V Group News, September 1944


V Group News, September 1944
5 Group News, September 1944


Five Group Newsletter, number 26, September 1944. Includes a foreword by the Air Officer Commanding, and features about operations, gardening, war effort, tactics, signals, air bombing, navigation, radar navigation, engineering, air sea rescue, photography, armament, war savings, gunnery, training, accidents, second thoughts for pilots, flying control, equipment, decorations and a trip to Russia.

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



Temporal Coverage




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No 26 SEPTEMBER 1944

Copies sent to Stns.

[Stamp] Base Copy.

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September was a most successful month and a reward for the hard work which all ranks have put in throughout the Summer. The Group secured two prizes for which many have striven since the early days of the War, the Tirpitz and the Dortmund-Ems Canal. The attack on the Tirpitz was splendidly undertaken by Nos. 9 and 617 Squadrons and appears to have been highly successful in spite of a most efficient smoke screen. The attack on the Dortmund-Ems Canal has earned the following message from the Secretary of State for Air.

“The War Cabinet have instructed me to convey to you and to all concerned their congratulations on the outstanding success achieved in the recent attack on the Dortmund-Ems Canal. Pressed home with great determination against strong opposition and in difficult weather it constituted yet another major blow against German War economy.”

These two attacks have once more shown the remarkable efficiency of the 12,000 lb. “Tallboy” bomb when it hits the target.

The Group has achieved an equally high measure of success in attacks against German cities. During September alone, an area of nearly 3,000 acres has been burnt out. Such results can only be achieved if the marking is accurately placed and if the incendiaries are spread evenly over the whole area to be burnt. With a small force of Group strength there are no loads to be spared and if incendiaries go wide or are over-concentrated on certain sectors, it must be at the expense of the total area destroyed. Examples are Stuttgart where too high a percentage of loads fell wide of their sectors and Kaiserslautern where crews allowed themselves to be deflected inwards by the fires raging in the central sector, thus allowing the equally important areas on either side to escape.

I want to impress on crews that area bombing calls for every bit as much accuracy as attacks on the smallest factory or railway targets. In attacks on these targets during the Summer crews achieved remarkably small errors, and similar accuracy is needed on these large targets if they are to be burnt out from end to end leaving no gaps calling for an uneconomical return visit. Each crew in fact is given a small area of his own to burn and if his load falls on his neighbour’s patch, his own area may well escape destruction, and this has happened on some of our recent attacks.

The problems of lining up the aircraft on the correct heading after allowing for drift and of carrying out the overshoot procedure, are not easy to solve but instructions have recently been issued which should help crews in this matter. If an even spread of incendiaries can be achieved we should be able, with our normal effort, to burn out nearly 1,000 acres on each attack. This will represent a tremendous achievement, and one which will bring nearer the end of the War.

No.51 Base has also put out a great effort in training 161 crews during the month. This has enabled all squadrons to be kept up to establishment and had provided a margin from which new squadrons are already starting to be formed. I congratulate all concerned.

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[Underlined] BREST – 2ND SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber – Wing Commander Humphreys.

Operations in September opened with an attack on the dry docks and shipping in Brest Harbour by 67 Lancasters of Nos. 52 and 55 Bases, in daylight on September 2nd. There was no marking for this attack, which was carried out visually and according to plan. Officers who have since visited Brest say that the concentration of bomb craters around the two docks in such that it is almost impossible to get across this area on foot. Both ships are shattered by many bombs.

[Underlined] DEELEN AIRFIELD – 3RD SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

103 Lancasters from Nos. 52 and 55 Bases, plus No. 106 Squadron, took off to attack Deelen airfield in daylight. Two Mosquitoes from No.54 Base went ahead of the main force to mark the target with smoke. One Mosquito fitted with an A.P.I. was detailed to find a bombing wind and pass it to the Master Bomber Two smoke bombs were assessed as being on the aiming point but no trace of markers was seen on strike photographs. No. 106 Squadron bombs were fused T.D. 0.025 while both 52 and 55 Bases carried a load of 1,000 lb. and 500 ln bombs all fused half an hour delay, with the object of avoiding smoke and thereby allowing each crew to have a clear run up to the target. This was the first occasion on which we have used the half hour delay fuse against an airfield target. Unfortunately there was much cloud so that the experiment was not conclusive.

RESULTS Only partial cover was obtained, but concentrations of bombs were seen to have fallen on the S.W. and Eastern intersections of the runways, and at least 60 craters are seen in the partial cover of the runways.

[Underlined] BREST – 5TH SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:– Wing Commander Simpson.

The United Stated Forces investing Brest were meeting stiff opposition from the defences around Brest. These enemy batteries were the target for 60 aircraft of No. 53 Base in daylight on September 5th. There were four aiming points, A.B.C. and D, to be marked by 7 Mosquitoes of No.627 Squadron. Crews were to bomb visually.

RESULTS All aiming points were attacked, a fair concentration being achieved, with the exception of some loose bombing on A. and B., several bombs falling as much as 400 – 500 yards to the West. A full interpretation from photographic cover was unobtainable owing to the difficulty of distinguishing between the Lancaster and previous attacks.

[Underlined] MUNCHEN GLADBACH – 9/10TH SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Squadron Leader Owen.

Nos. 52 and 55 Bases provided 113 Lancasters to attack this target on the Western fringe of the Ruhr; in conditions of cloudless weather and good visibility.

PLAN For this attack, as area of the town was selected and a suitable marking point chosen, upwind from it. The marking point was to be marked with T.I’s dropped by Mosquitoes in the light of flares, after which the

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main force, tracking over the T.I’s on pre-determined headings through a sector of 90° were to aim their bombs at the T.I., but delay release for a certain number of seconds. The aircraft were divided throughout the sector and each division given its own band. In this way the incendiary load would be spread evenly over the selected target area.

Should the 54 Base Mosquitoes find it impossible to locate their marking point then they were to back up yellow Oboe T.I’s dropped in the centre of the target area by P.F.F. Mosquitoes, and the main force were to bomb the yellow and red direct, without delaying release. The Oboe T.I’s were dropped on time, but visual marking was delayed owing to the first and second flare waves dropping their flares too far to the South and South East over open country. The Master Bomber, therefore, ordered the third flare wave to drop their flares on the Oboe T.I’s, and by their aid, Marker II was able to identify and mark the marking point. The main force were then called in to attack.

RESULTS Photographs show enormous volumes of smoke coming from a very large number of fires scattered throughout the centre of the built up area of the town. Large new areas of complete devastation, mostly by fires, are seen all around the main railway station. This was a successful attack, but the Mosquito markers would have been aided had a more conspicuous marker point been chosen.

[Underlined] LE HAVRE – 10TH SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Provided by P.F.F.

Defences at Le Havre which were holding up the besieging Allied Forces were attacked by 108 Lancasters from Nos. 52 and 55 Bases in cloudless weather in daylight on September 10th. Aiming points were marked by Oboe aircraft of the P.F.F. and the attack went according to plan.

RESULTS P.R.U. cover shows that all areas have been heavily cratered in a widespread fashion. It was noticeable that there were no craters North of the Northern limits of the target area.

[Underlined] LE HAVRE – 11TH SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Provided by P.F.F.

A force of 101 aircraft from Nos. 53 and 55 Bases, plus 106 Squadron, again attacked the defences at Le Havre in good weather in daylight on 11th September. Here again the marking was carried out by Oboe aircraft of the P.F.F. and P.R.U. cover confirms the success of the attack, showing that all aiming points were well covered. Once again no bombs were seen outside the Northern limits of the target area.

[Underlined] DARMSTADT – 11/12TH SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Wing Commander Simpson.

The weather in the target area was clear with some ground haze.

PLAN The “fanning out” method employed against Munchen Gladbach was again planned for this attack, each Base being allotted a separate sector. On this occasion, leading aircraft of the flare force assumed the additional role of blind markers and, in addition to illuminating the target for the Mosquitoes, were to drop T.I. green in the centre of the target area. Mosquitoes were then to mark the marking point with T.I. Red, and the main force in their allotted height bands were again to aim their bombs at the Red, delaying release. To ensure the distribution of the incendiary load over the whole of the required area the first wave was to delay 20 seconds, the second wave 10 seconds, and the third wave 8 seconds. As on a previous occasion the green T.I’s from the Lancaster markers were to be backed up by the Mosquitoes, if the latter were unable to locate their own marking point, and the centre of

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these two sets of T.I’s was to be bombed direct by the main force. Flares were dropped accurately and on time, and the markers successfully dropped their red T.I’s on the marking point. The attack then proceeded according to the primary plan.

RESULTS Photographs show the main area of the city to be completely gutted. On the whole a highly successful attack but something went wrong with the Northern edge which has escaped devastation. Investigation into the reason is not yet complete.

[Underlined] STUTTGART – 12/13TH SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Squadron Leader Owen.

The target was heavily attacked by a force of 195 Lancasters from all Bases, in good weather on 12/13th September.

PLAN The target had suffered severe and wide spread damage from previous R.A.F. and U.S.A.A.F. attacks, and so a plan of attack was required to cover the remaining comparatively undamaged areas.

A marking point was therefore chosen, and sectors allotted to each Base in which bombing headings were to be evenly distributed, in order to cover the whole of the undamaged area.

No.54 Base Mosquitoes were to mark the big railway yards with T.I. Red and Red Spot fires, with the help of illumination from the flare force.

Appropriate delays were ordered, and blind markers were again dropped by 54 Base Lancasters as an initial guide to the Mosquitoes, and as an insurance if the latter failed to locate their marking point.

Flares were dropped accurately and punctually. Marking was completed successfully and the attack was carried out in accordance with the primary plan.

RESULTS Photographic cover shows new areas of damage round the aiming point, in the Bad Constadt district, and at Fueurbach to the North of Stuttgart, in addition to several important industrial works.

Plots show that, although a fair concentration of incendiaries was obtained within the sectors planned, the main weight in the later part of the attack tended to spread to the East and North. The reasons for this are being investigated.

[Underlined] BOULOGNE – 17TH SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:– Provided by P.F.F.

The garrison at Boulogne was putting up a heavy resistance against the Canadians attacking the town and harbour, and two forces comprising 199 aircraft from all Bases were detailed to attack the specific aiming points.

PLAN All aiming points were marked by full P.F.F. Oboe marking. The first two forces were timed to attack in two separate waves, the first at 0830 hours and the second at 0940 hours. In view of the proximity of our own troops, crews were carefully briefed to make their run up from a well defined pin-point on the coast and use was made of the Navigator’s Master Bomber switch.

RESULTS P.R.U. cover shows well bombing concentrated around the aiming points.

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[Underlined] BREMERHAVEN – 18/19TH SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Wing Commander Woodroffe.

207 Lancasters from all Bases and 7 Mosquitoes took part in a heavy and devastating attack on the town and harbour installations at Bremerhaven, in cloudless weather conditions, with good visibility.

PLAN There were five aiming points, lying in a rough direction from N.N.W. to S.E.E. on the Eastern bank of the river. Marking procedure for this target was to be similar to that for the preceding targets, but its shape restricted the use of sectors and it was therefore planned that part of the force would attack on defined tracks over the Mosquitoes’ T.I’s, with the appropriate delay in the release of the bombs, whilst others would aim direct at these T.I’s with a false wind vector applied to the bombsight. Illumination and marking was carried out without any hitches, and the attack was completed according to plan.

RESULTS The two most closely built up areas North and South of the harbour entrances have been completely devastated. Most of the warehouses and dockside buildings have been gutted. This was a model for an incendiary attack.

[Underlined] MUNCHEN GLADBACH AND RHEYDT – 19/20TH SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Wing Commander Gibson.

A further heavy attack was carried out on this target by 227 aircraft from all Bases in the Group, the intention being to complete the destruction of this enemy industrial centre.

PLAN There were three forces – Red (53 Base plus 106 Squadron), Green (52 Base), and Yellow (55 Base), each force being allotted separate height bands and its own Marking Point, each of which was to be illuminated by flares and marked with Red, Green and Yellow T.I’s respectively. The aiming point of the Red force was the primary target and was to be fully controlled. If the green or yellow targets could not be successfully attacked aircraft were to be ordered to attack the red target.

There was a hitch with the marking for the Red Force. In the light of accurately placed flares, the Master Bomber went in to drop his T.I’s on the Red Marking Point, but his markers hung up. He then called the markers to come in. Number one marker had trouble with exhaust studs and Markers 2 and 3 could not identify. As no Red markers were down, the Master Bomber ordered the Red Force to bomb the green T.I’s which were dropped on time. Later, however, Marker number one identified and marked his target. The order to bomb the green T.I’s was cancelled and the force were then ordered to bomb the red T.I’s. The yellow marking point was punctually and accurately marked, and the Yellow force completed their attack as planned.

RESULTS Considerable additional damage over the whole N.W. perimeter of the town is revealed adding to the already severe and widespread damage. This almost completes the destruction of the town. There is little additional damage in Rheydt.

Plots of night photographs and the incendiary plot show that although the incendiary sticks dropped early in the attack fell near the aiming point, a spread rapidly developed both to the South and W.S.W. and at the end of the attack, an area from S.E. to West was covered. No markers were plotted in these areas. No explanation for this wide spread beyond and outside the planned sectors has yet been arrived at.

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Master Bomber:- Red Target: Wing Commander Woodroffe.

Green Target: Squadron Leader Owen.

A large force comprising 254 aircraft from all Bases in the Group was detailed to attack these targets, the first two being the primaries and the last, Munster, an alternative, should the weather present difficulties for marking and attack. Unfortunately 10/10ths cloud was encountered in the target area with base 8,000 ft.

PLAN No.53 Base plus 106 Squadron and 617 Squadron were ordered to attack the red target (Dortmund-Ems Canal) and Nos. 52 and 55 Bases the green target (Handorf Airfield). If the red target were not marked, the red force, excluding the Tallboy aircraft, were to attack the green target, or if the green target was not marked, the yellow target. Similarly, the green force were to attack the yellow target as an alternative.

RESULTS [Underlined] Dortmund-Ems Canal [/underlined] – Although the portion of the canal marked and attacked was some 7 miles North of the planned aiming point, a very successful attack ensued, and both branches of the embanked portion of the canal were breached. A stretch of 18 miles of the canal is now dry, and over 100 barges are stranded. A splendid result. Of the red force, 82 Lancasters attacked the primary, and 12 the alternative.

[Underlined] Handorf Airfield [/underlined] – The marker force experienced difficulty in identifying the target area, and after an unsuccessful attempt, the main force was ordered to bomb the alternative. 20 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitoes claim to have attacked the primary, and 61 Lancasters attacked the alternative. There was no new damage to the alternative.

[Underlined] CALAIS – 24TH SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Provided by P.F.F.

30 Lancasters of 53 Base were ordered to attack defence positions at Calais in daylight on 24th September. Marking was to be carried out throughout the attack by Oboe Mosquitoes of P.F.F.

RESULTS Weather conditions were unfavourable, there being 10/10ths cloud, base between 2/3,000 feet. In view of this the Master Bomber cancelled the attack. This order was not received by 8 aircraft of the force, who carried out the attack visually having identified their respective aiming points.

[Underlined] KARLSRUHE – 26/27TH SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Wing Commander Simpson.

Force employed – 216 Lancasters, 11 Mosquitoes. Weather conditions experienced over the target were 8 – 10/10ths cloud 6 – 8,000 feet.

PLAN In order that the whole weight of the attack should fall on previously undamaged areas of the town, a marking point was selected, to be marked with red T.I’s and each Base was allotted a sector or track, radiating from the marking point. Main force crews were to aim their bombs at the red T.I’s and delay for the detailed number of seconds. The usual blind marking technique was ordered to ensure against the failure of the Mosquitoes to locate and mark the aiming point visually.

Cloud conditions and poor visibility prevented the visual markers from identifying the marking point and consequently the secondary plan was resorted to.

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RESULTS P.R.U. photographs reveal a large area of gutted buildings extending over many blocks. This devastation spreads on both sides of the main East to West road through the city around the closely built up area, for a distance of 1,500 yards by 500 yards to 1,000 yards. There are many scattered incidents of destruction beyond this central area, and a large number of commercial and administrative buildings have been destroyed. This is a great triumph for the blind markers.

[Underlined] KAISERLAUTERN – 27/28TH SEPTEMBER. [/underlined]

Master Bomber:- Squadron Leader Owen.

207 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitoes from all Bases in the Group were to attack the industrial centre and railway workshops. The attack was carried out in weather conditions of 2 – 8/10ths thin stratus at 3,000 feet and 10/10ths cloud at 7,000 feet.

PLAN The railway workshops were to be attacked with ‘J’ bombs using a false wind vector on the bombsight, and the town by the normal method of overshooting.

RESULTS The illumination and marking on both areas were accurate and punctual.

The damage inflicted on the town, confined chiefly to a narrow belt across the centre of the area id disappointing in relation to the number of aircraft used. Investigation shows that over 70% of the aircraft bombed on headings within a small sector, and were not evenly spread over the whole sector as planned, thus little damage was sustained by the Northern and Southern outskirts. Greater attention should be paid at briefing to explaining the details of the plan of attack, and the importance of aircraft adhering to their briefed bombing headings must be strongly emphasised. The attack on the railway workshops achieved a greater measure of success.

[Underlined] SPECIAL ATTACK BY NO. 617 AND NO. 9 SQUADRONS. [/underlined]


Previous attempts made by aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm and midget submarines to sink the Tirpitz had proved unsuccessful. It was considered that a force of Lancasters carrying Tallboy bombs and other special bombs would have a good chance of inflicting severe damage to the battleship, if not sinking her, provided the element of surprise could be achieved, so that aircraft could carry out their bombing run before the smoke screen, which was known to be capable of covering the ship and fiord in which she lay within 10 minutes, could be brought into operation.

On September 11th, 38 Lancasters and 2 Liberators took off and with the exception of one aircraft of No. 9 Squadron, which had to return to base, all arrived at Archangel or in that area. Weather conditions were appalling, with rain and low cloud, and some crews were unable to locate the advanced base and had to land on other airfields and even in open country. But for a very high standard of airmanship many more aircraft might have been damaged or lost.

It was hoped that by approaching the target from the South, the necessary element of surprise would be achieved. Tallboy aircraft were to attack first, as it was essential that they should see and aim at the Tirpitz visually. The aircraft carrying the special bombs did not depend on visual sighting of the target. A separate plan and aiming data were provided for them. The plan consisted of the selection of two clearly identifiable landmarks close to the target, at which the bomb aimers could aim, using false settings on their bombsights. Two lakes, one on either side of the fiord were chosen for this purpose. Each aircraft was given a separate track, with the intention of covering an area of 750 yards X 750 yards with the target at its centre.

The flight plan proceeded as detailed until the approach to the target area, when the Tallboy force had to make a last minute alteration of course, as they were west of track.

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The leading Tallboy aircraft saw the Tirpitz clearly when 8 minutes flying time away from it, but by the time the first bombing run was made, the smoke screen was already in operation, and later aircraft found the target area completely obscured. Some aircraft were able to aim their bombs before the last traces of the Tirpitz disappeared under the smoke screen, but others had to aim at the gun flashes and light flak seen through the smoke screen. Others, unable to identify the target, took their bombs back to the advanced base.

The six aircraft carrying the special load aimed their bombs at the planned aiming points, but were unable to observe any results.

The majority of bombing frame photographs are unplottable due to smoke but the release point frames of thirteen of the Tallboy aircraft have been plotted, and the calculated strike position of the bombs indicate that at least one direct hit, and three near misses are probable. Neither the bombing nor release point frames of the aircraft carrying the special load are plottable, as they are obscured by smoke.

Subsequent P.R.U. photographs show a large rent in the starboard side of the ship forward, covering much of the forecastle. Apart from this hit the explosion of some 6,000 lbs of Torpex at a depth of 60 feet within a few yards of the ship’s side cannot fail to have given her a severe shaking, and at least one of the near misses was very close.

This was a highly successful operation carried through in spite of considerable difficulties.

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The Group Gardening effort this month has been on a small scale, and has only called for two operations in which a total of 77 vegetables were successfully planted, although crews stood by for other operations which were cancelled owing to adverse weather conditions.

It is interesting to note that in our first operation this month, the Gardeners from 44 Squadron were co-ordinated into the main force attack on an important German Port, and planted visually by the light of the Flare Force, close to the docks in a channel 800 yards wide, from 12,000 feet.

The second operation, performed by 57 and 630 Squadrons, was a normal H 2 S high lay off the entrance to important German shipping channels where 53 selected vegetables were successfully planted. Unfortunately H/57 had trouble with H 2 S equipment after trying local repairs to within 20 minutes of the target, and then correctly returned with a complete load.

The Command effort totalled 748 vegetables, mostly planted in the Baltic and Kattegat area, with the object of continuing the present dislocation of enemy shipping routes, and preventing troop movements from Scandinavia to the mainlands of the European offensive.

It can be estimated that at present the figures for vegetables planted per ships sunk, stand at 47 to 1. This is an encouraging figure when taking into account the number of Gardening sortied made, and bearing in mind that this does not include the loss to war effort while sweeping measures are put in hand and completed in each area, or the number of ships that are severely damaged and can only be repaired under difficult conditions, or the all-important morale effect on those who “go down to the sea in ships”.

The following extract from the “News Digest” of 28th September reveals the present state of our enemy’s imagination:

“Norway – German fear of Paratroops. British bombers have recently flown over Oslofjord dropping mines.”

“…The Germans are nervous because they think that paratroops were dropped at the same time as the mines. After the first attack some weeks ago, Oslo harbour was closed to all traffic for two days. Since then many attacks have been made, and the harbour has been closed every time. Even the Bygde ferries have, at times, had to stop their traffic. Large-scale raids have been carried out in Cjelleras, and even as far away as Lillestrom there have been raids for paratroops”.

It is also reported that all ships entering narrow channels in the Kiel area have to place two strong cables round their bottoms, and so sail until they are out of the area. This is done in order to facilitate the salvaging of a ship by cranes or other salvage devices in case she is bombed or mined.

In other words, our enemy has developed the minephobic complaint to a very high degree, and with our present increase in stocks he will receive further innoculations [sic] as, and where, we may decide in the future.

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[Table of Sorties, Tonnage and Hours by Squadron]

Squadrons are placed in the above table in order of “Successful sorties per average aircraft on charge”. In view of their special duties Nos. 9, 49, 83, 97, 617 and 627 Squadrons are shown separately. In cases where a crew has flown in an aircraft of another Squadron the sortie is divided between the two Squadrons.

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[Drawing] TACTICS

The main tactical development of this month has been the withdrawal of early warning devices, i.e. MONICA and BOOZER, and the limitation in the use of H.2.S. It is now known that Hun night fighters can home upon these devices. In the circumstances, therefore, there was no alternative but to withdraw them. MONICA is in the process of modification and may be reissued eventually, but in its absence, crews must exert the utmost vigilance in their search.

It must be appreciated that, although German C.G.I. is getting very much shorter warning of an approaching raid, the number of targets to which a bomber force may be going is also decreasing, making the night fighter controller’s job easier. He also has his night fighter squadrons concentrated into a smaller area and their transfer from one area to another is consequently easier. Bearing these factors in mind, there can be no doubt that the German night fighter will constitute our main problem during the coming months. The following steps should be taken to ensure utmost efficiency in combatting the enemy’s defensive measures.

(i) [Underlined] Night Vision Training. [/underlined]

No opportunity should be lost of training crews in night vision. Night vision efficiency is something which can be improved with practice. Remember, with the withdrawal of the early warning devices, it is now your eyes and night vision versus the night vision aided by A.I. of the enemy night fighter. On the other hand, you have seven pairs of eyes where he has one. This advantage must be exploited to the utmost.

(ii) [Underlined] Increased Banking Search. [/underlined]

Surprise remains the night fighter’s most important weapon. The only effective counter to surprise from behind and below is a constant banking search, and captains must increase the frequency with which they carry out this banking search.

(iii) [Underlined] Corkscrew. [/underlined]

The 5 Group Corkscrew continues to be a very effective fighting manoeuvre. A scrutiny of recent combat reports, however, reveals that there is little doubt that the Hun night fighters now expect the corkscrew and anticipate it. Out of 94 combats reported the enemy fighter opened fire only 37 times, and in many cases was seen to make a feint attack, sufficient to persuade the Lancaster’s captain to corkscrew, and then to hold off and wait until the manoeuvre was completed. The existence of a combat report proves that the corkscrew was successful, but it is considered that where no combat report exists, i.e. where the bomber has been shot down, the fighter’s tactics have been successful. In other words, he waited until the corkscrew has been completed and the aircraft has resumed course, and has then closed in and opened fire.

You are no longer safe in assuming, therefore, that one cycle of a corkscrew will throw off the fighter. Should the gunners lose the fighter in a corkscrew, a banking search should be carried out as soon as course is resumed, to ensure that he is not directly under the

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A new German night fighter, the H.E.219, is now known to carry two fixed astral guns, oblique upwards firing. It is believed that these fire at an angle of 65° upwards and forwards and are fired by the pilot. This adds further weight to the necessity for constant banking search.

To summarise:-

1. Learn how to use your eyes at night!

2. Carry out the correct search to find the enemy.

3. When you have found him – don’t lose him!



[Underlined] WITH APOLOGIES TO H.M. BATEMAN [/underlined]

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[Drawing] SIGNALS

[Underlined] W/T DISCIPLINE. [/underlined]

On the night 27/28th. September, 217 aircraft of this Group attacked Kaiserslautern. In accordance with recent practice, very strict W/T, R/T and Radar silence was ordered en route to and from the target. Wireless Operators should have been well aware of the vital need for strict W/T silence on this occasion, in view of the unusual measures taken. In spite of this, however, five Wireless Operators of this Group broke W/T silence during the period 0114 to 0325. Their transmissions took the form of such senseless remarks as “INT WOP – HOW ARE YOU – BANG ON – IMI – GOOD SHOW – INT CUP OF TEA.”

What satisfaction these inane natterbugs got out of their efforts it is hard to see. The enemy, deprived of his usual means of detecting the stream, might easily have obtained bearings on these continuous transmissions, with the result that five brainless Operators would have been the direct cause of the loss of several Group aircraft and many of their comrades.

Despite energetic enquiry and investigation, it has not been possible – so far – to track down the culprits; they are obviously not the type who would own up. If they are found, however, they may rest assured that never again will they have the opportunity to jeopardise their comrades. That such incidents must never occur again has been made perfectly plain.

The Wireless Operators of 5 Group have had the privilege, since the attack on the Dams, of a fair amount of interesting W/T operating. This makes it all the more incomprehensible, therefore, that a few of them should adopt this culpable form of keybashing. It is known, however, that the vast majority of Wireless Operators are responsible men, who feel just as strongly about this “black” as does the C.S.O. It is hard that their good name should have been sullied by the action of so few, and all must now combine to ensure that such flagrant breaches of W/T discipline never occur again.

[Underlined] CONTROLLERS’ OPERATORS. [/underlined]

The hope expressed in last month’s summary that a healthy competition between Bases would develop, has now materialised. In fact, it is almost a full time job for one man at Group Headquarters to book and supervise these exercises. Signals Leader should note that many a good exercise is spoilt by failure of the Operators to pay attention to detail. Before an operator takes part in any of these exercises, he should know 5 G.S.I. No. 12 backwards. In this connection, the main points to watch are:-

(1) The number of times call signs should be sent.
(2) How often the text of a message should be repeated.

In next month’s issue, it is intended to publish a table showing the number of exercises completed by Bases.

[Underlined] REGRADING. [/underlined]

The Group Signals Leader examined a large number of wireless Operators during the month, and claimed he was more or less up to date on regrading before proceeding on leave. Perhaps it is not generally known that the main purpose of this leave was to see for the first time Gilmour Junior – of the ‘transmitter’ variety we believe. It is known, however, that during the past fortnight quite a formidable queue of W/Ops Grade II has been forming, and every endeavour will be made to deal with these as soon as possible.

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[Underlined] GROUP EXERCISES. [/underlined]

These have taken place regularly throughout the month, and the high standard of operating maintained. They still reveal, however, that morse practice and more morse practice is essential. It is hoped that the recent quiet spell has been taken advantage of in this connection.

[Underlined] SIGNALS FAILURES. [/underlined]

The Signals failure percentage continues to increase, the figure for September being 2.459. Over the past 3 months the percentage has risen steadily. On reading through the defects summary however, it can be seen that over 90% of the trouble is still attributable to component failures. The long spell of no maintenance faults has broken, one Squadron having no less than three such failures. There are still quite a number under the heading miscellaneous – the “remarks” column being “No fault found”. This type of alleged failure must stop. There were two manipulation failures which could easily have been avoided, in one case an incorrect VHF channel was selected, in the other, the type 51 Junction box switch was in the wrong position.

It is most gratifying to see that not one failure of VR.101, i.e. output valve V8, was reported throughout the month. It appears that the recent glut of V8 failures can be attributed either to faulty manufacture or wartime materials.

[Underlined] V.H.F. [/underlined]

There have been many essential changes in the V.H.F. policy during the past month, the reason being, an operation on HANDORF airfield, night 23/24th September, when very heavy FREYA interference was experienced on the TR.1143 equipment. This setback made it quite clear that the series noise limiting diode modification had to be carried out on all the new SCR.522 equipments prior to their debut into 5 Group Lancasters and Mosquitoes. The modification is quite simple, the only difficulty being the realigning of the four I.F. stages and all Squadrons not possessing a suitable 12 m/c oscillator. It was decided, therefore, that the Americans be asked to incorporate the modifications for us, and this they most willingly agreed to. The result is, at the time of going to press, only 35 of the 435 SCR.522’s held, now require to be modified.

For 100% suppression of all noise, it has also been found necessary to filter the 150 volt Dynamotor output with a 5 uf electrolytic 200 volts D.C.W. Capacitor. If this equipment is readily available through R.A.F. sources, in such a large quantity the modification will be carried out locally. Failing this the U.S. Air Force has again expressed willingness to assist.

[Underlined] NOISE SUPPRESSION MODIFICATION. SCR.522. [/underlined]

Briefly the Noise Limiting modification functions as follows:- A double diode is inserted in series with the output from the 2nd Detector, one section of the valve is biassed by a portion of the average D.C. voltage developed by this detector. When normal speech is being received, the bias is such as to allow the diode to conduct, i.e. the diode becomes a low impedance. When any pulse waveform is impressed on the incoming required signal the diode anode is biassed more negative and cuts off; hence it offers a high impedance to the interfering pulse. The other half of the valve holds the A.V.C. to zero until the average D.C. voltage developed by the A.V.C. diode exceeds the delay voltage. The A.V.C. voltage, after the modification, is derived from the primary of the last I.F. transformer. Changes are also made in the I.F. Grid circuits, to reduce cross modulation effects caused by the grid current as the result of high noise voltage pulses.


The story may now be told of the work done at Coningsby to improve the performance of MK.III H2S. During the latter half of July, it was decided that efforts should be made to improve the efficiency of our offensive Radar devices. Hs” MK.III was selected for particular attention, the main requirement was for an accurate Blind Bombing Instrument, and immediate steps were taken to improve MK.III H2S to enable it to perform this function. T.R.E. aided us in every way possible, to enable this commitment to be undertaken without impairing operational serviceability.

The greatest difficulty which had to be overcome was the tendency of the presentation on the screen to disintegrate or disappear at the shorter ranges. It was felt by T.R.E. that this was due to the inefficiency of the scanners, and therefore, scanners received the first attention. Those which had previously

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given the best results were carefully selected, and thorough checks made against specifications, at the same time the best Units of the equipment were subjected to a detailed and exacting overhaul for power output, tuning, and accurate calibration of height and range markers. When one complete installation had been fully tested in this manner, it was placed in an aircraft, and one of the most experienced crews commenced bombing trials on Wainfleet, and on several inland towns. The results obtained on these trials are compared here with results which were obtained previous to these experiments. The average error obtained at Wainfleet for 5 bombs was 316 yards as compared to a previous error of 1,193 yards. A second crew dropped 6 bombs with an average error of 1.6 miles with the ordinary Mk. III H 2 S equipment, and on using the improved equipment reduced this error to 800 yards. On inland towns the bombing results were similar to those on Wainfleet, an average error of 700 and 500 yards being obtained with the special equipment, whilst errors of 1,600 and 2,000 yards were obtained with the standard equipment.

It was decided from these figures that the experiments and improvements were making more accurate bombing possible, and a further 6 aircraft were similarly equipped, and the best Operators assigned to these aircraft. Further training and trials were carried out, and the results gave additional proof that the experiments were on the right road. The final assurance that all this concentration on improvements and selection of all Units and Operators was improving the bombing was soon forthcoming. The operations were conducted against Konigsberg, Darmstadt, Stuttgart, and Karlsruhe were most successful, the average error of the proximity markers being 550 yards.

These results do not by any means mark the successful conclusion of the experiments, but rather indicate that we are just beginning, and the coming few months will see an ever increasing improvement in both equipment and crews.

It is desired at this point to express our appreciation for the assistance which has been rendered by T.R.E. and H.Q.B.C. and for the close co-operation by all concerned at Coningsby without whose help none of this work would have been possible.

[Underlined] GEE. [/underlined]

Gee maintained its usual high standard of serviceability through September. Of the 2386 sorties reported for the month, 62 difficulties were experienced for a percentage serviceable of 97.4 as compared with 97.26 for August.

The supply of Gee remains a very critical problem, although the position has eased up slightly. The new aerial loading unit is apparently becoming available shortly, and a few have already been received in new aircraft. The supply of R.F. Units Type 27 has also improved and an effort is being made to fit all Squadrons completely in the near future.

A modification which enables the simultaneous presentation of signals and calibration pips on the screen has been submitted by 617 Squadron, and forwarded to Headquarters Bomber Command for approval.

[Underlined] H 2 S. [/underlined]

Although for obvious reasons the use of H 2 S Mark II was restricted this month, a total of 819 sorties was completed and out of these 90.7 per cent were free of technical difficulty. A switch unit which allows the equipment to be switched on and off at altitude has been developed by T.R.E. This should soon be in production.

H.2.S. Mark III is not so badly affected by this restriction, and during September, a total of 135 sorties was reported. Twelve difficulties were experienced, which brings serviceability back to 91.2 per cent, an increase of 2.3 above last month. The work which has been undertaken on the H.2.S. Mark III at Coningsby has served to familiarise the Radar Mechanics even more with the equipment, and the benefits thus derived should bring the serviceability to a much higher standard from day to day.

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[Underlined] MONICA. [/underlined]

Unfortunately Monica has had to be removed from all aircraft, but it is hoped only temporarily, pending the introduction of a modification developed by 53 Base and T.R.E. This modification is being pursued at T.R.E. with the assistance of a Radar Officer from this Group.

Before it was restricted, Monica IIIA reached its highest serviceability. Of the 139 sorties completed, only one defect was experienced, giving a percentage serviceable of 99.3. This provides a record which will require a great deal of effort if it is to be bettered on the re-installation of the equipment.

Monica V was, however, not far behind, for out of 99 sorties only one difficulty occurred, giving a serviceability of 99 per cent – another record which we will endeavour to equal.

[Underlined] FISHPOND. [/underlined]

Fishpond, due to the restriction on H 2 S, was also used to a lesser extent during September. Despite this, it rendered a very satisfactory service for 722 sorties out of 796 reported, a percentage of 90.7. Training of operators has increased the usefulness of the equipment, and every effort should be made to aid those operators in quickly interpreting the picture on the screen.

[Underlined] A. G. L. (T) [/underlined]

During the second week of September, A.G.L. (T) became operational and up to the end of the month 70 sorties had been completed. Of these, 20 developed difficulty which gives a percentage serviceable of 71.5. Nine of these defects were due to components in the A.G.L. (T) installation itself, whilst H 2 S, Fishpond and the power supply were responsible for the remaining eleven.

Although this standard of serviceability leaves a great deal to be desired, October should bring about an encouraging improvement, in view of the experience which has now been gained by servicing personnel. It is very gratifying to note the enthusiasm with which this new device has been received, on the part of both the air and ground crews. As it becomes increasingly familiar and serviceability steadily climbs, this enthusiasm will grow and the full benefit will be derived from it.

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The month of September has provided some excellent results from the attacks on German towns, and despite adverse weather conditions on one or two occasions the determination of crews provided better results than were, at first anticipated.

Incendiaries formed the greater part of the bomb loads, and the previous difficulties experienced in aiming the 4 lb I.B. have been largely overcome by the use of the new wind conversion factors for bombs of low T.V. However, it is still very necessary for Air Bombers to adhere strictly to the “delay release” times supplied at briefing, and Bombing Leaders must ensure that the importance of this is stressed.

Another point which cannot be stressed too often is the necessity for not dropping any bombs until either the Controller has given the order to bomb, or ‘H’ hour has arrived and no instructions have been received from the Controller. You will be briefed to adopt the latter alternative is it has been decided that there will be no orbiting in the target area. The reasons for these instructions should be apparent; the difficulties of the Mosquito markers are greatly increased if a few stray ‘cookies’ are dropping while they are searching for the marking point, and a load of 4 lb. I.B’s can be very dazzling to the low-flying markers.

The destruction of towns and cities behind the actual battle-front will have a direct effect upon the results of the hard battles which the ground forces will have to undertake soon. The enemy will be denied the use of his most essential means of transport, shelter for his reserves, and what remains of his armament production in the previously attacked areas. To achieve this, all Air Bomber must make sure that their bombs hit the areas they are intended for, and that means constant practice, a thorough knowledge of all equipment, and the ability to conform strictly to the plan of attack.

[Underlined] PRACTICE BOMBING. [/underlined]

Although the amount of practice bombing has increased considerably during the past six months, there is still a large number of details being cancelled because of snags which could have been avoided.

Now that the winter months are approaching, and opportunities for bombing will decrease, it is essential that the best advantage be taken of every chance to complete an exercise.

Quite a large number of faults which cause an abandonment of an exercise could have been prevented if the air bomber had thoroughly checked his equipment before take-off.

First of all make certain that the auto-selector box on the Light series carrier has been reset to No.1. The ground crew will usually attend to that, but there are occasions when it has been missed.

Examine the bombs and change any that have damaged tail fins. At the same time see that the safety pins have been withdrawn.

Test your bombsight on the ground and make sure that you have an emergency computor [sic]. In the event of a bombsight failure you can still derive some benefit from the exercise.

[Underlined] BOMBING ANALYSIS. [/underlined]

The provision of Bombing Analysis Officers on Squadrons and Conversion Units has proved of great value during the past few months, ensuring speedy

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assessment of exercises and the abolition of inevitable errors which occurred when Bombing Leaders were unable to devote sufficient time to this very important duty.

However, there are still one or two points not receiving the attention required:-

(i) Crews must be given a detailed analysis of their exercises. It is not always possible to have the Pilot, Navigator and Air Bomber present during the actual analysis, but they should see the plot as soon as possible.

(ii) Form 3073 must be completed, and the details supplied must be accurate. It will then afford the Analysis Officer, and the Bombsight Maintenance Staff, the maximum amount of assistance. It should be possible for the Squadron Commander to pick up a Form 3073 relating to an analysed exercise and thereby obtain a complete account of the bombing and any relevant comments from the Bombing Leader.

(iii) Do not forget that new crews have had very little experience in bombing from a Lancaster, and an accurate analysis will be of the greatest assistance to them.

(iv) When a bombsight fault has been discovered, inform the Instrument Section [underlined] immediately, [/underlined] and give them all the information you can. If necessary, produce the bomb plot and explain the errors. The Bombsight maintenance staff will appreciate all the assistance you can give them.

[Underlined] AIR BOMBERS’ QUIZ [/underlined]

1. What action would you take if you obtained maximum starboard drift on the sighting head with zero wind set on the computor [sic]?

2. What is the procedure on landing at a strange airfield with 500 lb bombs (37 pistol) still on the aircraft?

3. Why is it essential to conform to the briefed air speed when making a “Wanganui” attack?

4. How does the Flight Engineer check the suction and what readings would you require to ensure that the bombsight was serviceable?

[Underlined] BOMBING LEADERS’ CORNER [/underlined]

[Underlined] S/Ldr Mansbridge [/underlined] has left Group Headquarters and is now on a Staff Officers’ Course.

[Underlined] F/Lt Abbott [/underlined] (49 Squadron) is carrying out Group Bombing Leader’s duties.

[Underlined] S/Ldr Murtough [/underlined] (53 Base) has gone to Manby to take charge of the Bombing Leaders’ Courses.

[Underlined] F/Lt McCarthy [/underlined] (1654 C.U.) has gone to 53 Base and has been replaced by [underlined] F/Lt Kennedy [/underlined] (463 Squadron)

[Underlined] F/O Grime [/underlined] is doing Bombing Leader’s duties at 463 Squadron.

[Underlined] F/Lt Harris [/underlined] (5 L.F.S.) has met with an unfortunate accident, and [underlined] F/O Wilkie [/underlined] (1661 C.U.) has taken over the Bombing Section at Syerston.

[Underlined] COURSES [/underlined]

The Group had three Air Bombers on No.91 Bombing Leaders’ Course, F/O Moreton (106 Squadron) was 6th, P/O Muhl (207 Squadron) 8th, and F/O Pyle (1661 C.U.) 10th, all obtaining “B” categories.

The bombing analysis courses are proceeding satisfactorily, and our

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candidates have all received excellent assessments. If any Squadron or Conversion Unit has not appointed a Bombing Analysis Officer who has completed the course, please apply for an early vacancy.

[Underlined] SQUADRON BOMBING COMPETITION [/underlined]

[Underlined] Squadron Average Error [/underlined]

1st 97 61 yards
2nd 630 64 yards
3rd 619 71 yards
4th 83 74 yards
5th 467 77 yards
6th 207 81 yards
7th 9 89 yards
8th 49 90 yards
9th 463 93 yards
10th 61 113 yards
11th 44 114 yards
12th 50 117 yards
13th 57 118 yards
14th 122 yards

September has produced a 100% entry in the Squadron Bombing Competition and 97 Squadron are at the top with an average error, for 8 exercises, of 61 yards.

This is an excellent result and 97 are to be congratulated, more especially as quite a lot of their bombing was carried out by Flight Engineers.

With the exception of 619 Squadron, 52 Base have slipped down the ladder, but assurances have been received from 44 and 49 Squadrons that this is only a temporary lapse, and every effort will be made to return to their former positions.

106 Squadron are handicapped by having many unexperienced crews on their strength and consequently are at the bottom of the list. However, the keenness which is apparent on the station is sure to produce better results.

Competition should be very keen during October; 97 Squadron will be ‘all out’ to keep on top, and it will need a very special effort from the “Main Force” to depose them. Given suitable weather, all records should be broken.


[Underlined] Con. Unit Average Error [/underlined]

1st 1654 56 yards
2nd 1660 65 yards
3rd 1661 72 yards
4th 5 L.F.S. 85 yards

1661 Conversion Unit, after leading for two successive months, have gone down to third place, and 1654 Conversion Unit have taken over the top position with an average error of 56 yards.

[Underlined] “BIGCHIEF” COMPETITION [/underlined]

The only entry this month comes from 51 Base:-

G/Capt Coats (Swinderby) – 103 yards

[Underlined] “LEADER” COMPETITION [/underlined]

This competition has only produced one entrant also:-

F/Lt Foulkes (630 Squadron) – 158 yards

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[Underlined] HIGH LEVEL BOMBING PRACTICE [/underlined]

[Table of High Level Bombing Practice Errors by Squadron and Conversion Unit]

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

Wainfleet plotted 4945 bombs and 111 T.I’s dropped from 921 aircraft.

It is obvious that the Range staff have had a busy time, and to ensure accurate plotting, crews must conform to range procedure.

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

[Underlined] S/Ldr Wonham [/underlined] (55 Base) extends a hearty welcome to 44 and 619 Squadrons. The rivalry between the Squadrons, on Practice Bombing matters, is very keen and errors have shown a steady decrease during the past few months.

[Underlined] F/Lt Foulkes [/underlined] (630 Squadron) has equipped an excellent Bombing Analysis room. Points concerning Bombing, which need stressing, are emphasised by humorous cartoons, and the room itself is kept very clean and tidy.

[Underlined] CREW CATEGORIES [/underlined]

[Table of Crew Categories by Base]

* Excluding 617 and 627 Squadrons.

A+ 85 yards or less.
A 140 yards or less.
B 210 yards or less.
C 280 yards or less.
D Over 280 yards.

The number of “D” category crews has decreased from 41 in August, to 15 for this month. This is a considerable improvement, but it is not good enough – there should be no “D” crews on an Operational Squadron, and Bombing Leaders must give careful attention to these errors.



9 F/O Marsh F/O Carr - 78
44 P/O Evans Sgt Harper F/S Hunter 73
49 F/O Furber F/S Gentleman F/O Hassell 75
50 F/S Wonders F/S Earle F/S Minchin 79
97 F/O Woolnough W/O Shearwood F/O Haggerston 57
F/L Shorter F/S Betts P/O Aveline 57 – 79
467 F/O Jones F/S Burns F/S Michelmore 74
617 F/L Knights F/O Rogers F/O Playford 74
F/O Levy F/S Peck F/O Fox 78
F/O Stout F/O Rupert F/O Graham 59
F/O Joplin F/S Hebbard F/S Fish 70
F/L Hamilton F/O Rogers P/O Jackson 72
F/O Leavitt Sgt Oldham F/O Withams 73
619 F/O Cottman F/S Coster F/S Murray 71
1654 F/O Gray F/O Aitken Sgt Adams 62
F/O Denton F/O Goebel Sgt Kneebone 77
F/O Brammer Sgt White W/O Davies 69
P/O Dockworth F/S Quealy F/S Kenward 43
F/O Langridge F/O Cavanagh F/S Diggins 65

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1660 P/O Le Marquand Sgt Bowen Sgt Ransom 56
Sgt Sargent Sgt Walters F/S Symes 67
Sgt Keen Sgt Hurst Sgt Fidler 62
Lt Evenson Sgt BJorcy P/O Carling 61
P/O Penman F/S Dash P/O Pointon 78
F/S Cox F/S Smitherwaite Sgt Taylor 68
F/O Downing F/O Harrison P/O Semark 64
Lt Howes Sgt Johnston F/O Butterfield 78
1661 F/S Wonders F/S Earle F/S Minchin 78
F/O James Sgt Longhurst P/O Jeffreys 70
F/O Gillegin Sgt Jenden Sgt Elliott 58
P/O Smith F/S Scott F/O Sweeney 77
F/O Caryer F/O Arnett P/O Grassie 71
5 L.F.S. P/O Aryton Sgt Herkes F/S Bardsley 65
P/O Le Marquand Sgt Bowers Sgt Ransom 78

Owing to the large number of crew errors below 100 yards, it is only possible to publish those below 80 yards. Congratulations are due to F/L Shorter and crew (97 Squadron), F/S Wonders and crew (50 Squadron) and P/O Le Marquand and crew (now of 49 Squadron) for their consistently good bombing during the month.

[Underlined] THE “LORD CAMROSE” BOMBING TROPHY [/underlined]

The “Lord Camrose” trophy remains at Skellingthorpe for another three months.

50 Squadron’s average crew error for the months of July, August and September is 148 yards at 20,000 feet. Well done 50 Squadron!

463 Squadron are the runners up with an average error of 153 yards at 20,000 feet.

[Underlined] PRACTICE BOMBING. [/underlined]

The complete summary of practice bombing results for the month of September provides some very interesting facts and comparisons.

The number of bombs dropped is the best ever, and 9 Squadron are to be congratulated on their magnificent effort in dropping 789. However, it will be noted that 61 Squadron dropped only 96 and assuming the Squadron strength to be 25 crews, that gives an average of 4 bombs per crew for one month. This compares unfavourably with the other Squadrons in the same Base, and it is essential that crews have the maximum amount of bombing training permitted by operational commitments and weather conditions.

Crew errors have declined slightly this month, the average being 9 yards less than that of August. This is a step in the right direction and it is hoped that there will be a steady reduction in errors until we can get our average error down to less than 150 yards. It can be done, 50 Squadron have proved it by obtaining an average crew error of 148 yards for the last three months.

The number of bombsight errors has increased from 42 in August to 90 in September, but the proportion of bombsight errors to exercises completed remains the same. Close co-operation between the Bombing Analysis Officer and the Instrument Section will help to bring bombsight serviceability up to a satisfactory level.

Our practice bombing has improved considerably during the past six months, from 275 to 183 yards at 20,000 feet and this improvement is apparent in the results of the attacks on German targets. However, it is possible to reach an even higher standard of accuracy but it means constant practice on the part of every member of the bombing team.

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Almost all attacks this month have been on German objectives and navigators have done a good job on these longer range targets. Radar restrictions have necessitated flying considerable distances outside Gee range, and with winter approaching we must be prepared to fly even greater distances on D.R. alone. To achieve the high standard of navigation necessary for correct timing at the target, your D.R. navigation must be as sound and as complete as possible.

Mathematical accuracy, constant checking of D.R. positions and constant w/v checks, are the keynote of efficient D.R. navigation. Unfortunately very few navigators comply with all these points, and cases still occur of navigators not obtaining one D.R. position between their last Gee fix and the target.

Timing has been stressed frequently but on the coming long range operations it will be of paramount importance. By comparing forecast winds with winds found it is nearly always possible after the first hour’s flying to tell whether the aircraft will arrive at the target on time or not. If no moveable zero hour is being employed, then the earlier you can adjust your air speed, the easier it will be for you to arrive at the target at your scheduled time. During the winter months of last year it was not unusual to experience a spread of 15 – 20 minutes in the time over the target or along the route. With the concentration of enemy defences YOU CANNOT afford to fly in a bomber stream some 60 miles in length.

[Underlined] WIND FINDING. [/underlined]

The broadcast wind velocity scheme has not been used this month. Crews detailed to find correct bombing winds have put in some very good work, however, particular mention being due to 49 Squadron on the night 26/27th (Karlsruhe).

[Underlined] EXAMPLE OF GOOD “PILOT” NAVIGATION. [/underlined]

On the night of 27/28th September, 1944 (Kaiserlauten) F/O Nunns, Pilot of 630 Squadron gave an excellent example of “Pilot” Navigation. His aircraft was hit by flak on the return journey when some 150 miles inside France. He ordered the crew to abandon aircraft and was about to bale out himself when he managed to regain control. He decided to bring the aircraft back to base himself. Levelling out the aircraft and putting in “George” he went back to the navigator’s compartment and studied the log and chart carefully. From the information on the chart he was able to ascertain the aircraft’s present approximate position, and from the flight plan the courses to steer to reach base and the times on each leg. He flew the courses stated for the requisite amount of time and (strangely enough!) reached the base area. He was able to identify the beacons en route from the navigator’s flimsy and was thus able to “map read” the last few miles to base by this method.

This was a great effort and praise is due to both the pilot and also to his navigator who must have kept a complete and tidy chart to enable F/O Nunns to reach base the way he did.

[Underlined] CATEGORISATION OF NAVIGATORS. [/underlined]

During the month of August it was decided to categorise navigators. Navigation does not lend itself easily to categorisation, mainly because it is impossible to lay down a procedure which will cater for every eventuality. It therefore will depend upon common sense and judgement of navigation officers.

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[Underlined] NAVIGATION ANALYSIS OFFICERS. [/underlined]

It is essential that all navigator’s operational logs and charts are thoroughly analysed immediately after each raid, and the results of that analysis made known to the navigation team as soon as possible, so that mistakes made will not be repeated. The analysis of logs and charts has always been the responsibility of Station and Squadron Navigation Officers; the present frequency of operations makes this an impossible task. It has therefore been decided to appoint one Navigation Analysis Officer to each Squadron, whose whole time duty it will be to analyse very thoroughly each log and chart.

By these appointments it is hoped to bring to light the errors and omissions of each navigator within 24 hours of completing a sortie. The Station Navigation Officer will thus be able to point out to each Navigator the “error of his ways” immediately, and will thus ensure that the mistake is not repeated.

Navigation Officers have a very big job in front of them and much hard work will be required.

[Underlined] APPROACH OF WINTER – WHAT IT MEANS! [/underlined]

Apart from all the well-known discomforts, the approach of winter means that OLD MAN WIND – the Navigator’s greatest enemy – will start hitting out again in force and will do all he can to land you in mischief. Low pressure systems are more prevalent in winter time, and therefore stronger winds have to be combated. Longer range targets means passing over territory which cannot at the moment, be too well explored by the Met. man, therefore you may pass over a front with a consequent wind change or run into a low pressure system which has not been forecast by the Met. Section. All this means that every individual Navigator must have a very thorough understanding of wind system. He must be able to interpolate for wind changes and must anticipate any sudden change of wind velocity. In last month’s summary attention was drawn to the Berlin raid of last Winter. We do not want this to happen again.

Get to know the wind system; visit the Met. man regularly and discuss the subject with him. Station and Squadron Navigation Officers should arrange constant lectures on this subject for the benefit of their Navigators. Wind is your biggest enemy.

[Underlined] O.R.S. INFORMATION. [/underlined]

A word about the O.R.S. information which is taken from you at interrogation. Numerous instances are occurring of incorrect information being forwarded to Group Headquarters. For example, an aircraft’s position is given as 4720N when it should be 4920N. These inaccuracies are obvious but other smaller inaccuracies are not so obvious. The concentration diagrams prepared from this information do not present a true picture of the situation, also many statistics prepared by O.R.S. are equally inaccurate and are therefore of no value.

All this O.R.S. information is collected and collated for your benefit and ultimate safety so do make sure that you give the CORRECT information and SEE that the Interrogator logs it correctly.

[Underlined] ATTACK ON TIRPITZ. [/underlined]

Navigators of 9 and 617 Squadrons had an opportunity during the month of showing their skill as “real” Navigators. The occasion was the attack on Tirpitz in Northern Waters and the landing at advanced bases in Russia. This operation, undertaken under difficult weather conditions and in total darkness, called for a very high standard of Navigation. It was anticipated that Gee would be received as far as 63° or 64°N; this was in fact correct. The remaining 1,000 miles over enemy occupied territory and enemy waters had to be tackled without the aid of Radar fixing facilities. Map reading was of course the most accurate method of fixing available, but this was very difficult over mountainous country studded with lakes and rivers. Nevertheless Air Bombers did some excellent work. Good use was also made of drifts

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and astro shots. Unfortunately the low pressure system which could not be accurately positioned by Met., was encountered over the most difficult part of the route. This meant that winds became much stronger than forecast and also a considerable lowering of cloud base. Nevertheless, practically all the Navigators noted this sudden strengthening and varying of the wind velocity and were able to combat it successfully.

It was anticipated that a little trouble might be experienced with the P4 Compasses in these Northern latitudes. Every precaution was therefore taken before the aircraft left this country, compasses were swung and as much deviation was removed before take-off for this operation. It was gratifying to note, however, that not one single instance of compass failure or excessive deviation occurred.

The Air Bombers and Navigators of 9 and 617 Squadrons did an excellent job on this operation, under the most difficult conditions. They brought back with them much valuable information on the performance of compasses, Northern chain Gee range at varying heights etc. – information which will be of considerable importance in the planning of future operations.

[Underlined] PRACTICE BOMBING W/VS [/underlined]

The average vector error obtained by all Squadrons and Conversion Units this month is shown below.

Average Error of Squadrons – 4.7
Average Error of C. Units – 5.0

These figures show an improvement for the Squadrons of 1.8 m.p.h. and for the Conversion Units of 1.6 m.p.h. This is excellent and the ideal overall average of 5 m.p.h. has been reached. Let us now try and reduce this ideal over-all to 4 m.p.h.

[Table of Vector Error by Squadron and Conversion Unit]

It will be noted that 9 and 50 Squadrons are holding two of the first three places for the fourth month is succession. A very creditable performance. There still appears to be little improvement in the errors obtained by the three Squadrons from 54 Base. Come along now, let us see them at the top of the list next month.

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[Underlined] UNION NEWS [/underlined]

S/Ldr. Mould, DFC – Base Nav. Officer, Scampton to be Base Nav. Officer, Syerston.

S/Ldr. Bray, DFC – Station Nav. Officer, Dunholme to be Station Nav. Officer, Strubby.

S/Ldr. Warwick, DFC – Base Navigation Officer, Coningsby missing on operations.



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[Drawing] RADAR NAV.

[Underlined] H 2 S [/underlined]

The most outstanding feature regarding 2 S this month has been the severe restrictions placed upon its use for operations.

It is realised that with these restrictions of H 2 S, navigation is bound to suffer slightly, particularly during the autumn months as no one can be too certain of the ranges on Gee. Operators must therefore make the best of the limited use of H 2 S on each operation. This Headquarters will welcome any ideas on how to obtain maximum efficiency from H 2 S during the limited periods it is available.

There are one or two points regarding the restrictions which must be stressed at the present time. Firstly, operators, if they are allowed to use H 2 S on any part of the flight, must make sure that it is switched on below 6,000 feet or else circuit breakdowns may occur. Secondly, close watch must be maintained on the scanner position when turned off, as wander is likely particularly during tactical manoeuvres.

It must be pointed out that despite restrictions on H 2 S on operations, no relaxation in training can be allowed and every effort must be made to see that operators remain proficient in its use. Experiments are being carried out to develop some kind of sector scan and if successful, operators may be able to make use of H 2 S throughout the whole flight. Sector scan requires a high standard of proficiency in H 2 S particularly in the interpretation of the P.P.I., and although training in sector can cannot be given at the moment, operators may do well to bear the problem in mind.

Experiments are also going ahead with the Mark II H 2 S scanner to try and improve the bombing picture on the P.P.I. This is being done by altering the pitch of the scanner to concentrate the beam and alter the polar diagram. If successful it may be possible to modify other Mark II equipment gradually. This will only be done if the range is not seriously restricted and its navigational use is not affected.

Blind bombing technique in the Group has developed further in the past few weeks and considerable success has been obtained by 83 and 97 Squadrons on the last few operations. To indicate the high standard which these two Squadrons have attained, a resume’ of their flare and blind marking errors on operations is given.

[Underlined] KOENIGSBERG. 26/27 AUGUST, 1944. [/underlined]

This was the first operation on which the specially selected H 2 S Mark III equipment was used and F/Lt. Baker, Blind Marker crew of 97 Squadron dropped his marker 400 yds. south of the Aiming Point. Had the whole attack been based on this marker it might have been slightly more successful.

[Underlined] KOENIGSBERG. 29/30th AUGUST, 1944. [/underlined]

An extremely successful operation with the centre of the blind illuminating flares being plotted extremely close to the centre of the town. The blind proximity marker released by a crew of 97 Squadron was reported 600 yds. south of the aiming point although no photograph was obtained.

[Underlined] DARMSTADT. 11/12th SEPTEMBER, 1944. [/underlined]

An excellent operation with highly successful blind illumination

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provided by 83 and 97 Squadrons. The direct release method of marking and blind bombing was used and photographs gave the following results:-

F/LT. HIGGS 97 SQUADRON 1,300 yds.
F/O EATON 97 SQUADRON 1,300 yds.
F/O SIMPSON 97 SQUADRON 1,300 yds.
F/LT. BAKER 97 SQUADRON 1.75 n.m.

[Underlined] STUTTGART. 12/13th SEPTEMBER, 1944. [/underlined]

Blind marking was carried out by the direct release method with a G.P.I. check from PFORZHEIM. The following successful results were obtained:-

F/LT. AMES 97 SQUADRON 600 yds. From Town Centre.
F/LT. HIGGS 97 SQUADRON 1,000yds. From Town Centre.
F/LT. SHORTER 97 SQUADRON 2,500 yds From Town Centre.
F/O. SIMPSON 97 SQUADRON 2,500 yds. From Town Centre.
F/LT. LAING 97 SQUADRON 2,500 yds. From Town Centre.

[Underlined] BREMERHAVEN 18/19th SEPTEMBER, 1944. [/underlined]

A most successful sortie. Of the Primary Blind Markers F/Lt. Kelly of 83 Squadron dropped his T.Is. 500 yds. from the Aiming Point whilst F/Lt. Laing and F/Lt. Lines of 97 Squadron both had errors of less than 1 nautical mile. The Flare Force too was remarkably accurate, illuminating the target area to such effect that the Mosquito aircraft had no difficulty in marking the Aiming Point. The Flare Force photographs showed that F/O Gamble, 83 Squadron, F/O Price, 83 Squadron and F/O Canever of 97 Squadron had Aiming Points, whilst S/Ldr. Hatcher had an error of 1,400 yds.

[Underlined] MUNCHEN GLADBACH 19/20th SEPTEMBER, 1944. [/underlined]

Technical failures prevented the plotting of many flare force photographs, but P.R.U. cover shows considerable damage in the target area, proving that the flare force illumination was of its usual high order.

[Underlined] KARLSRUHE. [/underlined]

Cloud prevented the plotting of photographs, but P.R.U. cover shows very extensive damage in the most closely built up area of the town. P.P.I. photographs indicate that the accuracy of the blind markers was to the order of 1,000 yds. and 400 yds. respectively.

[Underlined] KAIDERSLAUTERN. [/underlined]

Using the direct release method with a G.P.I. check on SAABRUCKEN, W/C. Ingham of 83 Squadron dropped his flares 1,500 yards, F/Lt. Edwards, 83 Squadron 1.3 miles and F/O Simpson 1.25 miles respectively from the flare aiming point. By this illumination, the low level Mosquitos were able to mark the target accurately.

Great credit is due to the two marking Squadrons for the success obtained on these operations. The majority of the results were obtained on the specially selected and tuned up sets thus proving that not only have crews to be selected, but also the equipment. In addition, the results have been obtained only through particularly extensive training, and the enthusiasm of the crews carrying it out.

If we are to maintain these excellent results, the two squadrons must be provided with crews of a suitable type; Crews selected are carrying on high tradition and are directly responsible for the success of all future operations.

[Underlined] P.P.I. PHOTOGRAPHY. [/underlined]

The standard of P.P.I. photography has been raised slightly during the month and several good photographs have been received at this Headquarters. F/Lt. Dobbie of 97 Squadron obtained an excellent photograph

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of KAISERLAUTERN when on the operation to KARLSRUHE. This was of considerable assistance to set operators in their identification of this target on a later raid.

Very little gardening has been carried out this month. But so far the results received are up to the usual 5 Group standard. A paper on the plotting od H 2 S mining photographs has been received and copies are being sent to the gardening squadrons for their attention. This report supplements the report S.121 on the plotting of “Y” photographs and is based on data from No. 4 and 6 Groups who have carried out the majority of H 2 S gardening sorties.

[Underlined] GEE. [/underlined]

Increased importance has been placed on the use of Gee this month due to the restrictions placed on the use of H 2 S. Thus the necessity for that very last fix is again well to the forefront. Operators must make every effort to read through the jamming and make maximum use of position lines where fixes cannot be obtained.

On the majority of operations during the month a considerable increase in ranges have been noticed due to the swift advance of the allied armies, capturing large areas of country in which Gee jamming equipment was sited. This at once extended the ranges obtainable over France and Belgium to the limits of the territory held, but no marked improvement was shown further north where enemy interference in Holland and N. West Germany, though varying in intensity from day to day, was nearly always at maximum intensity when heavy bombers were operating.

On the Eastern Chain it has been noted that the enemy has transferred a considerable amount of his jamming to the 27 unit and that greater range is being obtained on the Unit 25. Weakness of pulses only restricts range on the Unit 25.

The average range on the North Eastern Chain has been stabilised at about 6°E with the limiting factor being the weakness of the “A” pulse.

The Southern Chain appears to be giving the best results now that German jamming has ceased with fixes as far as 7°E. These ranges may drop during the Autumn due to meteorological conditions. The limiting factor on this chain appears to be the weakness of the “C” pulse.

There have been few reports on the Channel chain, but it would appear that the limits of its coverage are between 5 and 6° with little jamming. The general complaint on the use of this chain are that the topographical lattice maps suppled are unsuited for heavy bomber navigation.

Two Squadrons had the opportunity of using the Northern Chain at its extreme limits this month. The flight was carried out at low level and signals were received as far as 64 °N, but the small cut of the lattice lines did not enable fixes to be plotted accurately at that range. These results were as much as expected, and confirm the reports of Costal [sic] Command who do the most flying in that area.

The low level at which we are now flying over France may restrict Gee range somewhat but it is thought that the short ranges obtained by navigators on the operation on KAISERLAUTERN was due to the poor propagation properties of the atmosphere. These properties are most noticeable during the months of October and November, and it may well be that our Gee range on the present chains may be restricted to 5°E throughout these months.

However, to counteract this we have news of further chains which are being provided on the Continent and as soon as information is received at this Headquarters it will be passed to Squadrons.

[Underlined] LORAN. [/underlined]

Tests are still being carried out by Bomber Command as to the suitability of the use of the Homing and S.S. Chains for Bomber Command Navigation.

Until the results of these tests are known no action is being taken regarding the training of navigators.

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Large number of movements have taken place or about to take place which are liable to upset calculations, but it is apparent that the operational effort has not suffered as a result. 52 Base is about to leave the Group complete with R.A.F. Stations, Scampton, Fiskerton and Dunholme. The good work which we associate with such stations will now be associate with other stations within the Group. 55 Base now comprises as many squadrons as 53 Base, i.e. five full squadrons each, and No. 5 L.F.S., Syerston, comes within a Base Organisation.

[Underlined] OPERATIONAL DEFECTS. [/underlined]

The operational effort was not quite so high as the previous month, but the aircraft were available had the weather given us a fair chance. The percentage of operational failures due to Engineer faults was 0.94 which is an improvement on the previous months. Out of this total, 0.24% were abortive sorties and 0.7% were early returns. Special mention must be made to No. 54 Base as a whole and they are given the ‘Big Hand’ for producing the record of having no operational failures due to matters concerning the Engineers during September. 49 Squadron also are to be congratulated for similar reasons.

[Underlined] MAINTENANCE – 5 GROUP SERVICING SECTION [/underlined]

Appreciation of the efforts of No. 5 Group Servicing Section is recorded and the good work which is carried out by them under very often difficult conditions. C.T.O’s should realise the personal problems and difficulties of these mobile parties which are moved about at a moment’s notice to wherever the ‘shoe pinches’ within the Group. The sum total of the work carried out by these few men during the last four months comprises eight Major Inspections, thirty initial checks and 120 rebuilt power plants. During September two gangs were in operation as Major Inspection gangs solely for the first time, and their activities within the Group are apparent. Apart from the above work, four base hydraulic bays have been completed, two during the last four months. The instrument personnel have built and installed 110 second pilot’s instrument panels in Stirling aircraft of Conversion Units during the last three months.

[Underlined] FORMS 765C. [/underlined]

The remarks by the Specialist Officer concerned at para. 11 of the 765C are still far too brief and in many cases incomplete, and invariably give no indication whether relevant modifications are embodied or not. It is pointed out once more that care and thought in rendering Forms 765C will prove of assistance in attempting to establish the cause of failures and recommending action for preventing recurrences of such failures.

[Underlined] INSTRUMENTS AND ELECTRICAL. [/underlined]

Bombsight maintenance continues at a high standard throughout the Group, and accuracy of a high order is being achieved, mainly due to the effective liaison existing between Electrical Officers and Bombing Leaders. Bombing Analysis courses are now open to Base Electrical Officers, and two have, up to the time of writing, completed the course. The course has proved very valuable in assisting Electrical Officers in diagnosing the causes of bombing errors, particularly instrument errors, and we can now look forward to an even higher standard of accuracy. As it will be a long time before all Electrical Officers will be able to attend the course Base Electrical Officers should instruct their junior officers in the art of analysing a bombing plot.

Mk.XIVA bombsights are now arriving in large numbers and the Group Instrument Servicing Van is having a busy time in instructing personnel in

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the differences between the XIV and the XIVA. The new computor [sic] is not all that could be desired, the great majority of them (about 95%) needing retuning or the replacing of defective parts, and are generally requiring about twice the number of man hours to rectify. The matter has been taken up with higher authority and it is hoped that results of our ‘moans’ will soon be evident. In the meantime a thorough check must be given to every computor [sic] and 1022 action taken in every case of faulty design, or workmanship.

A word or two regarding defect action would not come amiss. Far too many defective items of equipment are being returned to stores without 1022 or 1023 action being taken. It must be impressed again on all officers that it is only by taking the correct official procedure that rectification action can be taken. It is of no earthly use just to tell the Group Specialist Officer that such and such is giving trouble if there is no 1022 backing. The Group Specialist Officer of course wants to know what is giving trouble but any report that he may make will be shot down if it is not supported by a 1022. A case in point concerns the low insulation of gun heaters. Only two cases have been reported to Command out of the hundred or so which have occurred. So let us have some more 1022’s.

After putting in a considerable amount of work in their respective sections the Electrical and Instrument personnel of 52 Base have had to evacuate their quarters and move to Syerston and start again from scratch. No doubt their experience will serve them well in producing even better sections.

Command Modification No. 74 is now completed throughout the Group and a word of praise must be given to those men who formed the Group pool to produce the modified bomb aimer’s panels. They worked long hours and did an excellent job of work. All Bases were represented so they will each have a good man to start their own modification gang cracking.

[Underlined] TRAINING UNIT SERVICEABILITY [/underlined]

[Table of Training Unit Serviceability]

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Many applications have been made in the past by Flight Engineers to change over to Transport Command; This Command is now prepared to accept Flight Engineers for flying duties provided they have completed two operational tours and one tour of instructional duties. Flight Engineers who are eligible should make application through the usual channels at their unit.

Log keeping has improved throughout this Group, but it is noticed that many engineers do not record atmospheric temperatures and airframe serial letter and numbers; this has been pointed out before. Flight Engineer Leaders must insist that this omission is remedied.

Defect reports still come through showing the cause as manipulation trouble on the part of the Flight Engineer, in many cases these result in a cancellation or early return. Points for the Flight Engineer Leader to instruct on are as follows:-

[Underlined] Starter Motor burnt out: [/underlined] if correct drill had been used this would have been avoided.

[Underlined] Overheating of Engines: [/underlined] early returns are made because of supposed overheating; on examination, these temperatures prove to be within the engine limitations.

[Underlined] Misbehaviour of Engines: [/underlined] black smoke from exhaust; on this trip other crews reported same conditions but attributed this to atmospheric conditions on flying through cloud. Had this Flight Engineer checked all his gauges he would have been able to inform his Captain that engines were quite normal and this early return would have been avoided.

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With the liberation of countries in Western Europe, the flow back to England of aircrew who have been shot down is increasing – not only in numbers, but in speed. It is strongly rumoured that one, who was shot down on the outward trip, managed, with the assistance of a jeep and a flip from Paris, to arrive back before the Main Force!

These evaders tell amazing stories – some are good and reveal level-headedness, fine crew discipline and a sound knowledge of Safety Drills. Others are the reverse, and the following extracts from reports by 5 Group aircrew tell their own story.

[Underlined] Crew shot down on 6th June, 1944. [/underlined]

“The executive order was “We’ve been hit kids, get out”.

“My parachute was only fixed by the right buckle”.

“Informant had known for some time that the left clip was loose, but had neglected to have it repaired”.

[Underlined] Crew shot down on 24/25th July, 1944. [/underlined]

“The executive order was “Get to Hell out of this as quickly as possible”.

“The informant did not leave his turret (Mid-Upper) very speedily as he experienced some difficulty in locating the footbar”.

[Underlined] Crew shot down on 3/4th May, 1944. [/underlined]

“The W/Op noticed as he passed, that the Navigator’s altimeter was reading 1,000 feet. He therefore pulled his rip cord while still in the aircraft. He gathered the canopy in his arms and went out head first, receiving a kick on the behind from the pilot”.

[Cartoon] DO YOU KNOW YOUR DRILLS? – OR DO [underlined] YOU [/underlined] HAVE TO BE KICKED OUT?? N.M.

[Underlined] Crew shot down on 7/8th August, 1944. [/underlined]

“The Mid Upper Gunner was moving so quickly that he overshot the exit and fell against the rear turret. He returned with some difficulty to the exit, which he opened. He then took his parachute from his stowage and fastened it on”.

“The pilot had to go back from his seat for his parachute which the Navigator had failed to give him”.

[Underlined] CHECK YOUR ESCAPE HATCH! [/underlined]

There have been too many incidents where the front hatch has

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jammed or taken a long time to open. The Air Bomber’s pre-flight drill calls for a check on this hatch. A check does not mean that the Air Bomber looks to see that the hatch is there, but means that he is to check its ease of release and that it is correctly fastened afterwards.

The parachute drill (5 Group Aircraft Drills) states that the hatch is to be JETTISONED, not pulled up inside the aircraft where it is liable to obstruct the exit.


An unfortunate incident occurred during the month when a Hurricane Pilot, not wearing his own parachute, collided with a Martinet and was forced to abandon his aircraft.

The pilot did not get clear until he was at about 3,000 ft. and, although he pulled the rip cord immediately, he was killed on impact with the ground.

An examination of the parachute harness also showed that it was far too loose for the wearer.

Each member of air-crew flying fighters or bombers, must check his parachute for serviceability and fitting before every flight.

[Underlined] EVASION [/underlined]

No less than 25 aircrew of No. 50 Squadron, missing since the beginning of May, are reported to have evaded capture and returned safely to this country.

Successful evasion depends upon:

(i) Your will to evade.

(ii) Your physical fitness.

(iii) An up to date knowledge of the military situation.

(iv) the latest advice which your Intelligence Officer will give you.

Consider these things beforehand and avoid Dulag Luft.

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The total number of failures on Night Photography has decreased to 5.93%. Failures on Day Photography amount to 4.07%. The decrease over the previous month in respect of Night Photography has occurred chiefly on the Armament side. The prevailing target conditions, when smoke from incendiary loads obscured the target, has made it impossible in many cases to determine whether a flash has or has not exploded correctly. This is a recurrence of conditions which existed during last winter. Manipulation failures have shown an increase in the last two months, in 83 and 97 Squadrons. In the past this type of failure has been very low in this Group, and it is to be hoped that the steps now being taken by the Bombing Leaders will eliminate them in these two Squadrons.

The supply of High Speed Night Film has now materially increased and Squadrons are to use this film on all operations. In view of the fact that we are now entering a period of the year when light conditions will often be poor, the use of this film will help to ensure sufficient exposure. It will, of course, save a lot of magazine reloading.

The supply of H 2 S cameras has grown considerably during the past month and promises to continue doing so. These cameras are not constructed for service work or to be handled by service personnel; great care will therefore have to be exercised in the handling and operating of them. A number of H 2 S photographs received have been unsharp and sometimes of poor quality. This poor workmanship will have to be remedied and a special effort by Photographic N.C.O’s in this direction is required.

No. 5 Group Headquarters now hold a K.20 camera for use on hand held obliques. Any station requiring the use of this camera is to inform the Group Photographic Officer who will make arrangements for the camera to be forwarded. Two days’ notice will be required.

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[Underlined] ANALYSIS OF PHOTOGRAPHY [/underlined]

[Table of Photographic Analysis by Squadron]

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[Drawing] ARMAMENT

[Underlined] WINTER [/underlined]

Once more the annual reminder which you are no doubt tired of hearing, but a warning which must be even more carefully heeded this year than ever before.

Listed below are a few points which will require your personal attention during the coming months if an increase in failures is to be avoided.

[Underlined] Gun Heaters. [/underlined] Are all your aircraft fitted with gun heaters? The Electrical Officers are giving this matter their personal attention and the fitting of heaters is going ahead. Take a personal interest in this matter yourself, see that the Electrical Branch are given every assistance.

[Underlined] Duct Heaters. [/underlined] New aircraft are now arriving with ducted heating to both rear and mid-upper turrets. Have you any of these aircraft? If so, go and have a look at one and get the “gen” on how it works.

[Underlined] Browning Guns. [/underlined] Has your gun maintenance been allowed to slip during the summer months? If so, now is the time to tighten up. All new guns must be very carefully checked; all grease must be removed, particularly from the breach block, firing pin and spring, etc. and guns must be lubricated in accordance with B.C.A.S.I. Pt.2, Section 14, Leaflet No.6, Issue No. 1.

[Underlined] Gun Covers. [/underlined] Have you an adequate supply of gun and turret covers? All Units should now have manufactured the cover for the Direct Vision Aperture in the F.N. 120. This Headquarters’ letter 634/4/Armt. dated 12th May, 1944 refers.

[Underlined] Cluster Projectiles. [/underlined] Wet Cluster Projectiles may cause functioning failures due to ice accretion on the mechanism or from rust. See that full use is made of all available tarpaulins. Recommendations have been made to Headquarters, Bomber Command for an increase in establishment of Covers, Water proof, Large and Small.

[Underlined] Bomb Trollies. [/underlined] Are all your trollies fitted with mud guards to prevent S.B.C. release slips from becoming splashed with mud and water during transportation?

[Underlined] Welfare. [/underlined] During Winter months Armourers will be working long hours in bad weather conditions. See that they are properly equipped with warm clothing, gloves, oil skins, and gum boots etc. A warm and contented man will work better than one half frozen.

[Underlined] SMALL BOMB CONTAINERS. [/underlined]

The month of September saw the return, after a long absence, of the Small Bomb Container. With the introduction of the Cluster Projectile, relief was felt by all Armament Officers as it was thought we had seen the last of the “very difficult to handle” Small Bomb Container. Unfortunately the shortage of Cluster Projectiles has necessitated our return to this item of equipment, consequently a large number of headaches have resulted.

With the introduction of the new Twin Adaptors the Incendiary load has been considerable [sic] increased and it is now possible to carry 20 S.B.C’s on the Lancaster. This increase in bomb load means that far more work is entailed in the preparation of the required number of S.B.C’s for an

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operation and it has been found necessary to seek outside labour to assist in the filling. Unfortunately it is still necessary to fill the Mk. VA. S.B.C. by hand, but small numbers of 50 pack Incendiaries are now being received and it is hoped that in the near future the boxes of 30 x 4lb. Incendiaries will entirely disappear. This step will be welcomed by all.

[Cartoon] THIS – OR THIS?? N.M.


[Underlined] CLUSTER PROJECTILES – HANDLING. [/underlined]

The organisation for the handling of Cluster Projectiles still requires a lot of attention on some Stations. Quantities of Roller Conveyors are now held on all Stations and this equipment, suitably raised from the ground on tail unit boxes or cluster projectile cases, provides an excellent method for the handling and fusing of cluster projectiles.

This equipment, suitably laid out, can provide multi unloading, fusing and loading points, and can cut down the man handling required to the barest minimum, and the saving in time will be considerable.

[Underlined] SALVAGE. [/underlined]

The problem of returning salvage has now become a major one, and when one considers that approximately, 4,000 boxes of 4lb. Incendiaries are thrown up from one operation on a 2 Squadron Station, it is obvious that careful attention must be given to the organisation for the return of this salvage. All 2 Squadron Station have now been supplied with additional labour kindly loaned to us by the Army. This additional labour, if correctly employed, should prevent the accumulation of any large quantity of salvage. When lorries deliver explosives to you let your motto be “They shall not return empty.”

All smaller salvage, i.e. nose plugs, transit caps from tail pistols etc., should be placed in bins and not left lying around to form a permanent menace to bomb trolley tyres. Bins are easily obtainable and sufficient should be placed in the bomb store to enable an ample supply to be available at all fusing and handling points.

[Underlined] HEAVY TYPE TRANSPORTERS. [/underlined]

There is at present a deficiency of approximately 2,500 transporters in this Group, including those sent away under Bomber Command’s instructions, for modification. Bomber Command have promised that every effort is being made to expedite the manufacture of new type heavy transporters and early issues are expected. In the meantime, continual care must be exercised in the loading of cluster projectiles on to bomb trolleys to ensure that no tail units are damaged.


Two boobs by Air Bombers this month were responsible for complete bomb loads being returned to Base.

1. Bomb Aimer failed to fully rotate the Distributor Drum Switch with the result that no contact was made – FULL

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2. Bomb Aimer set drum switch half way between “Distributor” and “Single and Salvo” – FULL BOMB LOAD RETURNED.

Eight other manipulation failures resulted in 8 photoflashes being returned due to the Isolation switch not being made.

[Underlined] QUIZ. [/underlined]

Is your A.P. 2264A fully amended? If so where would you find the information on the Bomb, Smoke, Aircraft, 100 lb. Mk.1?


(a) Approximate savings in pence per head.
(b) Approximate percentage of personnel saving.
(c) Total savings for the month.

[Table of War Savings by Base and Station]

TOTAL: £5,722.14s. 3d.

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[Underlined] ARMAMENT FAILURES TABLE [/underlined]

[Table of Armament Failures by Squadron]

A – Manipulation. B – Maintenance. C – Icing. D. – Technical. E – Electrical. F. – Obscure.

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[Drawing] GUNNERY

[Underlined] THIS MONTH’S BAG [/underlined]

[Underlined] DESTROYED [/underlined]

[Underlined] A/C Letter Sqdn Date Type of E/A [/underlined]

“E” 630 11/12 Sept. T/E
“B” 57 11/12 Sept. JU. 88
“T” 57 11/12 Sept. JU. 88
“O” 83 23rd Sept. S/E
“R” 630 23rd Sept. T/E
“U” 207 26/27 Sept. ME410

[Underlined] PROBABLY DESTROYED [/underlined]

[Underlined] A/C Letter Sqdn Date Type of E/A [/underlined]

“H” 50 11/12 Sept. ME110
“D” 207 11/12 Sept. JU. 88
“X” 467 11/12 Sept. JU. 88

[Underlined] DAMAGED [/underlined]

[Underlined] A/C Letter Sqdn Date Type of E/A [/underlined]

“J” 106 11/12 Sept. JU. 88
“J” 61 11/12 Sept. ME.109
“Y” 9 26/27 Sept. ME.410

Confirmation of these claims, by Headquarters Bomber Command, is awaited.

There was a total of 119 combats during the month’s operations which shows a slight increase on last month’s figure. Of these 8 are claimed as destroyed 3 as probably destroyed and 4 as damaged. The largest number of combats occurred on the night 11/12th September, when Darmstadt was the target. Out of 39 combats the Group claimed 3 destroyed, 3 probably destroyed and 2 damaged – an excellent return. During the month, tracer was removed from the first 300 rounds, with a view to assisting the gunner in his sighting. Reports have since been submitted by Bases, and these are now under consideration. If the test has convinced gunners that accurate shooting can only be applied through the sight, it has certainly been worth while.

Early Warning Devices, with the exception of Fishpond, have been temporarily suspended, so once again the gunner has got to rely on his ability to see under night conditions and on his mental alertness. Even with the E.W.D. several instances occurred of enemy aircraft approaching and attacking unobserved, and without the E.W.D’s we must expect more instances of this. To arm ourselves against this, we must make use of every opportunity of training under night conditions, either at night with night affiliation, or simple exercises on the ground, or by day in the Night Vision rooms. Whilst on the subject of night vision, it is painful to have to record that two instances of Lancaster firing on Lancaster were reported during the month. In each instance the aggressor was identified as a Lancaster by the gunners. It was fortunate that no serious casualties resulted from these attacks, but it does stress the fact that more aircraft recognition under night conditions is called for.

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[Underlined] ODD JOTTINGS [/underlined]

Instances have occurred of guns being fired in dispersals and seriously damaging other aircraft. Gunners must make certain that all guns are on “SAFE” before unloading or testing.

Instructions are to be issued shortly regarding the wearing of Pilot type parachutes by rear gunners. This will come into force when sufficient quantities of this type of parachute are available.

Fighter affiliation exercises with Gyro Camera have shown a big increase on last month’s figures, and Squadrons are to be congratulated. It is hoped that it will be possible in the near future, to issue an extra Gyro Camera assembly to each Squadron.

[Underlined] SQUADRON GUNNERY LEADERS [/underlined]

9 Squadron F/Lt Gabriel
50 Squadron F/Lt Mills
61 Squadron F/Lt Glover
463 Squadron F/Lt Winston
467 Squadron F/O Ellis
44 Squadron F/Lt Clarke
619 Squadron F/Lt Waterhouse
83 Squadron S/Ldr Poole
97 Squadron S/Ldr Sherring
106 Squadron F/Lt Sullivan
617 Squadron F/Lt Armstrong
57 Squadron F/Lt Taylor
630 Squadron F/Lt Cass
207 Squadron F/Lt Wardle
49 Squadron F/Lt Wynyard

[Underlined] AIR TRAINING [/underlined]

[Table of Air Training by Squadron]


* 49 Squadron employed on special training.

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[Drawing] TRAINING

[Underlined] RECORD OUTPUT [/underlined]

This was the last month of the full Summer Training Programme, and the number of crews produced was the highest on record. A total of 162 pilots (161 full crews) was posted to Squadrons and provided ample surplus for the forthcoming expansion.

Weather was patchy towards the end of the month, but despite this and some difficulties with power plants and tyres, the Stirling Conversion Units flew an average of 2,000 hours each. No. 5 L.F.S. did a total of just over 2,000 hours. The accident rate improved for the third successive month.

No.1668 Lancaster Conversion Unit is getting into its stride and flew 700 hours. The first course is due to pass out early next month. No. 1669 Halifax Conversion Unit which also formed under the control of 5 Group, made rapid progress once the Staff had the airfield to themselves. The first course enters on 7th October.

[Underlined] FIGHTER AFFILIATION [/underlined]

Fighter Affiliation continued to increase and 1690 B.D.T. Flight gave day and night affiliation on over 1,000 details, exercising 2450 gunners compared with 2100 for August.

Night affiliation with Hurricanes is growing from infancy into a robust child. 1690 B.D.T. Flight affiliated with 60 Squadron crews at night, exercising 120 gunners, double the total last month. The Hurricanes averaged 41 hours per aircraft.

The monthly target for night affiliation from now on is 600 details. If 300 crews do two night details each, and 9 of the 12 Hurricanes average 3 details each on approximately 21 fit nights in a month, the results will be 600 details, 1200 gunners exercised, and a figure ten-fold greater than this month!

Incidentally, 1690 B.D.T. Flight packed its bags once again, and is now located at R.A.F. Station, Metheringham.

[Underlined] SQUADRON TRAINING [/underlined]

The provision of an instructor for each Squadron, instead of instructors allocated to Bases, will give Squadrons a greater opportunity of supervising closely all new crews, and picking up any deficiencies which arise because of the shortness of the course at the L.F.S.

It is essential that Squadron Training Pilots forward their reports on new crews through the usual channels to Base Headquarters so that the Base Air Staff Officer can submit to this Headquarters at the end of each month a summary of opinion on the standard of training and points requiring attention. 10 and 20 sortie checks are essential for all crews in Squadrons throughout the Group, and Squadron Training Pilots are to give them special attention.

No.106 Squadron now has a new function as the “Nursery” for the two P.F.F. Squadrons in 54 Base. Outstanding crews under training in 51 Base and L.F.S. are being selected for P.F.F. duties in 5 Group, and are posted to 106 Squadron for experience and training, after which they proceed to either 83 or 97 Squadron to provide the necessary experience and for supervising the new crews.

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[Underlined] LINK TRAINER TIMES [/underlined]

[Table of Link Trainer Times by Base, Squadron and Conversion Unit]

GRAND TOTAL:- Pilots: 1463 hours
F/Engineers: 965 hours

There was again an increase in Link Trainer Times for the month by both Pilots and Flight Engineers. The Pilots went up by about 100 hours and the Flight Engineers by about 40 hours.

Every little helps, but 140 hours among 21 Units represents an average increase of about 7 hours per Unit.

It should be possible to increase this four-fold now that the more doubtful weather is approaching. Each Squadron in particular should get its Pilots’ Link times up to the 50/60 hour mark.

[Underlined] SPECIAL NOTE [/underlined]

Pilots and Link Trainer Instructors should take special note of the modification to topple the Artificial Horizon and spin the Directional Gyro, and make sure it is used on every exercise.

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The 26 aircraft damaged during August gave us a rate of 7.3 per 10,000 flying hours, one of the best rates the Group has ever attained, and good enough to put us in second place in the Command Accident ladder.

September’s total is 23, made up as follows:- 6 Cat. AC; 5 Cat. B; 12 Cat. E. Quite a number of aircraft were damaged to a lesser extent and repaired more or less “on the spot”. They, happily, do not count against us, and the “rate” should be close to August’s good figures. Flying hours will decide.

11 of the month’s accidents were avoidable.

[Underlined] SQUADRONS: [/underlined] Overshoots landing – 2; Heavy Landings – 1; Miscellaneous – 2.
[Underlined] 51 BASE: [/underlined] Swings Landing – 2; overshoots landing – 2; Taxying – 1.
[Underlined] 1690 Flight: [/underlined] Miscellaneous – 1.

None of these accidents have any special features except perhaps the collision between a Hurricane engaged on affiliation with a Lancaster, and a Master of another Group. From details at present available the Hurricane pilot appears to have been “shooting away” the Master who was taking close an interest in the exercise. Both single aircraft engined aircraft crashed, but the Master pilot escaped by parachute. 1690 pilots take note. Extreme care is required when dealing with these other aircraft which very often have pupil pilots aboard, and do not always do what you would expect.

In addition to the accidents above, there have been 7 minor taxying accidents in the Group this month. In each instance the damage was soon repaired, but that is not the point. Each one was completely avoidable, and required a certain amount of valuable time and labour to put right. With the coming of the darker nights and poorer weather it is most important, yes, essential, that this tendency to careless taxying is stamped out. Last winter’s taxying story was a sorry tale. It must not be duplicated this year.

The period for the second award of the Silver Lancaster has just ended. As soon as all accident reports are forward the result will be published. It looks like another close race.

[Table of Avoidable Accidents and Star Awards by Squadron]

The above table includes minor avoidable accidents which are not listed in the review above. The damage was Cat. A in each instance. 51 Base Units are not given STAR awards.

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[Underlined] INSTRUMENT FLYING. [/underlined]

(i) Take your place in the drive on instrument flying. Nights grow longer and you’ll be getting both dark take-offs and dark returns.

(ii) Give yourself 5 – 10 minutes on your primary instruments – Turn and Bank, A.S.I. and Altimeter – on every N.F.T. Cover up the artificial horizon and cage the gyro.

(iii) Practice the corkscrew on instruments. Its [sic] easy to “mock up” a hood for instrument flying in day-light. Fold a map, fit it on your helmet and draw goggles on to your forehead. The goggles and strap will hold the map in place. Don’t forget to have a member of the crew keeping a look out for other aircraft.

(iv) Get your quota of Link hours in. The new device to topple the artificial horizon and spin the gyro will put you on your mettle.

[Underlined] TAXYING. [/underlined]

(i) Take things steadily on the ground. The autumn and winter in the past have always produced a sorry tale of bogged aircraft and taxying accidents.

(ii) Look up Air Staff Instruction F.C. 24 for the duties and responsibilities of all aircrew when taxying.

(iii) Use the landing light on the Lancaster and man the Aldis light. Modifications to the landing light are under consideration in an attempt to further increase its usefulness as an aid to taxying.

(iv) Remember you get the illusion at night that you are taxying slowly when you are in fact going fast. CO-OPERATION – CAUTION – CONTROL are the three principles to apply to taxying.

[Underlined] THE LAST 100 FEET. [/underlined]

(i) Wind velocity decreases proportionately from 1,500 feet to ground level because of the friction of the ground. This is most pronounced at night.

(ii) Its [sic] possible to have a wind of gale force at 1,500 feet and dead calm at ground level at night. Its [sic] also possible for the wind direction to be 50° different between 1,500 feet and the ground.

(iii) So watch your approaches. In a very strong wind, increase your air speed by 5/10 m.p.h. and check for drift. The last 100 feet can be difficult if you don’t appreciate the circumstances.

(iv) A word on landings. Your Check Landing Card is a valuable record for [underlined] YOU. [/underlined] Don’t wait until your crew complains your landings are not too good. Inspect your Check Landing Card once a fortnight and see that it is up to date.

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This month has seen the introduction of a Bomber Command Standard Landing Procedure which aims to provide a simple and standard landing drill, and which will give reasonably good landing times. It is hoped that this procedure will be adopted by other Commands, and that it will eventually be used at every airfield in the British Isles. This Group, however, has been permitted to retain its two R/T channels of communication, and the landing procedure, previously employed by 5 Group, has been substantially modified to bring it in to line with the new Standard Procedure.

In the near future, it is hoped that a directif will be issued to all Flying Control Officers laying down a standard technique of handling aircraft. At present there are two schools of thought. One in which one officer in the Watch Office controls aircraft on both Studs ‘A’ and ‘B’. Secondly where one officer in the Watch office feeds aircraft into the circuit on Stud ‘A’ and a second officer controls aircraft on Stud ‘B’, and gives instructions where necessary should aircraft be too closely or too loosely spaced. Trials are at present being carried out on both these schemes and the details will be issued on which scheme proves itself to be the safest and most efficient.

One word here about flying discipline. At some stations in the Group, breaches of flying discipline in the circuit are reports to Squadron Commanders, who take immediate action with the aircrew concerned. No matter how good or how safe a landing procedure might be, if crews don’t play fair and obey instructions to the letter then one might just as well give up the idea of trying to speed up the rate of landing, and at the same time maintain an adequate safety margin. If every crew takes its turn, plays fair and used its common-sense it will be landed within the minimum time and with perfect safety.

[Underlined] Marking Circuit Points. [/underlined]

It is appreciated that in the past there has been some difficulty in determining when an aircraft exactly reaches the various points of call around the circuit. The problem of marking these points to suit all runways is not an easy one, and several experiments have been carried out as yet with little success. It is hoped, however, that the end is now in sight and that very soon “call-up” and “check” points for use with every runway will be marked around the circuit.

[Underlined] SEPTEMBER LANDING TIMES [/underlined]

[Table of Landing Times by Station]

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[Underlined] UNIT RETURNS. [/underlined]

Cases have occurred where serviceable equipment returned to the U.E.D. has arrived in an unserviceable state. In most cases the cause has been careless packing. Equipment Officers should realise that this almost amounts to sabotage as not only is time and labour wasted at the receiving end, but equipment, which has taken the manufacturers valuable man-hours to make, is useless to the service until more man-hours are spent in repair.

Therefore watch this and thus save labour.

[Underlined] Q. FORM. [/underlined]

The Q Form has been amended and the old “U” has been broken down into “U.1” (awaiting spares, work held up) and “U.2” (awaiting spares but work proceeding). Up to now this Group has had a good record, so Equipment Officers should continue to keep both “U.1” and “U.2” out of the Q Form.

[Underlined] MECHANICAL SWEEPERS. [/underlined]

Instances are still occurring where Mechanical Sweepers are unserviceable for some considerable time owing to the delay in obtaining spares. Owing to the very acute rubber shortage it is essential that runways be swept regularly. All Bases should ensure that at least one set of brushes and other frequently required spares are held, and Equipment Officers should give the subject their personal attention.

[Underlined] SURPLUS FIRE CRASH TENDER. [/underlined]

Several Bases are holding one surplus Crash Tender for use within the Group in an emergency. When this is required it is frequently found that the vehicle is unserviceable and in consequence a Station is left with only one Crash Tender standing by, which is totally inadequate. It is essential that these vehicles are kept serviceable, and all demands for spares required to render vehicles serviceable are to be sent by I.O.R. signal and hastened where any undue delay occurs.

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The following IMMEDIATE awards were approved during the month:-

[Underlined] 9 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 44 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 50 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 57 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 83 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 97 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 106 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 207 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 463 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 619 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 627 SQUADRON [/underlined]


The following NON_IMMEDIATE awards were approved during the month:-

[Underlined] 9 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 44 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 49 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 50 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 57 SQUADRON. [/Underlined]


[Underlined] 61 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


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[Underlined] 83 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 97 SQUADRON [/underlined]


[Underlined] 106 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 207 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 207 SQUADRON. [/underlined] (Contd.)


[Underlined] 463 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 467 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 617 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 619 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 627 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


[Underlined] 630 SQUADRON. [/underlined]


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On the 11th September, 1944, Lancasters of 9 and 617 Squadrons together with two Liberators attached from Transport Command, took off for YAGODNIK, an airfield near Archangel. The Liberators re-fuelled at Lossiemouth before leaving, and the hospitality extended by this Station was very much appreciated by the ground staff who were passengers in these aircraft.

The weather at first was good, but when about 150 miles from Archangel considerable low cloud and rain were encountered. Aircraft flew just above tree tops over the most desolate country imaginable – lakes, forests and swamps. Map reading was impossible; weather conditions alone made this too difficult, and in addition it was found that maps of the area were inaccurate – many villages and even railway lines being omitted.

The Archangel area was reached after about 10 hours flying, and with endurance becoming low and with no radio aids available, it was necessary for aircraft to land quickly. Some were fortunate enough to locate airfields quickly, whilst others searched through cloud and heavy rain.

Several aircraft landed at a small airfield named KEG ISLAND. Some of the crews of these aircraft originally thought they had landed at YAGODNIK and were unable to find out the whereabouts of the other aircraft. For some time they thought they were the sole survivors of the force. Later, however, all aircraft were located, though in all six had crash landed. In spite of this nobody was hurt and in the weather conditions it must be considered miraculous that no lives were lost. It was a great tribute to the skill of the pilots and navigators that so many masterly landings were made.

The Russians had originally expected some 250 guests but last minute alterations had increased this to 325. In addition, the crews of the crashed aircraft had to be located and collected from outlying districts.

In the circumstances the Russians performed wonders in giving all available help. A major diversion in this country often causes somewhat of an upheaval, but the Russians placed transport aircraft at the disposal of the Commanding Officer and even dropped a parachutist to direct the crew of one aircraft which had crash landed in a morass. In this particular case the “blind led the blind” for a while as the guide lost his way!

Eventually all crews and serviceable aircraft collected at Yagodnik where accommodation and re-fuelling facilities existed. Yagodnik is an island and is in the middle of the river Dvina, about 20 miles from Archangel It can only be reached from that city by air or river. The accommodation consisted of a paddle steamer which was moored to the river bank, and several underground huts. These huts provide warmth in winter but the absence of any kind of ventilation and the fact that a large brick fireplace forms a major part of the accommodation leads to a degree of stuffiness difficult to bear, and appears to form a breeding ground for various forms of life. The first few nights produced a large number of bug eaten victims until a form of insert [sic] killer, generously given by some American friends in the this country, was used.

Entertainment was provided by the Russians in the form of cinema shows, dances, etc., and on one occasion a lecture on a Russian composer which started 55 minutes late, lasted for 75 minutes, and was a complete mystery from start to finish to the British members of the audience.

The mush publicised football match also took place and proved a huge success. A football match in Russia produces much ceremony including the exchange of bouquets by the opposing captains before the start of game, and a tune somewhat similar to “See the conquering hero comes” has to be played each time the home team scores a goal. Apparently it is also possible for

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the weary player to be replaced by a reserve – or was it the fear of possible repercussions that caused two members to retire from the game and be replaced by the Commanding Officer and the local Station Commander? The latter was so fed with passes by his triumphant tam that a glancing blow off his knee which scored a goal must have caused him considerable relief as it enabled the game to be continued under normal conditions! In spite of all this our Allies showed that they thoroughly understood the game and were indeed very capable players.

The major job of servicing and re-fuelling the aircraft for the operation was tackled by the maintenance crews in a whole hearted manner – they worked for 48 hours almost without a break and their keeness and cheerfulness was what one would expect of such a grand team. It was refreshing to see all trades helping where help was most needed. The following instances will give some idea of what difficulties were overcome. With bowsers available it took exactly 18 hours to re-fuel the aircraft alone. A spare engine was carried in the Liberators and as no crane was available to remove this from the aircraft, a ramp of trees with blankets on top had to be built so that the engine could be slid down.

Meantime a Mosquito had arrived in Yagodnik for P.R.U. duties and after a favourable report from the pilot the operation took place on the 15th September.

Both take off and landing were in accordance with the usual 5 Group high traditions, 28 aircraft taking off in 23 minutes and 27 landing in 30 minutes – one aircraft having flown direct to U.K.

The details of the operation are given elsewhere. As aircraft became re-fuelled and serviceable they returned to the U.K., until finally the two Liberators remained and they were held up for about a week.

While waiting for their aircraft to be re-fuelled some of the crews went into Archangel by minesweeper and were entertained by the R.A.F. Mission there. This measure of hospitality extended to them can be gained by the fact that one member on his return decided to jump in the river fully clothed, in an endeavour to return to the city. The sobering influence of the Dvina soon dissuaded him.

The final return to the U.K. was made under variable but much better conditions than the outward journey.

Finally a few impressions of this Northern outpost of the U.S.S.R. as seen in a fleeting visit may be interesting. It is of course, quite impossible to form balanced judgements, or to provide a real comparison between social and economic conditions seen in Archangel and those to which we are accustomed in Great Britain. After all, Archangel is far to the North of the vast land mass which constitutes the U.S.S.R., and was for some period cut off from the rest of Russia by the Finnish-German advances. Bearing all this in mind, it can hardly be described as a health resort. There was not a great deal of food, the clothing of the civilians was poor, and the roads, houses, sanitation and drainage, the latter where they existed, were far below anything generally to be seen in this country. However, we found that the organisation to provide the essentials of war was good, and all the technical teams we encountered were capable and willing workers. The system of privilege is apparent; extra food and clothing are the reward of rank in the armed forces and of position in civil works. But even in the inferior living conditions at Archangel we found among the Russians an intense patriotism, and a belief in the future of Russia after the war. All Russians’ energies seem directed towards the future.

Our hosts, with the limited facilities at their disposal, did all they could for our comfort, and for this we were all very grateful.

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[Boxed] [Underlined] “V” GROUP NEWS” [/underlined]

The cover of this month’s News was designed by S/Ldr. N Floyd Wilson of Headquarters No. 5 Group. Each month the cover will be changed, and all artists in the Group are invited to submit specimen designs. The best design will be selected each month and will be adopted for the cover of the current issue. [/boxed]

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“V Group News, September 1944
,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 4, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/18282.

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