They Refused to Fly



They Refused to Fly


An article about a navigator and a bomb aimer who destroyed their maps on two occasions. They were charged with Lack of Moral Fibre.
A second article titled 'Norton Camp, Sheffield' is about a punishment camp where the writer was sent after cycling with a WAAF on his crossbar.





One typewritten sheet


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Sadly, two of our Lancaster crew refused to fly, and both were charged with Lack of Moral Fibre, known as LMF.
Soon after arriving at Mildenhall in December 1943 in December 1943 we reported to the 15 Squadron Adjutant. He said “Your training is over, you are here to fly against the enemy” and he added “If any of you have any doubts now is the time to speak up” and as we departed from his office he handed each of us a Bible, Was I being prepared for a Final Posting, I wondered?
Throughout my time on the Squadron I kept a day-to-day diary of all “Happenings” and one entry reads “Feb. 14th. Had a crew bust-up, be a miracle if the crew is not soon split up”. However, my young pilot did his 'second dickey' trip to Leipzig, date Feb. 19th, and 79 aircraft were missing that night.
Feb. 20th. We were on the Battle Order for Stuttgart with 624 aircraft, and others were doing a 'spoof' on Munich. We carried out our NFT, ate the the pre-flying meal, and attended the Main Briefing. With this over, we got the kit from the lockers, climbed into the crew bus, chatted with the ground crew, got into the kite, and did the pre-flight checks. We started up, taxied around the perimeter, and awaited at our take -off position.
Then suddenly, on the Intercom, two voices, Bomb Aimer and Navigator, announced “We have destroyed our maps and we refuse to fly.”
We returned to our dispersal and found the WingCo awaiting us; each of us was questioned and the B/A and the Nav were immediately confined to the Guard Room whilst the remainder of us went back to our billets. The next morning all our names appeared in the Battle Order again, and the B/A and Nav. Were released from the guard Room and given another chance to fly.
All appeared normal as we did our NFT, at our pre-flight meal and attended Briefing. The target was again Stuttgart.
We arrived at our take-off position with Lancs in front and Lancs behind, all waiting for the Green, when over the intercom came those words again “We have destroyed our maps.”
J.H. Our rear gunner and myself were escorts to the B/A and the Nav. every day as they awaited a Court Martial, charged with LMF. Our young pilot, he and this crew were killed over Berlin on March 24th.
Our Engineer, together with his crew, were all killed whilst taking-off with a bomb load. J.H. our rear gunner (also an AGA member) survived two tours, (one with 7 Sqdn. PFF) became a Gunnery Leader and was awarded the DFM. I was transferred to our sister Squadron, 622. (Bernard Dye).

I fell foul of the Signals Officer after being caught riding a bike with a WAAF on the crossbar – at least she thought it was the crossbar, I was told I was a good I was a good Wireless Op. but I needed 'sharpening up', so I was posted to Norton Camp, Sheffield. This place was essentially a punishment camp, but it was never called by that name; to be punished you had to be charged. Norton Camp was a 'course' and was so entered on your Records. Posted there with me was 'Sleepy' Collins, so called because he was said to


Bernard Dye, “They Refused to Fly,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 2, 2023,

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