Interview with Tommy Knox

Title

Interview with Tommy Knox

Description

Tommy Knox, born in 1924, grew up in northern Glasgow and volunteered at the earliest age of seventeen and one quarter. He then trained in Wales and Devon and flew Stirlings. Tommy was posted to RAF Stradishall for his Heavy Conversion Unit, meeting his crew which consisted of two Australians, two Canadians and two Englishmen. Tommy believed he was lucky for choosing the Stirlings, despite including having to hand-crank the landing gear: if he had chosen Lancasters it would be unlikely for him to be here today. He then recalled being moved from his flight group the day before a Nuremberg operation, in which 96 aircraft were lost. Tommy joined 149 Squadron and was transferred to RAF Lakenheath and later to RAF Mildenhall. Taking part in supply drops and bombings, Tommy recalled numerous stories of his crew, including one of his navigator falling asleep and he waking him up.
Tommy then joined 199 Squadron, overseeing radio disruption operations. When the War ended, he volunteered to travel to the Middle East, completing 40 missions in total before being demobilised. Post-war, he returned to his engineering apprenticeship, before moving to Sydney when he met his wife. Tommy recounts the war as a big adventure and states that Bomber Command was a big part of his life, being the secretary and treasurer of the RAF Association for several years, before joining the Bomber Command Association. He states that the legacy of Bomber Command is positive.

Creator

Date

2019-06-26

Language

Type

Format

00:46:24 audio recording

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Rights

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

Identifier

AKnoxT190626, PKnoxT1901, PKnoxT1902, PKnoxT1903

Transcription

AP: This is an interview for the International Bomber Command Centre’s Digital Archive. It’s with Tommy Knox who was a flight engineer with 149 and 199 Squadrons on Stirlings. It’s the 26th of June 2019. We’re at Tommy’s place in Mona Vale. My name is Adam Purcell. So, Tommy, let’s start at the beginning. Can you tell me something about growing up in Glasgow?
TK: Growing up in Glasgow?
AP: Yeah.
TK: Oh, well, I had a brother and a sister, and we lived just north of the city in a tenement ‘til I was about five and then we moved to a new, a new housing estate on the south side of the city called Carnwadric. And that’s where I spent most of my childhood. That’s, I went to school there. And my father was a coach builder and they always had, they always had work. We were very fortunate in the Depression that he always had a job and mum stayed home and looked after the kids the way it used to be [laughs] and we had a terrific childhood. It was right on the perimeter of the city and right at our back door was a wheat field and a dairy farm, you know. So we had nothing like a city upbringing. It was more a rural upbringing you know, and we had a great time there fishing for [unclear] and newts and tadpoles and picking wild strawberries and brambles, you know. It was great [pause] And then went to the primary school there. Won a scholarship when I was twelve, and finished up in Allan Glen’s which was a private school in the city which I didn’t like. But anyway, when, when the war started the school closed and I got myself a job in a local jewellers, you know and through the Boy’s Brigade which I was a member of the Boy’s Brigade for years. I started off with the Life Boys when I was nine. Transferred to the Boy’s Brigade when I was twelve, and I still keep an interest in it, you know. And anyway, after about three or four months school opened again and after, after working then going back to school I didn’t, I didn’t quite appreciate it. Anyway, I thought I didn’t like Allan Glen’s so I left school. Left school at fifteen and went to take, studied engineering at night. Night school. And, and then started an apprenticeship in the railways. An engineering apprenticeship. Mainly, I don’t know, I don’t really know why I joined the railways but mainly my father worked there and all my uncles were [laughs] The whole family. They were all railwaymen in one, one sense or another. And then of course the war was, the war was on and it was a Reserved Occupation. You had to stay there. The only way you could out of it was aircrew so I thought well aircrew would be a damned sight better. We were on twelve hour shifts. Six in the morning ‘til six at night and I thought this is no bloody good. So I, you could volunteer at seventeen and a quarter so I did that and went to Edinburgh and did all the tests. And anyway, at eighteen I got called up and did the flight engineer’s course at St Athan in South Wales and, and the rest is history.
AP: Indeed. When [pause] there must have been a feeling that war was coming.
TK: Yeah.
AP: For a while before it was declared. How did you feel as a young bloke going through that time and then when war was actually declared what was that like?
TK: Well, I was fourteen when the war, when the war started. I never thought much about it. Too busy enjoying myself [laughs]
AP: Did you have an inkling that you would, you would be involved in some way? Was that always —
TK: Not really. Didn’t really think too much about it but when I got to be seventeen I started to think, ‘Well, may be in this.’
AP: It was still going, I suppose. Yeah. Ok. Ok. So you went straight from the railways to aircrew.
TK: Yeah. Yeah. Got called up to Lord’s Cricket Ground. That’s where I had to report to. I’ve never been back since [laughs]
AP: What, what happened there? Once you got there what happened?
TK: Well, we got kitted out. Uniforms, everything else and billeted in a block at St Johns Wood. And from there we went down to Torquay on the south coast of Devon and did the initial training. Initial Training Wing. Six weeks there square bashing and everything else and learning how strong the cider can be in Devon [laughs] I never drank but I thought I’d better try this cider and it would blow your head off, you know. But six weeks there, and then we moved to St Athan and did the Number 4 School of Technical Training. And that was a six months course and it was a general all round course to start with. Then part of the way through you had to specialise because as I say all the jobs were completely different. Different aircraft. And I don’t know, there was a choice of the Stirling, the Halifax, the Lancaster, the Sunderland. All the aircraft were flight engineers. I saw this picture of a Stirling. I’d never seen one before. Big, beautiful, Clyde built you know. I thought that would do me.
AP: Clyde built. I like it.
TK: And that’s why I picked Stirlings. My pal and I both picked Stirlings. And fortunately, if I’d picked Lancs I probably wouldn’t be here. I was just lucky. The timing was just right. they took us off main targets and the next night there was a raid on Nuremberg and they lost ninety six aircraft the day after we were taken off main targets. Ninety six Lancs and Halifaxes went. Gone.
AP: [unclear]
TK: So we had a pretty trouble free tour. We got whacked a few times but nothing, nothing terrific and the special, special duties dropping supplies to the Maquis was quite — it was all low level. Right down on the deck and all map reading and it was great fun. You were away in the middle of France. A pilot, marvellous navigation, map reading. The bomb aimer was down there map reading and it was quite, and to see the, there were three lights and then another light flashing a Morse letter and that was no, no Pathfinders, no nothing. You were on your own. And then we found it and see the little people running out with the ‘chutes going down, you know. It was quite [pause] So, I really enjoyed it.
AP: Yeah. Quite an experience. I’m interested to hear a bit more about your Technical Training School. What, what sort of things did you do to learn about the Stirling?
TK: Well, we had just a classroom and it was, it was all divided up. Hydraulics, electrics, propellers, engines and so on. We each had a different, a different teacher for each particular subject, you know. And then, that’s the freezer banging away. So it was very interesting, yeah.
AP: Was it, was it all mostly book work? Or did you have, you know parts to play with or to look at or simulate in some sense? Or —
TK: Yeah. Well, we did. We did the [pause] the funniest thing about the whole thing was that I did the whole course and got my brevet, my stripes, and I’d never been off the deck. I’d never flown. I thought bloody stupid you know because people get airsick.
AP: Yeah.
TK: Anyway, I’d never flown and the first time I flew was when we got to the Heavy Conversion Unit. And I think we got, for air experience and they put me in the tail turret. The first time I was off the deck in a tail turret [laughs] And we started to taxi around the perimeter track and I’m looking for the intercom We’ve got to plug it in and I’m looking everywhere and we were damned near at the end of the runway to take off and I finally found it and it was way down between my knees, you know. And apparently the skipper had been calling up, ‘Are you alright?’ No answer because I couldn’t find the bloody plug. Anyway —
AP: Was that in a Stirling?
TK: Oh yeah.
AP: What did you think the first time you went flying backwards in a Stirling?
TK: [laughs] I, I was, I was, well I was trained in them and I was very familiar with them and there was plenty of room. Very, very roomy. Fourteen foot longer than a Lanc. There was plenty of room. And another funny thing it never even had a seat. There was a seat originally but they took it out and I used to sit on a couple of dais, right opposite the engineer’s control panel, you know. That was fine.
AP: So where, where is the engineer’s panel in a Stirling?
TK: So, the starboard side. It was dual control too which the Lanc and the Halifax didn’t have. Complete dual control. So there was the pilot, the bomb aimer, the navigator was at the left hand side and the engineer was on the right hand side and the wireless operator was next to him at the port side. And I spent most of my time just, and we used to have to take a log every twenty minutes and work out the fuel consumption. You couldn’t depend on the gauges you know. So you had to work out the fuel consumption for different revs and boosts, and do all the odd, odd jobs. Turn on the oxygen at ten thousand feet and any odd job, you got it. When the undercarriage failed you had to wind the bloody thing up. Terrible undercarriage. Oh dear. Oh dear. But once in the air like a fighter. It was marvellous. They chopped the wings short. The Air Ministry in their wisdom chopped fourteen feet off the wingspan and of course that reduced its lift, but increased its manoeuvrability at low level and oh, it was marvellous. It could out turn a Lanc. Could even out turn a Hurricane, you know. Boy oh boy. It was great.
AP: Good fun I think. How did you meet your crew?
TK: Well, it was funny. When I met the crew they were already formed. They were flying Wellingtons and this was the Heavy Conversion Unit and as I say I’d never been up. We were all in a hangar and they just said, ‘Well, just wander around among yourselves and some, some, if you like a particular pilot for any reason just ask him if they’ve got an engineer.’ If not, it was just every man for himself, you know. There was no, no reason. No rhyme or reason for you going with this crew. It was just a matter of [pause] and I was very lucky. I had two Aussies, two Canadians and two Englishmen. So it was a really mixed crew, you know.
AP: So when you, when you did this crewing up thing in, you are all in the hangar. Were, was there just the pilot who was there? Or was the whole crew?
TK: The whole crew was there.
AP: So you just wandered around introducing people.
TK: Yeah. The whole crew was there. Yeah.
AP: So you already knew what you were getting in to.
TK: [laughs] Yeah.
AP: Very good. I think you once wrote me a letter and said, “So, I was the peacemaker.”
TK: Oh yeah [laughs] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. The Yorkshiremen were a bit —
AP: So, your first, your first flight was that air experience thing at, at the Conversion Unit.
TK: The first trip was mine lying. Laying mines I think, from memory.
AP: Right. I’m still looking at your flying, sorry your training at the moment. Your Conversion Unit training. What, I’m just looking at your logbook. I’m seeing so I see you’ve written here, “second engineer,” while you’re training.
TK: What was that one?
AP: In your logbook you’ve written, “Second engineer.”
TK: Oh yeah. Well, that was Heavy Conversion Unit and you go with an experienced engineer. In fact, the whole crew did. You know.
AP: So there were like two.
TK: So the skipper went with an experienced skipper and engineer. I remember his name too. Tubby Rollo. R O L L O. Tubby Rollo.
AP: Rollo. Right.
TK: And the pilot was an Aussie. Wooley. We called him Hank. Hank Wooley. And my skipper and him I think they must have supported different teams. They were both Victorians and my skipper didn’t like Hank Wooley. He tended to shoo off you know while we sort of buzzed along and then all of a sudden he’d throw her over. [laughs] I thought what’s going on here? Yeah.
AP: Right. So where, where was your Heavy Conversion Unit?
TK: Where?
AP: Yeah. Where was your Heavy Conversion Unit?
TK: Stradishall. That was in Suffolk.
AP: Suffolk. What, what sort of a base was that? What sort of a place?
TK: Oh, it was just a wartime base.
AP: Yeah. Ok.
TK: We didn’t get on to any permanent bases.
AP: Rats [laughs] That’s fantastic. Ok. Alright, so you went from there after a month or so maybe by the looks of things. Two months. Oh no. A bit longer than that. Yeah. Two, two and a half months. Ten weeks or something at the conversion course and then you went to the squadron. So —
TK: I forget.
AP: That’s what your logbook says.
TK: Does it?
AP: Yeah.
TK: Oh, in the book.
AP: Then you went to the squadron so 149 Squadron at Mildenhall.
TK: Lakenheath.
AP: Lakenheath. I was wrong. Sorry.
TK: Lakenheath is, it’s still there. The Yanks. The Yanks are there, and it had a very long runway and yeah and then after a while we moved to Methwold which was in Suffolk. And yeah, we did most of them, and then when, when the squadron converted on to Lancs we had already done twenty two trips so there must have in their wisdom thought are they worthwhile converting them on to Lancs? So they found another special duties squadron on radio counter measures with special radio behind the main spar and another wireless operator joined the crew and he used to baffle the German’s radar, and instructions to the pilots and he spoke German. It was very interesting but it was mainly circuits like on a racecourse. You get to somewhere on the path to the main target and you’d orbit then and send out all these dummy signals, you know. Yeah. And chuck out Window. That was another one of my jobs. Chucking out Window through the flare chute. And interesting, the flare chute was right, right below me. Right below the engineer’s panel. And the skipper, when he wanted, when he wanted to go for a leak he used to come, kneel down at the flare chute and piss out the flare chute [laughs]
AP: Lovely. Alright. Tell me, tell me about some of your, your operations then.
TK: Well, as I say the, the supply dropping was most interesting and ideal for the Stirling because it was all two hundred feet and the Hercs were very very silent. Beautiful sound, you know and they were ideal for the job. Mine laying was the most uninteresting because you were over the sea. And you used to get a bit of opposition from flak ships if you were getting near a port which we used to drop the mines there in Kiel and I forget the places but the flak ships used to give us a bit of [unclear] and you were, you were on your, virtually on your own you know. There wasn’t a whole heap of aircraft. We did a few bombing, we actually never bombed Germany. We bombed France would you believe? Railway marshalling yards and strategic things, you know. So we had to be pretty spot on that we didn’t bomb the French people as much as we tried, you know. But, yeah. Good fun.
AP: Good fun. You said there were a few, a few little instances of things that happened on some of your trips. What sorts of things?
TK: Well, there was one. We got hit by flak and I forget which one but the bomb aimer was a Canadian and he was very prone to exaggeration like a lot of Canadians are, you know. Anyway, we got banged up a bit and a voice comes up, ‘I’ve got a hole down here big enough to throw a cow through,’ you know. Which was a load of bullshit. There was a hole alright but you couldn’t get a cow through it. And the, the tail gunner Nobby Clark, he was a Yorkshireman, and he used to fall asleep. Fall asleep.
AP: Really?
TK: I used to get out of the belt at the back of the turret to wake him up, you know. That was another job I got [laughs]
AP: So you really were Mr Fixit.
TK: And then there was a funny thing. The navigator, Jack, Jack Tipple great navigator but didn’t have much sense of humour and he was a Yorkshireman as well. He came from Sheffield. Anyway, the elsan, the toilet was way down the back, and when Jack came stumbling past me through the main spar right down to the elsan as I’m watching him. Anyway, he’d undone all his zippers and getting ready to have a piddle. And I said to Hughey the skipper, ‘Ok Hughey, throw the aircraft [laughs] Jack’s stumbling all over the place. Anyway, he knew. He knew who did it you know. And he come up and he kicked the tripe out of me, ‘You bastard.’ [laughs] That was a lot of fun.
AP: I see a note here that on one of your early, might have been your second trip. Hit by flak. Diverted. And then it says port wheel burst on landing.
TK: Oh yeah.
AP: Tell me about that.
TK: We got flak in the tyre and as we landed it deflated of course and we swerved off but that was, finished up alright. Nothing collapsed, you know. They didn’t encourage us to, to write in too much detail for some reason you know. Just keep it brief. So I never used to write much in.
AP: A little bit. Yeah. it just says, “Ops Special France,” many times. That’s what we’ve got. Methwold. That’s interesting. Fighter affiliation with a Hurricane.
TK: Oh yeah.
AP: What happened there?
TK: That’s fighter affiliation. We used to go up with a Hurricane that would attack us you know and we would, just out manoeuvre it, you know. That was good fun. There was another time, I was sitting up in the mid-upper turret just to familiarise myself with it and a Mosquito came up right next to us and he stuck his mainplane in between our mainplane and the tailplane. Right up. Right up next to us and actually waving [laughs] and that was good. And then he just sailed away, and away he went.
AP: That would have been pretty cool to see I think.
TK: Yeah.
AP: Yeah. Look through what else have we’ve got. [pause] A couple of mentions here of having to hand wind the wheels up. You had to wind the wheels up.
TK: Oh yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
AP: Where was that? How did that work?
TK: Oh, the —
AP: The mechanism. Yeah.
TK: Yeah. It sits next to the panel. The engineer’s panel.
AP: And there’s like a big wheel or a hand.
TK: Yeah.
AP: Or something. Yeah. Ok. Very good. While you were on leave, so you were obviously on operations for, for a fair period and you would have I think the standard was leave every six weeks or something like that.
TK: Yeah.
AP: What did you do then? Did you go home or did you go to London? Or —
TK: Yeah. I went home. I took some of the crew up, up to Scotland too, and they were billeted in various neighbour’s places, you know. Yeah. Oh yeah. Oh, we were well looked after. Leave every six weeks and we used to get taken on kind of excursions to some of the stately homes you know. They’d put on a, not so much a barbecue but they’d put on some food, you know. Yeah. It was good. Oh yeah.
AP: So was this as a crew or aircrew in general?
TK: Yeah. The whole crew. Yeah.
AP: Yeah. Ok.
TK: And then, on some leaves I used to go with the Canadians down to London and go in to the Canadian Club, and I’ll always remember the Canadian griddle cakes with syrup. Oh, bloody beautiful, you know. Yeah. And then there was plenty of places set up. The YMCA for a bed for the night, you know.
AP: What, what was wartime London like? What was the atmosphere like in, in London during the —
TK: In London?
AP: Yeah.
TK: Oh, they were very very good. Didn’t worry them at all sort of thing. They were very stoic you know. Yeah. And then when, when we finished the tour, when we broke up I was sent to a Maintenance Unit, and I was on the bench just for a little while. And then there was a vacancy in the drawing office so I went there as a draughtsman in the drawing office and that was, that was a really cushy post you know.
AP: Yeah.
TK: And I enjoyed that and by that time I was a, used to get promotion over time every year. You started off as a sergeant and in a year you become a flight sergeant. Another year you become a warrant officer. Well, I was a warrant officer in the drawing office and the chief of the drawing office was a sergeant. But you know it was an aircrew promotion so it wasn’t, it wasn’t a true promotion you know. And then one day I looked at the DROs, the Daily Routine Orders, and by this time it was, it was 1946. The war had finished when I was in the drawing office and they were looking for parachute jumper instructors and my mate and I said, Oh, get back flying again,’ you know. So we put our names down and we were accepted and we did a PTI’s course. You had to do that first. Physical training instructor. Six weeks of that. Oh marvellous. Playing football and gymnastics and God knows what. And then we went to Ringway, Manchester and did the initial jumps out of a balloon. Sometimes a balloon and then out of a Dakota I think it was. It’s all in there. And then they were looking for volunteers for the Middle East. There was a lot of trouble with the Jews and the Arabs there. The Stern Gang, you know blowing up everything British, you know. Anyway, I finished up in the Middle East and we got demobbed from there back to England when the time was up.
AP: So what were you doing in the Middle East? What sort of work were you doing?
TK: Training parachutists.
AP: Training parachutists. Parachute jumping.
TK: Yeah. It was the 6th Airborne Division.
AP: Wow.
TK: And we were attached to them. Putting them through the drills and going up with them and dispatching them. Then jumping out yourself, you know. Yeah.
AP: That would have been pretty cool.
TK: Yeah.
AP: That would have been great fun.
TK: The first day we got there one went straight in.
AP: Oh really?
TK: The ‘Chute never opened. Straight in. I thought this is a good start [laughs]
AP: Wow. That still happens occasionally, sadly. Wow. Ok. So you got demobbed from there and then went back. Went back to England. There was something I wanted to ask. Oh yeah. So when the war ended, so you transferred to a different squadron and you were doing counter measure stuff you said. Like radio counter measure stuff.
TK: Yeah.
AP: Which that would have been probably fairly boring after the —
TK: Yeah.
AP: Supply drops, I imagine.
TK: Yeah. It was boring.
AP: So, ok and then you said you finished your tour and I think, I think I saw forty trips in total did I? Am I right? Is there forty operations in your —
TK: Forty.
AP: Yeah. Ok. And then obviously you went, you went off to the draughting office at that point. When you heard that the war had finished, what happened when the war finished? How did you, what do you remember?
TK: Well, I was in the, I was in the Maintenance Unit then. And —
AP: Where was that?
TK: Oh, Sealand. Sealand. That was. It was near, near Chester.
AP: Ok.
TK: On the west coast. Yeah. I remember when the war finished I remember I had a few beers of course, and I remember standing up on a table and singing [laughs]
AP: What were you singing?
TK: I don’t remember.
AP: You can’t remember. Damn [laughs] I was hoping for a rendition. No worries. Ok. So the war finished. Then you got the parachute jumping. Doing that. Got demobbed. What happened next?
TK: I went back to finish an apprenticeship.
AP: Back to the railways.
TK: In the railways. Yeah.
AP: Really.
TK: And being along with Aussies and hearing all about the place I thought [pause] when I got back to Scotland the first job I got, that was in February, I think. Yeah. February. The middle of the winter, and the first job I got was shovelling snow away from the front door. So I thought there has got to be something better than this. So I applied for Australia and here I am.
AP: So that was in, in the late ‘40s.
TK: Yeah. That was 1950.
AP: 1950.
TK: 1950 and, yeah 1950, and I’ve come out to my skipper. He was running a pub away up in Queensland. In Claremont. You know Claremont at all?
AP: No. Not, I know it’s in Queensland but that’s about it.
TK: Inland a bit.
AP: Yeah.
TK: And anyway his wife was in Brisbane. We sailed all the way to Brisbane. His wife was in Brisbane doing some business for the, for the pub, and she took me up to Claremont. We flew up in a DC3. I remember that. And then I forget where we stopped, but we stopped then because on a train there’s a three foot six inch gauge train to Emerald. And then Hugh was there with his big old Hudson, and out to Claremont and there wasn’t any roads. It just seemed like just driving through the bush, you know [laughs] And I spent a few days there and then I thought I’ve got to start earning a living so I came back to Brisbane. The first job I got was the Queensland Metal Windows and I was marking off for the machinist to cut the metal. And then I finished up with the, in [unclear] making the, on maintenance. Maintenance of the factory. Yeah. [unclear] I played with the local soccer team up there.
AP: That would have been —
TK: And that’s where I met my wife. Met my Waterloo [laughs]
AP: In Brisbane.
TK: Yeah.
AP: Yeah. And then you obviously came to Sydney at some point.
TK: Yeah. Well, she was a Sydney girl. I met her at Brisbane, and I followed her down. I was smitten [laughs] She’s been gone ten years now.
AP: Really?
TK: Yeah. There she is. She’s up there.
AP: Oh yes. Yeah. Oh lovely. And you’ve been in Mona Vale, Sydney ever since. Did you stay working in engineering?
TK: We stayed there. I met her actually at a hostel.
AP: Oh really?
TK: It was a, it wasn’t a migrant hostel. It was a youth hostel and there was as many Aussies in there as anybody else and thirty bob a week. Full board. Marvellous [laughs] Right. So I worked in Booloumba, and the hostel was in Booloumba, and I played for Booloumba Rangers soccer team. So I was a real Booloumba guy. Right on the river there.
AP: Did you, did you go back to Scotland much?
TK: Yeah. I went back two or three times. I won’t be going back any more. In fact, I’m not allowed to fly.
AP: Oh really?
TK: On account of this.
AP: There you go.
TK: So, I’ve had a pretty good life. Pretty good. I chopped and changed a bit. When I came down to Sydney I got a job with the Shell Oil Company on curbside pumps. Servicing them. A couple of jobs and then I changed over. I wanted to get out on the road and that. I finished up with Turner’s. Made washing machines and lawn mowers. I was on the road servicing them. I’ve spent all my life fixing things, you know and the last twenty two years I worked for Xerox. Rank Xerox on the copying machines. I was there for twenty two years.
AP: How did you find readjusting to civilian life after your military service? After Air Force service.
TK: Oh, pretty good. Pretty easy. It was all an adventure really. So here we are. This is, we moved here in [pause] I had this house built in 1986 so I’ve been here over thirty years now. Too big but I like it. I don’t fancy going to a village, you know.
AP: No. No.
TK: What would I do with all this stuff anyway?
AP: And I guess as my final question really, for you how is Bomber Command remembered? Bomber Command in general and your part.
TK: How is it remembered?
AP: Yeah. And how do you want to see it remembered?
TK: Always crops up somewhere or other, you know. You never forget. Yeah. It’s always been a big part of my life really, you know being an ex-serviceman. And I was, I was the secretary of the RAF Association for years and the treasurer. But I eventually gave that up and joined the Bomber Command Association. And so that’s where I’ve been since.
AP: What, what legacy do you think Bomber Command has left?
TK: What legacy?
AP: What’s the legacy? Yeah.
TK: Just a mass of great people. Great, great guys, you know. Wonderful to be a part of a crew. They’re all dead now. All of them. The last one I was in touch with was the wireless operator. He lived out at Ulladulla, and he lived in a one room place in a, in a village and they used to put his guests up in a motel which was next door. That was great. So I went down there a few times with my son and then I rang up. I used to ring him up but and I couldn’t get any answer one day. Anyway, I finally got through to the office and I said, ‘I’m trying to contact Dave Hughes.’ ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘He passed away.’ So, Dave, he was the last one. He’s gone. Very sad. Very clever fellow. Very clever. So there we are.
AP: That’s about it. Thank you very much. [unclear] next time.

Collection

Citation

Adam Purcell, “Interview with Tommy Knox,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed September 18, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/17899.

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