! they would know we were in difficulties and inform the searchlights in our area – who would show us the way to the nearest drome, lighting up the runway and enabling us to make a crash landing on “Bradwell Bay” near Chelmsford. [page break]

41
Roy made a pretty good crash landing there!! I tried to upon [sic] the door – but excitement must of [sic] got the better of me, so I used the axe to break upon [sic] the lock, always found myself using that anyway.
Luckaly [sic] no fires started –
The “Doc” who was aready [sic] on the spot – informed us that Lew Austin had been killed instantly, Roy and Medina were taken to Hospital, not hurt seriously thank goodness – and would soon be out again, as for me – well I was a bundle of nerves.
Bomber Command had photos taken of our aircraft – for believe me it was [sic] mass of holes, our flying time was 5 hrs 35 mins!! of which I shall never forget.
Now that I had done operational flying – I was granted forteen [sic] days leave when back at base!! Mother was, at that time living at “Barry” – so I spent a week there, and the remainder at my sister-in-laws at North Shields.
I was posted after to 11 O.T.U Westcott, near Aylesbury as a gunnery instructor.
Colin was at “Upper Heyford”, Roy was awarded a bar to his D.F.C, Alan Conner a D.F.M, the navigator a D.F.M the others nothing!!
Wilson and Power both went missing shortly [page break]

42
after Hamburg, Bert Branch, [deletion] indecipherable word [/deletion] some while after to [sic] went down over enemy territory.
Roy and Alan completed flying, Roy going as an instructor at Swinderby, Alan to another station.
It is early 1943, I have made friends with some grand lads at Westcott, some Canadians – New-Zealanders and Assies!! [sic] who like myself enjoyed a game of “poker”
Colin was going to Buckingham Palace, I went down thier [sic] too, Met his Mother and friend of his family!! had a real enjoyable time together before my return to camp.
Had made a close friend of a Canadian FLT/SGT named [smudged] Wetheral [/smudged], from “Ottawa”, some people in Aylesbury who we had made their home open to us at all times – him and I, and George Cleary a Canadian from Montreal, often staying there – and once when visiting Aylesbury with my wife, we called in to see them.
I did a little flying on Wellington’s [sic], but my nerves were still shaky, so on reporting sick I was grounded. [page break]

43
The weeks skipping by now, and it was early March that I received news my investure [sic] at the Palace was for March the 16th 1943, Informing Colin – who said he would come – also my brother Henry, my wife, we arrived the evening before!! my wife and I staying at a Hotel near [smudged] Tottenham Court [/smudged] Road.
On the day of the investure [sic], before going, we enjoyed a drink – arriving at the Palace gate in good time, having only two invitations!! Colin waited at the gate, like I had when he was invested.
We give our tickets – duly signed by the Lord Chamberlain, stamped ex [sic] 16th March 1943 at the gate – who tore off the end piece and gave us back the remainder!
Making for the investure [sic] Hall, my wife unfortunately wasn’t wearing a hat – and was stopped from going in by those on duty [smudged] there [/smudged], because of no hat, fortunately one of the staff let her have a scarf to put over her hair – she was then amitted. [sic]
Everything inside was organised to the detail, rooms for all to go in, from the V.C downwards ex [sic] – each in your turn being put in your seniority, so when the King arrived and the investure [sic] started – when the Lord Chamberlain called out the number, rank, and name [page break]

[Photograph missing]
Sgt Colin Gray and self, after investure [sic] 1943.
[page break]


44
who evers [sic] turn it was – it was him and no other!! you already had a miniture [sic] hook fastened on your breast already [sic] for the King to hang your medal on –
So let us now carry on, soft music is being played in the background – the investure [sic] is on!!
My turn came round the Lord Chamberlain, calling out 629128 Sgt George Cruickshank, Bomber Command.
Turning towards the King, bowing, one pace forward, the King hooks on your medal – shakes hands, one pace backward, bow again, and turn off the opposite way – someone takes off your medal, put [smudged] it in a box [/smudged] box and return [sic] it back to you.
Of course my name is Gordon - not George, so although the Lord Chamberlain made that mistake I took very little notice!! for the honour was great, and the formalities thrilling to worry about that.
On leaving Buckingham Palace, my wife, Henry and Colin, myself, enjoyed a good meal and a drink or two, later going to the “Apollo” Shaftsbury Avenue to see Terence Rattigans [sic] “Flare Path”
The next day we returned home, my wife and I, [smudged] were [/smudged] still living with her Father at Nettleham [page break]

[Photograph missing]
Card playing at Westcott showing F/O Pattison R.C.A.F, self, and F/Sgt Jack Waters R.N.A.F.

[Photograph missing]
Self and Bob Wetheral
at a friend’s house in Aylesbury.
[page break]

45
On my return to Westcott, found little change – my old cardpals were still there!! Bob Weatheral recieved [sic] news of his award of the D.F.M., so it called for beer all round.
April came and my flt/sgt [sic], which was overdue anyway!! the exstra [sic] money came in very useful – things were nearly always the same, card playing with Jack Waters, a New-Zealander, F/O Pattison, George Cleary - and Bob, and myself – or into the “Red Lion” of Aylesbury beer drinking.
Heard Terry Tuerum [sic], Trevor Roper, had crewed up with Gibson!! also with them was Micky Martin and crew – except Toby Temon [?], for he had been killed awhile beforehand, not forgetting Dave Shannon & crew – and others from different Squadrons, had come to Scampton to form a new Squadron to be called 617, and train for special bombing at low level - my wife and I lived only a mile or so from Scampton.
So when home on leave in May of 1943, Lincoln was where we mostly went – and while in Lincoln, my wife and I met Terry, the day after the Dam [sic] raid!! he told me about it – and how succesful [sic] it had been, thier [sic] aircraft having only one hole in it. [page break]

[photograph missing]

[written vertically down on left side of page]
Bob Wetheral’s investure [sic] 1943

[page break]

46
Shortly after, W/cdr [sic] Gibson, was awarded the Victoria Cross, to the D.S.O. D.F.C. he held already, he left 617 Squadron – and his crew, were taken over by another pilot, they were killed on a raid over enemy territory later
My leave over, I returned to Westcott – and enjoyed myself card playing ex [sic], Bob was going up to London for his investure [sic] – so I went along too, we stayed with some friends of his, they looked [smudged] after us [/smudged] very well indeed, on the day of the investure [sic] we all met – including Bobs [sic] brother who was in the army, and some people from near his old station near Grantham.
We made our way over to the Palace – and waited at the gates till it was over!! then a photo near by [sic], was arranged – of course I kept off, thought I was intruding, in his excitement Bob never noticed – he did, when the photos came later – he was furious with me.
Bob had taken to a New Zealander, a Sqn/Ldr name [sic] Frazer-Barron D.S.O. D.F.C. D.F.M., and said when he returned to operations he would take Bob as his gunner.[smudged]
[self-corrected] Time [/self-corrected] was creeping on now, and July 27th 1943 – had a telegram to say I was a Father, a boy of 8½ lb
[page break]

[photograph missing]- PCruickshankG1501-0006+PCruickshankG1501-0007
[caption - written vertically on LHS of page presumably for landscape orientation of photo]
Moehne Dam. The breach of about 200 ft width in the Moehne Dam.
May 1943 Raid by 617 Squadron.

[page break]


47
who we called Richard. This of course called for a drink or two in the “Red Lion” “Aylesbury”
August came, and things were about the same, I was feeling a little steadier – thought I would see if I could get myself passed fit again, and return to operations.
Having a medical later at number 1 C.M.B London, and was passed fit aircrew again, within a week was posted to Woolfox Lodge, near Stamford – a convertion [sic] unit, before going to a Squadron.
On arriving found it a convertion [sic] unit for “Stirlings” - which I thought terrible, and applied for a Lancaster convertion [sic] unit!!
Meanwhile I used to hitch hike home – a night out in Stamford, remember before leaving we had the singer Monti [sic] Ray at our mess!! when I was posted to Swinderby – which made me a lot happier, found on my arrival, that they knew nothing about me, so I was sent back again to Woolfox – them in turn sending me back to Swinderby, by this time I was feeling feed [sic] up and when [sic] before [smudged] S/Ldr [/smudged] Everett – and he informed me that I was to fill a place in a pupil crew, I was far from being myself -
Asked him, if I have to return with a
[page break]

[photograph missing]- PCruickshankG1501-0008+PCruickshankG1501-0009
[heading] 617 Squadron [/heading]
[caption - written vertically on LHS of page presumably for landscape orientation of photo]
Elder [sic] Dam The south-east end of the storage lake with the dam breached between the two valve houses at a point about 400 ft from its western end. Water is still pouring through the gap flowing fast downstream towards Kassel
[page break]

48
pupil crew - was it possible to go to 44 Sqdn!!
If the others were agreeable it would be arranged – I asked them, and next day we were on our way to 44 Sqdn – now at Dunholme Lodge a mile and a half from home.
F/o Terry Fynn,[?] was a Rhodesian – 44 Sqdn, was a Rhodesian Squadron, so it suited Terry fine.
I took him home with me, also the lads to our village locals!! but our crew were to be illfated [sic], when it came to flying.
W/cdr [sic] Nettleton V.C. had been the c.o. of 44 Sqdn, but he had gone down on a raid – his place, being taken by W/cdr [sic] Bowes!! we were in “a” flight under S/Ldr Lynch, started flying for the first time on October 16th 1943.
It was October the 22nd when we did an N.F.T. and later briefing – our target “Kassel”
After our flying meal ex [sic], we made for our aircraft 'K' for King at the far side of the drome!!
Everyone was keyed up, including myself – and wondered how this crew would shape up to things!! with everyone aboard – I was mid-upper gunner, thought a change from flying rear, engines were [page break]

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running up - got my intercom pluged [sic] in, my guns loaded and turret rechecked – called up Skipper for checking intercom!! then sat back waiting for them to make for the runway in use and take off!!
We made a good take off – and undercarriage and flaps up ex [sic], flew to Nottingham and back gaining height – height reached, we set course over base.
Having gained the French Coast, our navigator, a Sgt, broke the silence by saying he could'nt [sic] coup [sic]!! well, well, Terry asking me for my advice - had a talk with the Navigator in respect to time, and how much off route ex [sic], and said to Terry it would be wise to drop our bombs in the sea and find our way back to base!! this we did.
On landing at base, we were before the c.o.!! after we exsplained [sic] the trouble – our navigator was asked what his excuse was, he said he thought of my wife and son – nice maybe, but I like to do the worrying on thier [sic] behalf, not any members of my crew!! he was later reduced to the ranks – time airbourne [sic] 2 hrs 15 mins
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Things were'nt [sic] quite the same as before I noticed, bombing heights were nearly twice that of my first tour
No pigeons now, and a thing called “window” was dropped when over enemy territory, this was to mess up enemy radar screens ex [sic].
Also height was reached before setting course for the target – and not gained on [sic] route. Which meant the testing of guns was now out of the question!!
I liked to test mine, for I will always remember the time we had been on twice, and was unable to clean my own guns due to the fact of needing my sleep ready for the next raid.
So my guns were done by someone else, when we had taken off and was clear of the English coast – I asked for permission to fire my guns, when I tried doing so – nothing happened, this I repeated!! on inspecting them closely I noticed the breach blocks werent [sic] touching the firing pins – which meant all my breach blocks were in the wrong guns, by now I was sweating – [page break]

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But set too [sic] to change them, which was a slow job – what with taking off my gloves – doing a little, putting them on again to warm up my hands, looking the sky for enemy night fighters, your [sic] understand why I had only two guns servicable [sic] by the time we reached the target area!! and after bombing, the lads wanting to come down for a little shoot up – that I wasn't at all pleased about it, for I liked to have all my guns in working order – incase [sic] we run into trouble, and didnt [sic] believe in looking for it.
Anyway I didn't let on, but believe me I was blessing someone for thier [sic] careless mistake, which could of [sic] easaly [sic] cost us our lives, had I not checked them.
Also the gunners [sic] flying cloths [sic] were different now, and a new suit had been issued, which I took an instant dislike too [sic], far to [sic] bulky when on, and you sweated terrible – until you reached a reasonable height to cool off, and a hell of a job getting in and out of your turret, often wondered if you would manage it – if in a hurry.
Also the temperature was often -50, or 50 below [page break]

[Photograph missing] -PCruickshankG1501-0024+PCruickshankG1501-0025
After Berlin Raid
late 1943 [written down left hand page margin]

[page break]

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as some would say, and not [self-corrected] unusual [/self-corrected] to keep clearing your oxygen tube and mouth piece [deleted] indecipherable word[/deleted] of ice which formed there.
Shortly after being at Dunholme Lodge, I was made warrant officer - this was unusual in respect to gunners in the R.A.F. at that time, only got as high as FLT/SGTs [sic] - warrant officer, being newly introduced, barring of course commissioned gunners.
We were free up to November 3rd 1943, being so near home - I was home whenever possible, [sic]
Our target for that night was Dusseldorf. Having had briefing ex [sic], half an hour before take off - we proceeded to our dispersal point, still K for King on the far side of the drome.
Things went fine on this trip and our time was 4hrs 35mins - fairly good bombing.
The next [self-corrected] fourteen [/self-corrected] days consisted of a height test, 26.500 FT, fighter affiliation at Digby, and N.F.T.s
18th November find [sic] us being briefed for “Berlin” usual bomb and petrol load, a really good raid _ time 8hrs 35mins
Bar a couple of short flights we were free up to November 26th [page break]

[photograph missing] -PCruickshankG1501-0004+PCruickshankG1501-0005
Visit of Southern Rhodesian Premier to Rhodesian Squadron
1944
[written down right hand page margin]

[page break]

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At briefing, we find our target is again “Berlin”
After take off, and well on our way, we had trouble from the rear gunner, complaining about his turret ex [sic] – Terry was really fed up, I said nothing - Terry decided to return to base!! We had been airbourne [sic] 3hrs 25mins
I wondered what would happen now, and it was not long after when Terry said to me that he was going to take over another crew, and he was sorry in respect to me - but I said don’t worry about me Terry, I’ll ring up my old pilot at Swinderby and see if he’s returning!!
Christmas soon came, and the new year too!!
Had given Roy a ring in respect to myself - and received the pleasent [sic] news he was returning as flight commander of 630 Sqdn East Kirkby, and would try and get me posted to his crew - I was to leave it to him.
Before leaving Dunholme we had an aircraft crash into the Sgts mess, luckaly[sic] the mess was empty - but the crew were’nt [sic] that fortunate, they were all blown to pieces over a large area - poor divels[sic][page break]

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Early January of 1944, I was doing very little - mostly home, and going into Lincoln having a few beers, often heard the odd line shoot!! one in particular -
A bomb aimer was saying we were just coming up to the target ex [sic], and going on saying bomb - doors open!! left-left, steady, hold it, and suddenly he broke the silence by saying - back abit [sic]!!
On the 12th, had word I was to proceed to R.A.F. station Syerston- to be crewed with my old skipper, Roy Calvert - now D.F.C. and bar, and also a Squadron/Leader
On my arrival we [two letters crossed out] did two flight - ex 19, Searchlight Co-op, and ex 21, a Bullseye - a total of 7hrs 30mins night flying!! and on the 15th January we proceeded on our way to 630 Sqdn East Kirkby near Boston Lincolnshire, and still in 5 Group of Bomber - Command.[sic]
Our crew were Roy - pilot, Sgt Hogg, bomb - aimer, Flt/Sgt Mooney, Engineer, Sgt Freeman, rear gunner, Alan Conner, Pilot Officer, as wireless operator!! who of course had also been with us on our first tour, F/O Beauvain [?], Navigator, a Canadian, and myself as mid-upper gunner.
So we had one New-Zealander, two Aussie’s, and one Canadain[sic], [deleted] indecipherable word [/deleted] three Englishmen. [page break]



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630 Sqdn was under W/cdr[sic] Bill Deas [?], who was on his third tour, we were in “B” flight under our own pilot - who was flight commander.
I soon settled down, and having done a few hours flying “Y” training and air to sea firing, plus another “Bullseye”. We were briefed for “Berlin”- our bomb load 11,400 lbs, and correct amount of petrol required, for although we could carry 21.050 gallons-you could only get that on long trips ex [sic] - sometimes you were topped up just before taking off.
It is the evening of January 27th 1944,when we took off - gained height ex [sic], and set course over base for “Berlin” - plenty of weaving, and searchlights in there[sic] hundreds, in groups of around 25, the flak was pretty tense[first two letters crossed out] and accurate around, and over the target area!! we made our bombing run - and was relieved [sic] when I heard “bombs away”.
A good raid, time 8hrs 50mins.
After that we had leave, before proceeding I applied for my commission!!
Alan Conner knew some people in Nottingham, they had lent him their Sunbeam Talbot for use at our Station, although I had never met them-or in fact never even knew their names, must of [sic] been grand folks, to lend [page break]

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their [?] car to us, I myself had a Morris 8 at that time, which I used for going home - or into Boston, and leave’s if enough petrol
Feb 22nd we did an N.F.T, and on Feb 24th was briefed for Schweinfurt - usual load ex [sic], time 8hrs 30mins.
Next evening Roy had put me rear for a Flt/Lt Weller, which I thought unfair - considering I was already so many trips in front of them!!
Our target was “Augsburg”
We took off, but unfortunately my oil pipe got caught in the turret - busted, releasing all the oil, making the guns useless, we had to return to base after 1hr 50mins flying.
My leg was pulled for days afterwards, but a pure accident I can assure you.
My commission came through, back dated to the 8th Feb - felt very proud of myself, had a couple of days off to get myself a uniform!! Now a sprogg P/O
Also Mooney had been made P/O so it called for a drink or two around [sic].
Lossis [sic] of aircraft and aircrew were getting higher, [page break]

[photograph missing]- PCruickshankG1501-0014+PCruickshankG1501-0015
“BERLIN”
after raid in 1944
1, Machine tools, range finders ex [sic], 2 Turbines, 3 Numerous[?] producing auto equipment,4 Welding, 5 Accumulators, 6 Chemical and printing
[written down left hand page margin]

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we could’nt [sic] keep a gunnery leader for long - there was a flow of new ones in a short period of time, I kept things ship shape until a new one arrived!!
On the 1st March 1944, we did an N.F.T 8 local, later attending briefing - our target “Stuttgart” usual bomb load, and correct amount of petrol ex [sic],
Good raid, fair amount of action - time 8hrs 30mins.
The next week consisted of local bombing, air-test, cross country ex [sic]!! and of course usual nights out on the beer - or hitch hiking home to Nettleham, some 25 miles inland.
10th March finds [sic] us being briefed for Clermont Ferrand, in France - usual load ex [sic], and bombed from 6000 FT[sic], time airbourn [sic] 6 hrs 30mins
We had now started stepping things up - also the losse’s [sic]!! 15th Briefed for Stuttgart again turned out really interesting airbourne [sic] 7hrs 20
19th Briefed for “Frankfurt” - time 5hrs 50 mins
22nd again for “Frankfurt”- time 5hrs 25mins [sic]
March 24th again on, this time “Berlin” again- a real good raid - well on the mark, plenty of excitement!! time 7hrs 30, landed at Spilsby Lincs[page break]

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Returning to base on March 25th.
26th find we are on again, how our losse’s [sic] are growing too!!
Briefing over - our target ”Essen”!!
Later having our flying meal ex [sic], and some half hour before take off, made our way to our dispersal!! Which was quite near by[sic].
The raid was good, and took 5hrs 30mins.
Free again the next couple of days - bar for doing air test on two of our aircraft.
March the 30th, another memorable raid!!
Having attended briefing, our target “Nürnberg” [sic] usual bomb load, and petrol, the required amount.
Having seen to my guns earlier, I was free until our flying meal, after that collecting my rations - flying clothing and chute ex [sic], and made for our dispersal point!! Roy and the engineer running up the engines with all aboard - and the fuselage door closed.
I was soon in my turret loading my guns, checking everything over again!! called up Roy - for checking of my intercom, we then made for the runway in use.
Roy made a good take off, and was soon [page break]

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gaining height – oxygen on, suit switched on, and gun sight light, guns to fire!!
A lovely grand evening, we set course South, via North London and over Selsey Bill, where normally three searchlights roamed the sky, and helping you to pin point your correct possition [sic] – thought a nice night for fighters and kept a keen lookout for them, it was as we just crossed the French coast, that I noticed one, two, three, four, five streaks across the sky – and then a terrific flash, I reported to Skipper, this was repeated over, and over again – the lads said I was seeing things, but I knew different !!
And stopped reporting anymore – but telling them – you wait and see our losse’s [sic] will be heavy tonight!!
On reaching the target things were a little better – we made our bombing run, and after bombs away, and bomb door closed, we made haste for base, on landing and returning to the crew room, and on to de-briefing where I reported again all I had saw – the lads laughing, after that, a meal, and so to bed!! [page break]

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we [sic] were woken by the police – who informed us of our total losses, 97 aircraft, I then noticed our billet was empty – bar us three of our crew who sleep there.
Later looking at intelligents [sic] reports of the raid, we saw our loss’es [sic] were 144 aircraft!!
Also a few apploligies [sic] to me, from them.
our time 8 hrs
Will always remember the courage of a young air gunner, he, and his crew were about to start operations – when taking off, the pilot got off the runway, and tried to take off, & got to about 100ft when it dived – as it did so, the rear turret breaking off, a terrific bang, you can picture a bomber – plus full bomb and petrol load blowing up, they had no chance atall [sic]
But the rear gunner was still alive, although he was partly stripped of his flying clothing – and what was left on, was all in shreads, [sic] his nerves completely wrecked – and know [sic] wonder, he stayed on at the Sqdn refusing to be grounded.
I had left when I heard of what had happened to him later, when he restarted flying – [page break]

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He had crewed up with another pilot and crew, and after a few successful raids – had run into trouble over enemy territory, and were shot up badly, on arriving over the English coast, the pilot said, the aircraft would have to be abanded [sic] – and give orders for his crew to bail [sic] out, on going for his chute, found it useless – the other gunner to [sic] had also noticed this!! and said don’t worry - we’ll go together on mine, this they did, but on pulling the rip cord, the sudden opening of the chute, broke his hold, and the other gunner could do nothing but watch his co gunner go to his death.
W/Cdr Gibson V.C. D.S.O. D.F.C. paid our Mess a visit, he was now stationed nearby – he to [sic] was to crash later over enemy territory in a twin engined fighter bomber, had heard that he hit a hill while low flying on a daring raid.
Bomber Command were certainly going through it – our [self-corrected] loss [/self-corrected] even greater, which meant fewer aircrew completing a tour – or second, third –
5.4.44 Our next raid was Toulouse-Montraudan “France” A real good do, landed at Morton-in-the Marsh, time 7hrs 40mins [page break]

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The 6th April returned to base
Bob Weatheral who had returned to Operations with S/Leader Frazor-Barron [sic] D.S.O. D.F.C. D.F.M. had completed a number of raids, but unfortunately two Lancasters crashed head on over the target – and both aircraft were blown to pieces!! Bob was one, how I [smudged] one letter [/smudged] miss his cheerfulness – For Bob [self-corrected] Weatheral [/self-corrected] was one of the best, and I have yet to meet a better.
On my last leave, when a few miles from Portsmouth, a con-rod had broken, and went clear through the crank case – it was late at night on a lonely road, and my wife was nursing our son, who was but a few months old, I did'nt [sic] have much choice – but to drive it, the row was terrible and when entering Portsmouth folks shouting!! take that thing off the road – had to switch off and get out and push it, I did have some luck – two Sailors give me help, thanks to them we managed to get to my Sisters [sic] house in Portsmouth o.k.
Now it was ready for collecting, and went down to Portsmouth to get it – the price of that accident was £30; and drove back at 30 M.P.H. taking eleven hours – felt very tired when I arrived back at base early morning of the 8th April. [page break]

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April 9th briefed for “Danzig Bay”
Gardening with 5 ‘veg’, our route across Sweden, full petrol load. height around 1,000FT.
Having had our flying meal, collected rations, flying clothing and chute ex [sic] – made for the dispersal.
Everyone in, fuselage door closed – engines OK. We made for the runway in use, called up for permission to take off!! this given, we turned onto the runway – [one indecipherable word] engine’s,[sic] then started our run – gaining speed every second, on reaching 110 M.P.H. we were airbourne!![sic] flaps and undercarriage up, we circled the drome and set course for “Danzig”
I switched my heating on – after some while I could smell burning!! called up the Skipper and mentioned it – who in turn sent Alan back to investigate, then saying he could'nt [sic] see or smell nothing – Roy informing me.
Later I felt a pain under my right arm and instantly turned off my heating – as we were fairly low I said no more and carried on with out [sic] heat, which I did'nt like one bit, we were now well on our way, and soon came to Sweden – who [page break]

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upened [sic] fire on us – but well clear, I enjoyed an orange whilst crossing, throughing [sic] out the peel in return.
We dropped our mines with little interference, and returned back the same route, on landing at base – and at the crew locker room. I found I was burnt through all my cloths [sic] and also burnt underneath my arm
time 9hrs 5 mins
Of course we had some laughs to, [sic] remember a a [sic] W.A.A.F. who give birth to twins in her quarters!! and reckoned she did'nt [sic] know she was expecting – perhaps she was right? and the stork made the wrong delivery, who knows !! I know that I don’t!
It was April the 20th before we got airbourne [sic] again. Doing an N.F.T. and “Air test”
Later attending briefing, our target “Paris Railways” quite an uneventful trip – in fact dull!!
time 5hrs 20mins
Next we did [deleted] indecipherable word [/deleted] [inserted] some [/inserted] local bombing on the 22nd, and were later briefed for “Brunswick”, we were to carry special oil bombs.
We were well over enemy territory, when I was looking arear [sic]!! saw a streak of cannon or tracer coming [page break]

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straight for our middle, shouted dive Roy!! who did so instintly [sic] – it missed our middle ok, but cault [sic] our aircraft about the wing, much better than the middle !! did'nt [sic] fancy that lot there – and us, with a full bomb load on too, the rest of it came easy – but that fighter was far to [sic] close to be healthy.
time 5hrs 50 mins.
Group Captain Cheshire D.S.O. D.F.C. was also stationed nearby, he was well liked by everyone!!
We had heard that Munich was a [self-corrected] hard [/self-corrected] target to hit, and was very heavily defended – more so than Berlin!! Group Captain Cheshire had said, let me go in a “Mossie”, twin engined fighter bomber, followed by two Squadrons of P.F.F. and backed up by 5 Group of Bomber-Command [sic] I’ll see it's hit alright they adgreed!! [sic] and it was.
On the 24th April 1944 we were briefed – and our target “Munich”
Full petrol, and bomb load – and in the last wave. Had our flying meal ex [sic], collected rations – mascots, flying clothing and made for our aircraft!! which was all ready on our arrival – after awhile [sic] climbing aboard, engines running – fuselage door closed ex [sic], got into my turret and loaded my guns, pluged [sic] in intercom [page break]

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oxygen, switched on fire & safe – to fire, gun sight light ex [sic] – called up Roy for testing intercom!! we then made for the runway, permission given we took off – gaining height, undercarriage and flaps up!! around 3,000 ft oxygen on, getting up to around 20,000FT set course over base for “Munich”
On route it was fairly quiet, until near the target, things then were active!! heard them say there were a lot of fires over a large area, we started our bombing run, bomb doors open - left-left, steady, steady, bombs away!!
We were cault [sic] in the searchlights, Roy diving, weaving - doing his upmost [sic] to get out, when suddenly Alan shouted fighters – he had picked up four on his radar screen, under his instructions, plus what we could see at times we opened fire, things were difficult; one minute you were looking at the stars – and another the dark background of the ground, we had a running combat over Munich – getting clear of the searchlights found us very low over the target outskirts, to [sic] low to be healthy – and got to hell out of it, we believed we had one fighter and damaged another!!
[page break]

[photograph missing]- PCruickshankG1501-0022+PCruickshankG1501-0023
[underlined] Munich [/underlined] after 5 Group of Bomber Command raid 24th April 1944 [written vertically down left hand side of page]
[page break]
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We arrived back at base after 10hrs of active flying, after reporting any snags to the waiting ground crew – made for the locker room, and so on to the de-briefing room – reporting ex [sic].
A good meal after and then to that wonderful thing called bed.
Next afternoon I went to the intelligents [sic] room, and saw photos of the target, one by Cheshire’s navigator – he had made sure his marker flare was dead centre, for the photo showed his aircraft flying up the street lower than the house’s [sic] – what flying, and Munich was well and truly hit.
Shortly after Group Captain Cheshire was awarded the Victoria Cross!!
I never knew him personaly, [sic] but I doubt if your [sic] come across better, both as a comrade, or pilot – he sure was respected by everyone.
I was now nearly finnished [sic] and certainly would'nt [sic] be sorry when it was – the losse’s [sic] were heavy!! and often wondered how great? Bomber Command, it was made up of eight groups!! 1 and 5 Group around Lincolnshire, 4 and 6 Group about Yorkshire – 3 Group and P.F.F. Cambridgeshire (P.F.F. 8 Group) 2 Group Norfolk ex [sic] [page break]

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and approximately at the height of the war 200 bombers a group, and much less beforehand!! it was not until after the war that I found out how great our losses were, it was 1949, Tuesday November 8th when I attended the service of the presentation of the memorial books of 1 and 5 Bomber Groups, a total of 22,000 names of those killed in action – and later a book presented to York Cathedral, of a further 18,000of those in 4 and 6 Group!! and other groups yet to come, so I think now how lucky we all were would did in fact complete our tours, no wonder your chances were given – was little, or none of finnishing [sic]
So Bomber Command, not only took a beating but was slaughtered at some stages of the war, and must of [sic] lost thousands upon thousands of aircraft
Have you ever seen any of the lads after crashing, with or without fire!! it was heart breaking, but their spirit you couldn’t break!! to them, and others of the service’s [sic] who suffered like wise.
I say God Bless you all.
26th April I was briefed for “Schweinfurt”[sic] usual load ex [sic] – a long trip, and very lively- time 9 hrs 30 mins
How I longed for my last – and it [page break]

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was to come on April 29th 1944
Our target Clermont-Ferrand, [self-corrected] usual [/self-corrected] bomb load ex [sic], airbourne [sic] 7hrs
After nearly 350 operational hours I was certainly glad I had finnished.[sic]
Later Roy was awarded another bar to his D.F.C. and bar, Alan Connor a D.F.C. Mooney a D.F.C., both holders of the D.F.M. 
Our Wing/Commander Bill Deas was to go missing just before I was posted to 17 O.T.U [indecipherable] two letters [/indecipherable] Silverstone!!
Hast[?] ever flown deep into Hunland where the cold searchlights shimmer and shake, where like pink snakes the tracer uprises [sic] and life is no helping of cake
Where the heavy flak rattles and sends you, while Messerchsmitts [sic] queue for a shot and you’ve only your guns to defend you?
You haven’t?
Then you’ve missed a lot! [page break]

[Picture missing]

Wife & Self late 1944 [Written down left hand side of page]

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May of 1944 find [sic] me at 17.O.T.U Silverstone, The camp was good, also a good crowd of chaps – W/Cdr Lister was our c.o [sic], unfortunately for me he and I were alike – so when I first arrived, and used to put my head through – or rather around an open [deleted] indecipherable word [/deleted] door!! the lads used to stand up, thinking I was W/Cdr Lister – until of course they noticed my one thin ring, instead of those thick ones!! this happened often
My wife and I used to live out in Towcester!! It was while at Silverstone – when the wonderful news came through that we had started the invasion, it was thrilling – after some of the set backs [sic] we had recieved, [sic] such as Dunkirk, the “middle east”, Russian convoys, the sinking of the Hood – The heavy  losses of ships in the Atlantic Ocean!! the fall of Singapore, and heavy losses of men and ships of the far eastern command, and not forgetting the heavy bombing here.
Misfortunes too – such as the liner Queen Mary failing to turn, and in doing so cut the Cruiser ‘Curucio” [sic] in half with the loss of all lives
We had some luck too!! with the stopping of the German invasion of our coast, destroyers going full out casing barges to turn over, then the sea [page break]

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being set on fire, those that did get through being mowed down like rats by the waiting Army on the beaches.
I wasn’t to stay long at Silverstone, and in the summer of 1944 was posted to Swinderby as assistant motor transport officer, I again lived out!!
Somehow I couldn’t settle and asked for a posting, which I got soon after – a course on administration at NO1 school of admin at Hereford. 
At Hereford late 1944, I paled [sic] up with Charles Sleight, Eddie Ball, and several other officers – who were doing the same course as myself!! on completion we had leave – and of course our posting, arriving at Morecambe, when we were moved by train to Liverpool – and aboard the liner “Monarch of Barmuda” [sic] 
Sailing very soon after!! our destination “India’, three weeks aboard, and I really enjoyed it!! through the “Med’,  stopping at “Cairo” before going through the Suez canal and on to “Bombay” 
Our first place in India was the R.A.F [page break]

[photo missing]
Worlie [sic] early 1945

[photo missing]
Self centre, Charlie Sleight on right and a friend. [page break]

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transit camp of Worlie [sic], just outside of Bombay, whilst waiting our postings – we enjoyed Bombay!!
We were soon all posted, myself going to Delhi – where I was a staff officer until being posted to Chacular, [?] near Jaunapur as a station “Adgt” [sic]
It was not a good place, in fact the lads hated the sight of it – so on hearing the war with Germany was over made our way by train to Jaunapur to celebrate!!
Received a parchment from the Governor of “Bihar” (T.G. RUTHERFORD) commemorating the ending of the war in four languages!! another souvenir for my collection.
Soon after I was again moved to Barrackpore near Calcutta – and again shortly after to “Poona” 
In Poona a week or so, and on again to “Bhopal” staying at Bhopal to my release!! I spent some happy times then – hunting, how I sometimes recall those evenings out with my fellow officers – having mess parties!! and cooking our catches over sputals!! [?]
When the war was over, I applied for my releasement [sic] & this granted, and was soon on my way!!
Worlie [sic] again – and whilst waiting a sight seeing tour of Bombay again
My ship, the Scythia leaving India late [page break]

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November of 1945, arriving Liverpool around the 10th December. on [sic] my arrival at the demob centre things were pretty good – and after a couple of days finally released December 13th 1945 [sic]
Home, and a new life!! yes but what? First [sic] a good holiday, a job, and of course our own home.
I got a job at A.V. Roes aircraft repair factory at Bracebridge near Lincoln – afterwards seeking a small house in Lincoln. after [sic] purchasing one – set too [sic] redecorating inside and out, finishing it to the best of my ability and later moving in!!
We were friendly with a South African named Tony Broquit, [?] who was still in the Air-force – and also a Flt/Lt!! when he was and returned to his home in South Africa – we used to write, telling me of the lovely conditions ex.[sic] out there!!
September 11th 1946, we had another child – a girl, we named Jennifer Ann!! I wrote to Tony telling him of the happy event. His reply, and congratulations came – also that his firm was progressing fine, and that if I was keen on going out there – he would put me right, this was great news – as I was unsettled here, decided to write and we would come!! [page break]

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We sold up, and returned to live with my wifes [sic] Father [sic] again- but we later had our letter returned, unknown!! what a dissapointment [sic] to us.
It was now 1947, and once again unsettled – thought I would try my hand at business, so bought myself a morris [sic] 12 – but unfortunately going round a bad “S” bend near home a spring broke and I landed up in a six foot ditch!! Gilberts of Lincoln said it would cost me about £80 to do – so I let them go ahead with it.
Meanwhile I bought a 1947 long wheel base lorry (Jordan) and set too [sic] to obtain the acquired licence!! what with objections ex [sic], going to court, I was months before I finally got my “B” licence – coal carrying for Parsons coal firm, from the pits to the depot in Lincoln!!
Things started to go nicely – then the Labour Government decided to Nationalise the railway, and was informed by Parson that as the railway used to fetch the coal before the war they required it again – so out I went.
No work, got connections at Boston ex [sic], and started again!! meanwhile I got the bill for my car – the price £177 I was speechless!!
Things were getting fairly better, obtained another lorry – and did it up to working order, got a “A” contract [page break]

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licence and put it to work.
But my luck didn’t hold, two or three bad drivers landed me in trouble – and on the Nationalisation of road transport it put things right in the cart – for the 25 limit on us, which were it Nationalised really put paid me and thousands of others too!!
And nearly had to give lorries away, for no one seemed to want to buy them at that period – had my car with a hackney carriage licence, tried putting things straight – but luck was again against me, for it was always giving me trouble!! I was forced to sell.
And I was broke, [deleted] indecipherable word [/deleted] mid 1949 – and set to finding myself work!! Shortly starting at Ruston Bucyrus Ltd Lincoln.
Working all hours to get money to straighten things out!! 1950 came and I felt a little easier – but a long way to go before I could relax!! for we had no home of our own – and worst of all, no money.
4th March 1950 we had another girl, we named her Linda Carol, the time flew by – and I was hoping we might manage one of the new house’s being built nearby!! and 1950 soon came – and still no house yet.
October 16th 1951 we had another girl – our last!! we named her Margaret Alison. [page break]

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Things were getting better, wages were increasing and I felt a lot happier – then things happened, my wife went into hospital, I had the children in four different homes!!
And to make matters worse, she had a very bad [smudged] hemorrohage [/smudged] [sic] – having six blood transfusions, I visited her twice daily!! But it caused me a great worry, and longed for her return – and have us altogether again, 1952
Early of [smudged] 1953 [/smudged] we got the key to our new house – how pleased we were, then of course I had new worries!! it had to be furnished.
We progressed along reasonable [sic], and with four children to bring up made things difficult – but with working hard things would come right in the end, [smudged] we [/smudged] did it [sic] have any holidays – the things needed in the house came first.
Afterwards gardening, wallpapering, painting ex [sic] as time rolled by!! I thought perhaps our luck would change, but it was not to be – for November of 1954 my [smudged] voice [/smudged] began giving me trouble, my Doctor sending me to see the throat specialist at the “County Hospital”
15 days later I was in, and a small growth [page break]

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removed [sic] from my vocal cords.
Afterwards feeling fine, returned to work just before Christmas – we had a somewhat enjoyable time, considering that I had a month off just before, and the children did too.
Early January I felt a pain in my stomach and after seeing my Doctor, I was ordered to bed, just my luck, a fortnight in bed – with a suspected ulcer!!
I was up a [sic] around again, and after six [word missing] felt like work again – but it was not to be, for just before tea I had a very bad hemorrhage [sic], lasting 4¼ hrs off and on – my wife fetching the Doctor!!
By 11 o/c that evening I was once again in hospital.
After six weeks in bed – I started to get up, although far from myself!! having been up about seventeen days – my wife had to go into hospital again, and I was left to manage the house & children. [deleted] indecipherable word [/deleted]
Things went fairly well, my sister-in-law helping whenever possible, unfortunately for me a sickness was going around at that time – and of course mine [page break]


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would have to catch it – no sleep for me, in and out of bed for two nights!!
Poor Alison, my youngest – she had been sick, heard her crying, and went into her room, poor dear she was flat on her back and sick everywhere, including her hair.
I managed to pick her up, and carried her into the bath room [sic] – run some water, and tried washing her!! but it was to [sic] much for me, so I ran off the bath and bathed her.
On finnishing [sic], she started laughing – I said I am not laughing Alison? she replied but I am Daddy – bless her.
After three weeks Mother returned home – how pleased to be together again – during that year I had Linda, and Jennifer both in hospital, and I had six months off work.
It was just before the holidays of 1955 when I returned to work – and thought perhaps I can save and enjoy an [sic] holiday next year!! set to get things straightened out – first Christmas, saying we would have a good one.
Time went by, [self-corrected] no [/self-corrected] pains, and I [page break]

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thought my troubles were about over, and we did have a good time at Christmas.
Afterwards settleing [sic] down to work, and save, for that long waited [sic] holiday!! but it was not to be, Feb 20th 1956 returning from work – I had another hemorrhage [sic], and 7 o/c that evening I was once more back in Johnson ward.
Luckily it wasn’t so bad as before – and after just over three weeks in bed I began to get about again, and after nine weeks returned to work – but I returned to [sic] soon, for I was only back just over a week, when early on May 4th 1956 I had yet another hemorrhage [sic] – 9 o/c of that morning I was back once again in Johnson ward.
Five weeks more off work, and I was feeling really fed up with things!! hoping perhaps this time was my last – when after seeing the Surgorn [sic] who recommended an operation. I had some very severe stomach pains!! this was June the 9th after only nine days at work – I was ordered once again to bed, and although I am up now, and waiting to be admitted once more to hospital – I have some more [page break]

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weeks in bed to come, and many more weeks off work – but perhaps this will be my last, I know I sincerely hope so!!

[Addendum – Short piece repeating some of the details from the main account which took place between December 1941 and Npvember 1942]

[underlined] I Flew Rear [/underlined]
It was late December 1941, we!! that is several other gunners and myself had just been posted to 50 Sqn 5 Group Bomber Command, a Hampden sqdn!!
It was a cold December, and the station [deleted] ed [/deleted] seemed miles from anywhere – we said what a place, my pals and I soon got settled in making many new friends and waiting to see who we were going to be crewed with, it was after a short period there – when I learned I was to fly with Norman Goldsmith, Terry Tuerum [sic], Colin Gray – they were in my mind the best!! our aircraft Manchesters, for we had just changed from Hampdens.
After flying together for some days we started operations – but I felt that these aircraft were useless, and this proved correct for they were later to be grounded.
On the night of April 24th/42 we were briefed for Rostock, Germany, carrying 14. 250 incd [sic] bombs – our second pilot was a chap called Manser who was later awarded the V.C. the raid was good, and although we couldn’t get above 5,000 ft it will always be remembered as one of my best.
After Norman completed his first tour, we were left without a pilot – we were hoping Leslie Manser would take us over!! but this was not the case, our pilot was [page break] Roy Calvert, a NewZealander. [sic]
It was not long before we came to be a first class team – all keen, Roy was a likeable chap and a damn good pilot, in fact I will go [one word deleted] [inserted] as far as [/inserted] to say one of the best there was, our sqdn now was at Skellingthorpe very close to Lincoln – this was much better, for a night out was easier; & not so far to return after a hectic night on the beer.
Operations started [last two letters overwritten] piling up, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Kiel, Duisburg, Osnabrück, Frankfurt, Cassel [sic], Saarbrucken, Karlsruhe, Bremen – we seemed to be doing fine – now will our luck hold? for some the answer was [underlined] no [/underlined]!!
Leslie Manser was one, the night was May the 30th 1942 Target Cologne, the wars [sic] first 1,000 Bomber raid – full crews from all sqdns, everyone was [deleted] all [/deleted] on [indecipherable letter deleted], Cologne was indeed to get a pasting – and our boys!! don’t lets [sic] forget them they suffered too.
Les & his crew run into trouble on approaching the target, when cault [sic] by searchlights & intense anti aircraft fire, they were hit badly – but pressed on to bomb at 7,000 ft, with searchlights & flak still giving them Hell !! things were bad – damned bad, the rear gunner [page break] wounded, the aircraft losing height – and now fire – aircrews [sic] worst enemy, after awhile [sic] this was mastered, but it left its mark – the wing badly [deleted] burnt [/deleted] burnt & the engines failing badly, when with efforts of all the Manchester began to lose height – Les gave orders for his crew to bail out, disdained the alternative of parachuting to safety himself, but held the [deleted] aircraft [/deleted] aircraft till [sic] all were out – but too late for himself, it plunged in flames, with a man of great courage & strength. Flying Officer Leslie Manser was awarded the Victoria Cross. “Posthumously”
Summer came we were all in high spirits – perhaps the weather? or that we had decent aircraft to fly in the (Lancaster) they had now brought in the bomb aimer & flight engineer, so our crew being altered slightly, and Terry Tuerum [sic] having completed his tour, so we had to [get?] used to another again –shortly afterwards a boom in operations, Frankfurt, Bremen, Wilhelmshaven, Essen, Wismar.
When training for some low level stuff, often remember our c.o. remark dont [sic] go mingling with the traffic below – then it came low level daylight on Le-creucot [sic] led by wing commander Gibson [page break] & the [sic] another on Milan – allright [sic] maybe!! but to me 10½ hrs in the rear turret is a hell of a long time.
It was nearly my first tour over, Genoa, Genoa, & Genoa again – dont [sic] they know any other place!! – they did on the night of Nov 9th 1942 “Hamburg” which was not only my last raid but nearly our last altogether

Collection

Citation

G Cruickshank, “Memoir Flight Lieutenant Gordon Cruickshank D.F.M. RAFRO,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed November 18, 2019, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/17702.

Item Relations

Item: Group of airmen dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Evanton gunnery school class August 1941 dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Rostock dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Cologne dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Genoa dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Milan dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Gordon Cruickshank's crew after crash landing dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Mohne Dam dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Eder Dam dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Visit of Southern Rhodesian Premier dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Berlin dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Gordon Cruickshank's crew after crash landing dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Berlin dcterms:relation This Item
Item: Munich Residenz dcterms:relation This Item
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