Dennis Moore Autobiography

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Dennis Moore Autobiography

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Dennis Moore's autobiography, compiled and edited by his son, Terry Moore.

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

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Dennis Moore
28.06.1923 – 30.10.2010

[photograph]

Autobiographical notes

DM Memoirs (Second Edition)
Compiled and edited by Terry D Moore
[censored lines]

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Foreward

In late 1991, following the end of the Cold War and the cessation of hostilities in Iraq. the Government's "Options for Change" defence review led to the disbandment of several RAF squadrons, one of which was XV Squadron which had played a significant role in the first Gulf War. As a former member of this squadron, in which he flew as a Lancaster Navigator during the Second World War, my father was invited to attend the disbandment ceremony in Laarbruch, Germany, and I had the privilege of accompanying him as his guest.

Although he continued to serve in the RAF until 1964, Dad had never talked about his wartime experiences but, during the long car journey to and from Germany, all that changed – the memories flooded back as though it were yesterday. The stories became very familiar to me as they were regularly recounted at the many air-shows and Squadron Reunions we attended over almost two decades

Sadly, he did not live to celebrate his birthday on 28th June 2012, the day on which Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the long overdue Bomber Command Memorial in London's Green Park. However, my wife Penny and I proudly attended as his representatives

[photograph]

The ceremony, honouring the 55,730 airmen who lost their lives during the Second World War, was attended by more than 5,000 second world war veterans and it brought to mind the last words of the Antarctic explorer, Captain R.F. Scott: "had we survived I would have had a take to tell . . . . . . ." Well he did survive – a thirty-three sortie tour with Bomber Command, and his tales are told in the form of these "Autobiographical Notes" which he compiled following our trip to Germany in 1991.

I spent many hours editing his notes, which I illustrated with photographs from his albums and, thankfully, was able to get his seal of approval before he died. Since then I have added more photos and later material which I found in his papers. I am certain that he would have approved.

[photograph]
Terry Moore, July 2012

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[photograph]
"60 years on" – with PA474 at RAF Lossiemouth, May 2005

[photograph]
Pam and me at XV Squadron "90th Birthday" reunion, Lossiemouth

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Dennis Moore
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

1923 – 1939

I was born at 98 Camden Crescent, Chadwell Heath, Essex on 28th June 1923. The youngest child of Thomas and Mary Moore 1, brother to Thomas (Owen) 2 and sister Joyce 3.

About 1926/7 the family moved to 150 Croydon Road, Beddington, Surrey.

My education began at Bandon Hill School, Wallington.

At the age of 7 I fell ill with infantile paralysis (Polio). I was taken to St. Thomas's Hospital in London where I spent nearly 3 months. I was immobilised in a body splint but do not remember much about the treatment except having pins stuck in the soles of my feet periodically (mostly in middle of night!). Apparently I was very lucky to have been diagnosed so quickly and affected in whole body rather than in particular limbs. I only remember there being some form of epidemic in the ward and visitors were not allowed for three weeks or so. The doctor promised me 5 shillings (a lot of money for an eight year old in those days) if I could walk unaided from the end of my bed to the end of the bed opposite by the time my parents were allowed back in. He had to pay up! All together I was off school for nearly a year. I started back in a wheel chair but soon discarded it!

In 1934 I got a place at Wallington County School for Boys. I was not very good at school but just about managed to keep up, though mostly somewhere near the bottom of the form! I only once ever obtained good results in exams when I managed to come [italics] first [/italics] in a science exam, and that was only because, by chance, I had swotted up the night before on all the right things!

I joined the school Scouts (9th Wallington {County School} Troop) and did quite well. Our Scout Master, A. D. Prince, was the school science master. I became Patrol Leader of the 'Owls' and eventually obtained the King's Scout badge and the 'Bushman's Thong'. Nearly every holiday was spent camping or 'Trekking'. In 1937 I attended the Scout Jamboree at Zandfoort in Holland (pictures in green photo album). None of us liked the very militant contingent from Germany who threw their weight about at all the 'get-togethers'.

[photograph]
Joyce, Dad, Mum and me

I represented the Scouts at swimming and the school 2nd XV at Rugby. All my spare time was taken up with tennis at Beddington House Lawn Tennis Club, playing and helping to maintain the tennis courts.

My swimming ability arose from the Polio recovery therapy. Long daily sessions were spent in the hospital pool and then in the local swimming baths in Croydon.

Our house was quite close to Croydon Airport and two of my friends lived actually overlooking the airfield. We could recognise all of the airlines and aircraft that we saw landing and taking off each day. This aroused my life long interest in flying.

1 Thomas Henry Moore (1892-1967), Mary (née Tait) (1893-1984)
2 Thomas Owen (b. 3 October 1917, d. 2 November 2010)
3 Joyce (b. 11 July 1919, d. 16 May 2012)

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1939

Mid-June – our summer holiday at The Hartland Hotel, Hartland Point, Devon was delayed so that I could take the last exam of Matriculation (Economics) but I did so badly that we need not have wasted the extra day. I left school at the beginning of July, aged 16

War started on 3rd September and we listened to the radio broadcast by Neville Chamberlain, which was immediately followed by the Air Raid warning and all of us really though that we were about to be annihilated.

I started work at 'CUACO' (Commercial Union Assurance (Marine Department)) in Lime Street, London. Starting Pay was 21 shillings & sixpence (£1.12 1/2) per week and a railway season ticket cost 13 shillings (60p) per month. My boss was called Godin. I spent most of the time making onionskin copies of documents – before the days of photocopiers! The Underwriters were almost like gods and had to be treated as such. The firm had a lunch club in Ropemaker Street (near Moorgate Tube Station). It was a very old and decrepit building and we had one of the top floors, which could only be reached by very rickety stairs. It was well worth the 10-15 minute walk to get there, through the many alleyways and quick-cuts through other buildings, as the meal was free!!! Later, this building was destroyed by bombing and the Barbican now stands on the site.

I joined the AFS (Auxiliary Fire Service) as a Messenger.

1940

Joined the CUACO Tennis club. Played on the sports ground in the Sidcup area. In late summer I witnessed the bombings in the surrounding area.

The evacuation of Allied Forces from Dunkirk, following the German advance through Belgium, Holland and France, took place at the end of May and was completed around 3rd June. I had holiday from work a few days later and went on a cycle tour of Devon. I caught the train to Exeter, then cycled & stayed at YHA's from there. I passed many camps of army people who had just got back. They were not allowed to send mail without it being censored, so I acted as 'Mail Boy' for many of them who called me over from inside the fence. One of the hostels I stayed at was at Waters Meet (now a National Trust site) and the Warden and I were the only two people there. He took me into Lynton (or perhaps Lynmouth) and introduced me to real cider. It did not take much of this to wake up next morning with a very thick head! However, a long hike up the river soon altered that. At Salcombe, I managed to hire a motor boat (dinghy) and could not understand why the chap who hired it to me insisted that there was a full tank of petrol. I now imagine he must have thought that I was going into the Channel to pick up more 'Dunkirk Survivors' – I must have been very naive at the time!!

The 'Battle of Britain' started in earnest about 12th August. I had been playing tennis at Sidcup when the first bombing of airfields started. On the 15th (or possibly the 18th), I was in the garden at 150 Croydon Road Beddington when aircraft flew over with bombs dropping from them aimed towards Croydon aerodrome. The following day I was called to the Bourjois factory with the AFS to try and get underneath some girders to see if anyone was trapped. A few days later, Dad took us all to live with the Robsons in Charlton Cottage, Copperkins Lane, Amersham, which they rented for a short while. I joined the local Scout Troop (1st Chesham Bois) and met the King family. After short time, by general consent, I was made Troop Leader.

I travelled up to London daily by train with George King & his brother. On one occasion, after a very heavy night raid, it took two hours to walk from Paddington to Lime Street through the devastated city. I camped out at weekends at Chalfont Heights and Great Hampden.

The Blitz was at its height during this period and London and the surrounding area were seemingly bombed every night.

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1941

Early in year the folks moved back to Beddington but I stayed on and lived with one of the King family at 'Rose Cottage' in Chesham Bois. I visited Len Reynolds (see Gunboat 658) who worked for Sun Insurance and had been evacuated to Wrest Park, Silsoe, Beds. I cycled from Amersham via Luton and was chased by a dog for a long way up the A6. Recent visits to Wrest Park are somewhat nostalgic.

24th April 1941, on leaving Chesham Bois, I was presented with a Photo Album by George King and members of 1st Chesham Bois Scout Troop.

[photograph]
Len Reynolds and myself in uniform

Changed jobs soon after a devasting German bombing raid on London on 10th May and started with Gold Exploration & Finance Company of Australia, which had been evacuated to Sandroyd School, Oxshott. The first few days were spent in the old office in Basinghall Street helping to move files and papers from the partially bombed building. During the week I lived at Sandroyd (in a small house called Kittermasters) and cycled home to Beddington at weekends. By the end of the summer the Blitz had more or less finished but a German bomber (or parts of it!) crashed in the grounds of Sandroyd one evening while we were out drinking in a local pub!

Volunteered for RAF and attended the selection centre at Oxford University (not sure which college – visits in recent years in no way help me to recognise anything about it). Had a long session with medics to decide if my previous infantile paralysis (Polio) would allow me to be considered for Aircrew. After an interview with four Senior Officers, it was decided that I had passed 'A1' and was 'sworn-in' for deferred service. My actual service in the RAF counted from then. Mum was very upset when I informed her as she was convinced that I would be unfit for any service in the Forces due to my previous medical history and Dad was upset that I had volunteered for the [underlined] RAF [/underlined] because he had already booked me as a nautical apprentice with a post on the Prince Line vessel "Black Prince". I had actually done myself a great favour as the ship was sunk quite early on with the loss of all the crew!

Took part in amateur dramatics at Sandroyd together with others from English, Scottish & Australian Bank (ES&A). Performed in Xmas panto as a character in sketches of the Weston Brothers type. They were very popular Radio characters of the time.

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1942

Early spring, I was called up as U/T Aircrew and reported to Aircrew Receiving Centre (ACRC) at Lords cricket ground and billeted in "Viceroy Court" (one of numerous apartment blocks in Regents Park area). During the first week or so we were kitted out, received inoculations, vaccinations, took night vision tests and attended numerous lectures in various part of the cricket ground. Many of the staff were well known cricketers of the day. Spent about eight or nine weeks here with some odd short periods of leave (weekend passes) so I was able to get home quite easily.

[photograph]
At home in the garden 150 Croydon Rd, Beddington

Posted to RAF Bridgenorth & RAF Ludlow where I helped to build the camps. We lived in tents and were treated like 'dirt'. Most of the time was devoted to learning how to 'skive-off' each evening and get back into camp without being caught! Ludlow was famous for the large number of pubs and we took advantage of this to avoid being seen by the SPs (RAF Police). Fortunately, both postings were quite short lived.

Summer was spent at Initial Training Wing (ITW) Newquay. Billeted in the "Penolver Hotel" on the seafront. I seem to remember it being next door to the "Beresford" (pictures in album). Our Sergeant, called Sgt. Hannah, was very strict but fair and we got on well with him. In the photos I recall many of the faces but I cannot put names to any of them. A certain teaspoon, still in use, came from a little cafe where we had our brief coffee breaks! A glorious summer – spent much time on the beach and in the sea, as well as clay pigeon shooting on the cliffs.

Since I had elected not go to pilot basic training selection but [italics] to train as a navigator [/italics], I remained at Newquay with 2 others while the rest of the course did their 'Tiger Moth' time. We met up again at Heaton Park, Manchester after they had finished their pilot checkouts. Had a miserable time hanging about waiting for next posting. Billeted in a filthy boarding house with a scruffy landlady and every one of the NCOs seemed to make life difficult.

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1943

Early in the year I finally got a posting to Empire Air Training in Canada. We entrained to Greenock (Glasgow) and boarded the Troop ship [italics] Empress of Scotland [/italics].

[photograph]
RMS Empress of Scotland (formerly Empress of Japan)

Hundreds of us were bundled together in tiers of bunks in makeshift accommodation on the port side, fairly well forward on the boat deck. It was a blessing being able to get out into the open quickly as some of the others were down below, almost in the bilges. We spent hours queuing for food but it passed the time quickly. We sailed on our own and had numerous alerts but nothing was seen or heard. Eventually we docked in New York, although we all thought we were going to [underlined] [italics] Halifax! [/italics] [/underlined]

By train up to No. 31 Personnel Depot Moncton (New Brunswick), stopping for nearly a day in sidings in Portland (Maine). People were very hospitable and made us meals and food for the rest of the journey.

It was freezing cold in Moncton but the huts were very warm and I remember barrels of apples at the end of each hut, which were always kept topped up with crisp, juicy, sweet red apples. Although well below zero outside, we never seemed to feel the cold. Time-off was spent in the town of Moncton, mostly in Macdonald's(?) drug store, eating very cheap T-bone steaks and drinking pints of milk. No shortage of food made it a regular paradise after rationing. We also spent hours ten-pin bowling, both in Moncton and in the alley back at camp.

I cannot remember what we did on duty, but do remember coming into contact with a Welsh corporal by the name of Gee who was the most obnoxious individual I have ever come across and who made our life a misery. It was a relief to join the epidemic of Scarlet Fever that swept through the camp. I was quite ill but lucky to find that one of the doctors was the husband of one of the girls that I had worked with at Sandroyd. He helped me when I was fit enough for convalescent leave by suggesting that I didn't go on my own to Montreal but to stay with one of the local families who took in Service people and looked after them. He introduced me to a couple called Tait who lived in Shediac, a place some 50 miles away, near or at the coast. They seemed to like me and 2 days later arrived back to take me home with them. They already had a number of Australian 'Tour Ex' aircrew staying with them, a couple of whom were in a very bad state and were being sent home by way of Canada and America.

[photograph]

The Tait residence was a huge detached property and they had a lovely red setter dog called Terry who took an immediate fancy to me for some reason and was my constant companion for the rest of my stay with them.

The Taits cosseted me right from the start and were most intrigued to find that Mum's maiden name was the same as theirs. They were most concerned when they saw my patched pyjamas and other clothes and really didn't understand when I told them about

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clothes rationing and all the other shortages. They immediately took me shopping to buy a whole set of new clothes and underclothes. Early in my stay they asked if I had ever had oysters and when I said no they immediately took me to a place called Pointe du Cheyne(?), which was 75 miles away up the coast, for an evening meal out. The place specialised in fried oysters and I had a whole plateful of them. They were marvellous and the taste still lingers on even though I have never had them again since. They seemed to think nothing of a 75-mile drive each way just for a meal out. I was introduced to all the inhabitants of Shediac – or so it seemed – and during my stay with them took me all over New Brunswick, visiting all the towns and villages and spent a day in Fredrickton visiting various relatives at the University.

It was a terrible break to have to leave them and get back to real life. One thing however was somewhat sobering and that was the discussions I had with the Australians before they left. I learnt from them what it was really going to be like to go on Bomber operations once training was finished.

Almost as soon as I reported back to camp in Moncton I was posted to No 1 Central Navigation School – Rivers Manitoba. The trip was a 3-day ride on the train and that in itself was a fascinating experience. Eventually I arrived at the town of Brandon after a short stop off in Winnipeg.

No. 76A Navigation Course began almost as soon as I had arrived and lasted from 17th May 1943 to 1st October 1943. After nearly a month of groundwork, I had my first flight in an aeroplane on 5th June 1943. I spent 3 hours 10 minutes in Anson 6882 flown by P/O Davey. [underlined] [italics] I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. [/italics] [/underlined]

[photograph]
76A Navigation Course 17th May – 1st October 1943,
No. 1 Central Navigation School, Rivers Manitoba, Canada

The others on the course were an amazingly good bunch and a number of us used to work and play together in almost perfect harmony. Only three pupils were 'scrubbed', for various reasons, during the course and the list of those completing the course is in my green photo album. Seven of us formed a small group.

Paul Bailey
Ken Waine
Joe Meadows
Doug Holt
Rick Richardson
Don Finlayson

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We were given regular 48-hour passes and the 75 miles on the train to Winnipeg was quite an easy journey. At Eatons, the major department store, we were able to arrange to stay with local people. Nearly all my visits were to a family living in Assiniboine Drive but quite early on Don Finlayson discovered that he had a relation in Winnipeg that he had never heard of before and we spent most of the time at his place, only going back to the others to sleep. I do not remember the name of the people I used to stay with, although I have a vague recollection that their name might be Oliver.

Finlayson's relatives had a youngish daughter and before long all seven of us paired up with other girls. As can be seen from the photo album we enjoyed many happy hours in the Cave Supper Club and danced to the music of Marsh Phimister (Marsh was still around in 1979 when we returned to Winnipeg to visit my cousin Tom Moore4 & his wife Marg!).

THE CAVE SUPPER CLUB
[photograph]
Date SEP 15 1948 No. 9 GIBSON

On one 48-hour pass I travelled to Toronto (or Montreal, I can't remember which) to meet my cousin Tom, whom I had never met before, but still managed to find him amongst the crowds on the Mainline Station. He took me to Hamilton Ontario were [sic] he was billeted. I think we also went to London Ontario but am not certain. He looked after me quite well and we seemed to get on well together, although it was a very short visit before I had to get back to camp.

Although I had never done very well at school, I suddenly discovered that I was just as clever (if not more so) as the others and I began to do well on the course. In the end I managed to finish 2nd on the course and along with 6 others was given an immediate commission as a Pilot Officer whilst all the others were promoted to Sergeant.

About the 5th October I returned to Moncton and almost straight away entrained to Halifax and boarded the Aquatania (or was it the Mauretania?). We sailed without a convoy again but had air cover at both ends with only a small gap in the middle. It was a smooth crossing, in much superior accommodation to that on the journey out. I met a Canadian who, it subsequently turned out, used to work opposite Tom Moore at Ogilvy Mills in Medicine Hat. – Small world!

We landed back at Greenock and I was posted to Harrogate for Officer kitting-out and indoctrination. I stayed at the Queen's Hotel in some luxury and, as there were lots of Civil Servants evacuated to Harrogate, the social life was extremely good. Went to numerous dances and parties including Christmas and New Year.

4Tom Moore (1916-1992) Margaret (nee Rutherford) (1914-1999)

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1944

Posted to No. 1 (O) A.F.U. (Advanced Flying Unit) Wigton, Scotland on or about 10th January and started No. 193 Air Navigators AFU Course.

Towards the end of January I 'went sick' with an undulant fever. Local Medical Officer did not believe me until I got rapidly worse and eventually was transferred to Hospital near Stranraer where Glandular fever was diagnosed. Whilst there, a survivor from a crashed Anson was brought in and all the 'stops' were pulled out to help him survive. Although nearly every bone in his body was broken he gradually rallied and started to make a miraculous recovery. Having recovered from Glandular Fever, I was diagnosed to have a mild leukaemia and started getting massive injections of iron and ate liver until it almost came out of my ears. Walked for miles in the surrounding countryside with some of the other patients and after a while felt fitter than I had for a long time.

I rejoined No. 226 Course on 7th April and finally finished there on 2nd May. I was posted to No. 12 O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit) at a place called Chipping Warden near Banbury. I arrived at Banbury railway station on my own and started enquiring about transport to the RAF Station. I met a Squadron Leader Pilot who informed me that he had already arranged for transport, which would be along in 'about an hour'. We sat and talked and I learned that he was called Nigel Macfarlane (Mac), a Rhodesian, who had already done a 'tour' in Hampdens. He told me that we were both two days late for the start of the course, although through no fault of our own. He seemed to be quite interested in me and my background.

When we arrived on the course, we discovered that most of the others had already had time to choose their own crews and Mac immediately asked me to be his navigator. Together we then looked around for the rest of the crew.

Eventually we got ourselves sorted out and finished up with

Pilot – Squadron Leader Nigel G. Macfarlane
Navigator – Pilot Officer Dennis Moore
Bomb Aimer – Pilot Officer Fred H. Shepherd
Wireless Operator – Sergeant 'Napper' Dennis Evans
Mid Upper Gunner – Sergeant Jimmy Bourke
Rear Gunner – Sergeant 'Nobby' Clarke (655)

The Flight Engineer, Sergeant 'Johnnie' Forster (later to become Pilot Officer), joined us later – after we had left Chipping Warden.

Fred Shepherd wore an 'N' brevet as he had completed a Navigation Course but for some reason had been re-mustered to Bomb Aimer at the end of his course?

The OCU aircraft identification was 'FQ'. All the flying was done in Wellingtons and it is worth noting that one of these – Z1735 – 'S', actually set a record of longevity by operating at this unit from early 1942 until January 1945. We only flew in this aircraft once. During the course both Fred & I were made Flying Officers and the Sergeants promoted to Flight/Sergeant.

We were on an exercise on the night of 5/6th June (D-day), and at the time could not understand why there were so many other aircraft in the sky!

On the 10th July we completed our first Operational flight on what was called a 'Nickel'. We dropped leaflets over Angers in France. The trip was successful and no difficulties other than 'Flak' were encountered.

Much of our flying here was from the 'satellite' airfield of Edgehill which was some distance away and actually on the site of the old battlefield.

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We finished our training about the 15th July, by which time we all seemed to work well together and all the instructors rated Mac very highly.

Posted to No. 1653 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit) Chedburgh, Suffolk, on or about 28th July after leave. Flying on Stirlings commenced on the 14th August, firstly on 'A' Flight doing mostly circuits and bumps by day & night and then on 'C' & 'D' Flight doing Cross Country, followed by high level bombing practice. During the course we had 2 undercarriage collapses but otherwise the Stirling was quite a pleasant aircraft to fly in.

We did a fair bit of interchange of jobs except that our flight engineer, Johnny Forster had now joined us and he got the major share of actually flying it. I had a short lesson and also a session in the rear turret. It was here that I discovered that I did not feel at all happy looking down. I actually dropped a stick of practice bombs and did very well. On the ground we also did exercises at each other's job and on the gunnery range my '4 sec' burst disintegrated the moving target!

Whilst doing each other's jobs we found out that Mac (the pilot) had attended the Specialist Navigators Course just when the war started (he had come over from Rhodesia and joined the Air Force in 1938). This made three of us who were so-called navigators and it could have presented a problem, particularly as Fred Shepherd rather fancied himself in that role. However, on one trip, Fred started to try and give changes of aircraft heading to Mac from 'pinpoints' that he had observed on the ground without letting me know. Mac had no hesitation in telling the whole crew that, although there were two others who 'at a pinch' could possibly take over, there was only one navigator in the aircraft whilst he was Captain and that was me!! – and he had every faith in my ability to look after all of us as far as the navigation was concerned. This certainly boosted my ego and from then on we all got on famously.

The course was completed on the 4th September and we were quickly posted to No. 3 LFS (Lancaster Finishing School) at Feltwell where we arrived on 7th. Feltwell was a grass airfield with no runways but, nevertheless, we finished our conversion in 4 days and then rushed to No. 218 Squadron at Methwold so that Mac could take over the job of c/o 'A' Flight. We discovered that a few nights previously the Squadron had lost 5 aircraft, one of the crews being the Flight Commander. This was somewhat of a shattering experience to start off with but fortunately our first operation was a relatively easy one, bombing by daylight 'V1' bomb sites at Boulogne. 'Flak' (Anti-Aircraft shells) was quite heavy but there was no fighter activity.

During the rest of September we did two more daylight trips and 1 night trip to Neuss near Dusseldorf. During the early days of Oct. we converted to a form of specialised bombing called 'G.H' – an extension of OBOE. This used a tracking beam and a crossing beam for the release point. On this system the bomb aimer only had to set up the bomb release and I did the actual bombing run and release. The exercises we did proved to be extremely accurate and we regularly dropped practise bombs to within 50 yards from 20,000 feet.

Methwold was built just before the war but had no permanent brick buildings and accommodation was in Nissen huts dispersed in the woods, some over a mile from the Mess, which could only be reached over muddy footpaths. It started to get quite cold in these huts quite early on and scrounging for fuel for the stoves became a major pastime. Barbara Sharp, who used to live five doors from us in Beddington, turned up at Methwold but she did not stay for long. The film 'Journey together' was shot at Methwold and David Tomlinson the actor (of 'Bedknobs & Broomsticks' with Julie Andrews) was on one of the Squadrons. The author – Miles Tripp was a bomb-aimer on the Squadron and his book "The Eighth Passenger" tells of his crew and what happened to them both during and after the war. He talks of one trip taking off at a certain time when we actually took off 1 minute before him on the same operation. My experience and his seemed to differ completely on this particular occasion (see copy of his book obtained 20/01/1994!!).

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During October we completed 2 daylights and 3 night ops and after 1 trip (at night) in November Mac was posted to Mildenhall as Commanding Officer No. 15 (XV) Squadron and promoted to Wing Commander. The next day he sent an aircraft over to fetch us and we then joined the Squadron officially. As the C/O's crew we did less trips than anyone else and as Mac decided to act as a check pilot for the first trip with all new crews, we were asked to fly with one of the Flight Commanders called Flight Lieutenant Pat Percy (known to us as 'Tojo'). This was not a popular move as he was not of the same calibre as Mac but for special trips Mac flew with us and the difference was noticeable by everyone. Tojo was promoted to Squadron Leader in mid-December and we finished the month carrying out 3 daylight and 3 night trips. One of these was as 'Master Bomber' on the Schwammenauel Dam with Mac.

[photograph]
Mildenhall, December 1944
XV Squadron crew, with Lancaster "C" Charlie, ME844

[photograph] [photograph]

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1945

New Year's day opened the month with a 6 hour 5 minute night trip and during the rest of the month a further two night ops and three day trips were completed. On the 14th, returning from Saarbrucken, the East Anglian weather deteriorated so much that all aircraft had to be diverted. We finished up at Predannack in Cornwall and it was an absolute shambles. It is amazing that there were not any collisions as aircraft with very little fuel left tried to get into unknown airfields.

Most of our spare time when 'ops' were not in the offing we used to spend at the Bull at Barton Mills. Mac had his wife Margaret (from Nottingham) and his baby son Ian living there and the whole crew went to keep her company, particularly when Mac himself was not able to be there (see note at end of 1945). He often went with 'Sprog' crews on their first operation, to try and make sure that they were capable of operating on their own. We made many friends from No. 90 Squadron based at Tuddenham, which was also nearby and particularly with a Squadron Leader Pete Dunham and his crew who we subsequently saw blowing up on a daylight operation (see scrapbooks)

Only 2 trips in February (1 day – 1 night) both with Mac, and during this time Johnnie Forster was commissioned and Fred & I took him to London to get kitted out.

About this time I first met Pam. She was going out with Fred and visited him at Mildenhall. For some reason or other we were walking back to camp from the village as a group and Fred chose to go off with somebody else and Pam walked back with me.

Also around about this time I had bought a car and 'passed my test' by driving on leave with 4 passengers down through the centre of London. BAU 62 was a blue Ford saloon named 'EROS' which I bought for £30 at an auction of the effects of a deceased pilot.

Sometime during the month, my sister Joyce came up to visit. She stayed at a small pub quite near the main camp. I have always thought that it was called the George but visits in recent years have failed to find a pub with this name. [italics] (27/05/2014 – Fred Shepherd confirmed that it was "The Bird in Hand" which is just outside the old main gate – Ed) [/italics]

7 Daylight ops during March and mostly with a Canadian bomb-aimer called Tom Butler who stood in for Fred who was deputising for the Bombing Leader. On most of these we led either the Squadron, the Base (No. 32) or the whole Group. A Base was a small group of RAF airfields & 3 Group comprised all the Heavy Bomber Squadrons in East Anglia. All these 'daylights' were flown in quite tight formation – depending on the opposition! To boost moral back at the Squadron, our return over the airfield was always in as tight a formation as possible. On 23rd March we bombed a very precise area on the German side of the Rhine at Wesel (we were the lead aircraft), in preparation for our troops crossing. From all the aircraft bombing, 80 despatched and 77 actually bombed, only one bomb fell outside the perimeter (not us!) and that was as a result of a 'hang up' and not the fault of the crew. In Dudley Saward's authorised biography of "Bomber" Harris, this attack was listed as – 'perhaps the best example of direct support of the Army were the attacks on troop concentrations in Wesel on 23rd March by seventy seven heavies dropping 435.5 tons of bombs immediately prior to the Army launching its crossing of the Rhine and capturing Wesel'. Montgomery wrote to Harris – "My grateful appreciation of the quite magnificent co-operation you have given us. The bombing of Wesel yesterday was a masterpiece and was a decisive factor in making possible our entry into that town before midnight".

At this stage of Bombing Operations in Europe the number of 'Ops' required to complete a 'Tour' changed week by week. At the beginning of the year it was more or less standard at 30 but then it went up, first to 35 then to 40 before coming back down to 35 again in early March. When we went on our 33rd trip on 14th April we still expected to have at least another two to do. It was very much of a pleasant surprise to be told that we had finished as the tour had just been reduced again to 30!! One of the most difficult of trips was always the last with the crew

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so worked up that inevitably things went wrong and the crew failed to return. We were lucky not to have had to go through that trauma. Although so late on in the war, losses were still extremely high, with aircraft being shot down by flak and the more modern German fighters even by rocket aircraft. Losses averaged 5% per trip right up to the end. The end of the European war (VE Day) came on my last day of 'End of Tour' leave and after some celebrations on the way eventually got back to camp to find the mess having a huge party which spread onto the front lawn with fireworks and a colossal bonfire.

Without having much time to think about what was happening, the crew split up and I was posted to Catterick for "Disposal", leaving on the following day. I drove up to Catterick on official petrol coupons and went through the boring process of half choosing and half being told where to go next. At the time it seemed like a good idea to elect for Transport Command to get away from having to stay in Bomber Command and being posted to the Far East in what was known as 'Tiger Force'. I had hoped that I could get on to routes in-and-around Europe!!

After a further leave, when I had to drive on 'acquired' petrol, I was eventually posted to No. 109 Transport OTU Crosby-on-Eden near Carlisle, arriving around the beginning of June. After 4 weeks 'Ground' school – after a false start, I crewed up with:

Pilot – Flying Officer 'Butch' Harris
Signaller – Warrant Officer Ernie Omerod

and flying on DC3 (Dakotas) began on the 7th July and finished on 27th August. On the 1st August the unit was reorganised as 1383 Transport Conversion Unit and it was here that the news of the dropping of the Atom Bombs was announced, as well as the end of the war. Another tremendous party to celebrate.

I was then posted to India! Departed for Morecombe to await transit instructions. Pam came up for few days and we went fishing for Dabs with the others! On 7th October departed for Holmsley South (Hampshire) and the following day we left in a York (MW167) of 246 Squadron for Karachi via Malta, Cairo and Shiebah, arriving on the 10th. Spent a whole month kicking our heels in Mauripur (Karachi) before moving on (see photo album).

On 16th November departed in Sunderland (ML786) for Calcutta. Had a 7 1/2-hour flight, taking-off and landing in the appropriate rivers and enjoying the luxury of a civilian aircraft even though flown by a Wing Commander.

Arrived on 52 Squadron at Dum Dum, Calcutta and almost immediately started route flying in Dakotas. Places visited:

Akyab
Bangkok
Bombay
Canton
Chakulia
Chittagong
Comilla
Hong Kong
Meiktila
Nagpur
Rangoon
Saigon

Although now 3 months since the war finished, there were still the last of the Japanese soldiers (now prisoners) working at various places we flew to and there was much evidence of the utter destruction caused by their occupation. Most of our flights were to ferry the civil and military occupation forces back and forth and even to the more remote areas.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were spent on a round trip to Rangoon via Meiktila where our Xmas Dinner was a bacon 'sarni' (we actually had flown in the bacon!)

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1946

New Year's day was spent en-route to Bombay having only returned the night before from Rangoon again. During the month we flew some 71 hours.

Until 5th May we flew with only very short breaks in between and in one month (March) flew 106 hours. It was in March when we had to divert whilst flying over Hainan Island and the only option open to us was to go to Canton (China). We became the first British aircraft to land there since the beginning of the war. As I was the senior British Officer on board the aircraft, the British Consul would only talk to me even though I was not Captain of the aircraft. He was virtually useless and was going to try and arrange for various families to accommodate us in ones and two? The American Consul offered to put everyone up in his Headquarters and I agreed to this much to the annoyance of the British bloke (I seem to remember his name was HALL). Within a few minutes everything was arranged and all 30 odd people allocated a bed, even though somewhat crowded. The crew adjourned to the bar and, as the song 'Rum & Coca-Cola' was all the rage at the time, that's what we decided to have. It slid down very easily and after eating out at a local Chinese Café we eventually returned rather noisily, tripping over various passengers beds in the process. In the morning 7 of the passengers refused to fly with us and decided to return to Hong-Kong by boat. We did the trip in a matter of minutes whilst they took nearly the whole day. To give them their due, when we met up again in Hong-Kong, their spokesman apologised to us and admitted that we knew our own job better than they thought we did and then he bought us all a further round of 'Rum & Coke'.

Soon after this episode we were allocated a very young 2nd pilot called Terry Glover, who ousted me from my usual position in the right-hand seat. After a very scary let-down into Hong-Kong (letting down well out to sea and flying very low level over the water and between the numerous islands) we were guided by our new pilot into a dead-end which was not very popular with 'Butch', who immediately climbed very rapidly, put me back in the right-hand seat and then did a smart 180 before doing another letdown. This time I was lucky enough to find the right way through the islands and from then on I always sat in the front unless the conditions were CAVU (Clear and Visibility unlimited). In 1946 Kaitak airfield was a very different airfield compared to today. The main runway was usually only used from one end (from seaward) as a 1200ft. mountain blocked the other end. It was just possible to land the other way by just scraping the top of the 'Hill' and cutting back on everything, dropping like a stone then pulling out at the last moment!! We did it a number of times but only when the weather was good and even then it was quite exciting. After the war the whole of the mountain was removed and dumped in the sea at the other end of the runway, thus extending the runway considerably. Photos in the brown embossed album just about show this hill. More pictures in the album show various other views and other places. We stayed in a transit 'Hotel' called the 'Arlington' and did a great deal of sightseeing. Bearing in mind that the colony had only just been recovered from the Japanese, there was plenty to see and do. A suite in the Peninsular Hotel (the largest at the time) had been occupied by the Japanese General commanding the colony and was fitted out to remind him of home and even had a little stream running through the bedroom!!

One of the delights of our stays in Hong-Kong was the chance to be able to drink fresh cold milk and we always made a beeline for the local Milk-Bar as soon as we arrived and indulged in the luxury of a long cold pint!! Food also seemed plentiful and we fed well in one or the other of a Russian Café on the mainland, which was called "Timoschenko's" or the "Paris Grille" over on Kowloon.

Our stops in Saigon were also not without their drama as well as relaxation. The French always resented our having taken over from them and a continuous subtle 'infighting' was always taking place. The airfield was run by a joint-force and both the French and British Flags flew side by side on separate flagpoles over the airfield Control Tower. The British troops started one night by taking the French pole down and sawing a foot off the end before putting it back up so that their flag was slightly lower than ours. Apparently it took them a long time to notice but when they did, they reciprocated. Eventually new flagpoles were required and these

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got progressively longer and longer. One evening we arrived to discover the French very much up in arms because the following day their General Leclerc was coming on an inspection visit and they had caught our chaps taking their flag away altogether. As a result we were prevented from parking our aircraft in its usual position and were made to place it in part of a semi circle of aircraft on the tarmac in front of the Control Tower. We told them that we needed to leave at our usual time the following morning (around 8.30 to 9.00) to give us plenty of time in daylight for the 6 1/2-hour flight to Hong-Kong. They chose to ignore us and insisted we park where they told us, despite our protests. When we arrived early the next morning from our hotel in the town, French troops and a large band were already drawn up inside the semi circle, awaiting the arrival of General Leclerc. We carried out our normal preparations, including starting up the engines and testing them out! This infuriated the French and when we went back into the Control Tower for Met. and Flight Clearance briefing, they threatened to arrest us. The British staff winked, gave us a full briefing, with both Met. and the arrival times of visiting dignitaries, and assured us that they would give us taxi and take-off clearance. Walking casually through the French ranks, we informed one of the officers that they would need to move whilst we taxied out but nobody moved. We then decided that it was time to go, so started up our engines again and called for taxi clearance. We got no reply so started to move forward very slowly. The troops decided to give us room to get through and moved aside, but as we turned it was necessary to rev up the port engine and this we did somewhat more enthusiastically than usual. When we managed to look back the bandsmen were chasing their sheet music all over the airfield, so we gave an extra blast just to complete the havoc. As we did so the controller came through advising us to take off immediately and clear the area. Once airborne, the British controller bid us 'good-day' and thanked us for our 'co-operation' and we could hear the glee in his voice. Almost immediately we were formatted upon by 4 Free French Spitfires and we had visions of them shooting us down. However, they stayed with us for nearly 10 minutes before breaking away sharply and going back the way we had come. We found out on the return visit that they thought we were the General's aircraft and that the General's aircraft had landed before they got back. Apparently he was NOT amused to have to arrive without an escort and the Band still not fully reformed!!

On top of all this there were Dacoits and Bandits operating in the area, and there were gunfights around the airfield and Saigon on a number of occasions. Despite all this we enjoyed our leisure in Saigon, the French Club 'Ciercle Sportif' (see Photos).

About this time, I had applied for a job with BOAC through Mr. Robson who was something to do with the Ministry of Transport. I had been given a very good character assessment by our Squadron Commander (see his remarks in my Log-Book) and had hoped that the experience of 'route' flying would stand me in good stead.

In mid May we were given 2 weeks leave and we decided to find the coolest spot we could, so decided to visit Darjeeling. We went by train to a place called Siliguri, which is at the base of the Himalayas. By the time we got there we were hotter than ever and did not relish another train ride up to Darjeeling. However, we joined a miniature train which slowly but surely wound its way up the mountains and it got progressively cooler all the time. When it got near to the top it was going round and round like a corkscrew and in many places it was possible to step off the train, as it was moving very slowly, and then walk up a few steps to meet the line again and wait for the train to come past again. There is a picture of this in the photo album and this little railway is in fact quite famous. By the time we reached Darjeeling I was freezing cold and we had to hang about whilst accommodation was arranged for us. I remember flopping down on a bed in a dingy "guest house" and the next thing I remembered was waking up in the local Forces Hospital. It seemed that I had gone down with a severe bout of flu and some other chest bug as well. I was extremely well looked after in this hospital and there were a number of Sikh and Ghurka officers in the place as well. They all had serious complaints of some sort but as I got better they were a good crowd to be with. Towards the end of the 14 days leave, the others that I had come up to Darjeeling with departed back to Calcutta and I was given an indefinite extension, with sick leave on top. Before leaving the hospital, I was taken by the others to visit the highest racecourse in the world. It was at a place called Lebong and was at 14,000 feet. It was about the size of a large football ground and spent most of the time in

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cloud. Betting was a hazardous affair, as it was not unknown for the horses to disappear into cloud on the far side of the curse, only to re-appear in a completely different order when they came back into view! However, it was very pleasant to be able to sit in a reserved box, rather like the Royal Box at Epsom, drinking our cool drinks and placing a bet when the mood took us. We never ever won anything but nevertheless didn't lose much either. One morning, very early, a whole gang of us hired horses and rode the 15 miles or so to a place called Tiger Hill where we hoped to witness sunrise over Everest. We did see Everest but the sunrise was not quite where we had thought it should be. It was a magnificent sight, however, and well worth the effort to get there. The ride back was less pleasant and we all finished up vowing never to ride a horse again. Needless to say I never have.

One of the patients from the Hospital was a chap called Captain Weston who had a very rare skin complaint which was caused by the heat and humidity of the climate on the plains. His skin peeled off in layers and as a result he nearly died. It was only in the cool of the hills that his skin was able to grow again but as soon as the Medics tried to get him back home the whole process started again. Apparently on one occasion they got him as far as Calcutta ready to catch a plane out but unfortunately the aircraft takeoff was delayed and they had to rush him back to Darjeeling having already lost nearly the whole of his skin again and once again seriously ill. I have often wondered what ever happened to him when I left.

So many people out in India and the Far East suffered from skin problems as well as the dysentery types of disease. Apart from the time in Darjeeling I cannot remember being free from some form of diarrhoea varying from slight to chronic as well as 'Prickly Heat'. We all took Malarial prevention tablets called Mepachrine, which gave a yellowy tinge to the skin. Having the 'Trots' while flying was somewhat of a problem in itself. The Dakota only had one toilet and with 35 odd passengers most of whom suffered from the same problem made things somewhat complicated!! The prickly heat was no respecter of rank and once we had an Air Commodore on board who asked if he could come up front so that he could take his Bush Jacket off and get some cold air to his body. I had never before seen anyone who was so badly affected. His whole body was one mass of it and most was infected through scratching. We opened the side windows for him and after about an hour's flying he got some slight relief. He was most grateful to us and thanked us profusely before going back to the cabin to exercise his authority over the more junior members of his party. The Medics had no cures for any of these problems in those days although they could bring some help to the dysentery sufferers.

I was very reluctant to leave the cool of Darjeeling but eventually had to and took a mad taxi ride down through the tea plantations to the railway at Siliguri and almost finished up with a heart attack as the driver was desperate to show off his skill at negotiating hairpin bends on two wheels and only one hand on the steering. The road drops from about 12,000 feet to sea level in something like 15 miles and did not seem to go more than a few hundred yards without at least one hairpin to turn back on itself. The heat at sea level hit me like an oven and the train ride back to Calcutta was enough to make me swear never to complain about being too cold again. When you are cold at least you can find some way of keeping warm but there was absolutely no way out there that you could cool off when you were too hot.

Back in Calcutta the Monsoon had started with a vengeance but I was immediately informed that I was on the next 'demob' contingent and also that I had been offered a job as Navigator with BOAC as soon as I was 'demobbed'. Very soon after I was on the train again, en-route to Bombay. This took 3 days and we played cards nearly the whole time. I swore that I would never play 'Solo' again after that. It was sweltering hot the whole time and we had all the windows open to catch the air from the movement of the train but most of the time we just got the smoke and smuts from the engine. Food was only available at each of the many stops and since the train was only carrying troops it was a mad rush each time and more often than not we had to scramble back onto the train as it started to pull out of the station without having got anything.

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At Bombay we waited in the transit camp at WORLI until our turn came. After about two weeks we finally boarded the SS Samaria, a small passenger boat, which we were told would take 13-14 days to reach home. As we sailed out of the harbour a large liner steamed in and we were told that it would embark its passengers and sail again within 12 hours and only take 7 days to get home. Sure enough the following day we were galled to see it steaming passed [sic] us with all the troops on her decks jeering at us as they shot past. We were absolutely livid at the time and as everyone was anxious to get home as soon as possible we all felt hard done by. However, we heard later that the liner had broken down and had turned round and gone back to Bombay during the night. Like the tortoise and the hare the laugh was on us as we chugged slowly but surely and arrived in Liverpool after 12 days.

After disembarking we were quickly put through the 'demob' procedure including handing in our air force kit, medicals and being issued with civilian clothes and a rail warrant home and with the minimum of fuss we caught the train to London. All this happened within 24 hours of disembarking and, similarly quickly, arrangements were made for our Wedding on 19th October at St. Andrews church Leytonstone. After a Honeymoon in Hastings I was due to start with BOAC at the beginning of November. However, following a visit to my old civilian company to tell them that I did not want my old job back, I was introduced to Air Commodore Powell who was running SILVER CITY AIRWAYS and decided to join them instead, which I did on 5th November. On the 8th I was navigating an Avro Lancastrian G-AHBW (City of London) from London Heathrow to Nairobi Eastleigh, Captained by Ex-Wing Commander Johnny Sauvage DSO & bar, DFC, arriving back to the 4 huts of Heathrow on the 24th. During December we did 3 trips to Malta and back, one of them in the then record time of 4 hours 55 minutes (see cutting from the Malta Times). Thus ended a very eventful Year.

[photograph]
Sliver [sic] City Airways – December 1946
Johnny Sauvage and crew with Lancastrian G-AHBW “City of London”

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1947

At the end of my RAF Transport Command Course at Crosby on Eden in 1945, I had been
awarded a certificate which was recognised by the Department of Civil Aviation. Also in February 1946 I had been awarded a Second Class Navigation Warrant number 422, which was also recognised by the D of CA. Whilst working in the office of Silver City Airways (1 Great Cumberland Place, London), I was able to study the additional subjects required to obtain a Civil Aircraft Navigator's Licence. I passed all except [underlined] signalling [/underlined] and re-took this and one other subject to obtain full First Class Civil Licence in May. After another full aircrew medical, licence number 2116 was issued on 7th June 1947.

On 13th June I started flying again with Captain Storm-Clark in G-AHBV "City of Canberra" to Verona. After a further 2 months in their office (during which time Terry was born, we moved from 63 Fladgate Road, Leytonstone, to38 Warham Road, South Croydon, as well as attending a XV Squadron reunion at the Holborn Restaurant on 22nd August), I joined up with Captain R. C. "Hoppy" Hopkins as his navigator on a VIP Dakota G-AJAV. This aircraft was very luxuriously fitted out, with only 6 seats and very superior accommodation. Hoppy immediately 'promoted' me to 'pupil pilot under instruction' and I spent most of my flying time with him sitting in the second pilot's seat, often on my own, while he chatted with the passengers. We flew to France, Belgium, Germany, Portugal and Iceland, as well as locally. I was very disappointed when the aircraft was chartered to fly Churchill out to Marrakesh and I was taken out of the crew. Another pilot took my place to act as formal second pilot/navigator. Hoppy was very upset particularly as the new chap was not a very experienced pilot and had never previously acted as navigator. He had long arguments with the MD of the company (Air Commodore Powell) expressing the opinion that he 'would rather fly with an experienced navigator who at a pinch could fly the aircraft than fly with a not very experienced pilot who, at a pinch, might possibly be able to navigate the aircraft'. Unfortunately the MD would not give way and blamed the charterers, who had insisted on there being two qualified pilots on board and the firm could not afford to have a crew of four (excluding stewards etc.).

In the event I was sent to Belfast to pick up a crew to ferry a Sandringham flying-boat to Buenos Aires. The pilot was called 'Pappy' Carreras (because of his age) and we got on famously together. As well as navigator I was 'promoted' to become 'Mooring Officer', which meant that I stood in the bows to slip the mooring before take-off and had to attempt to catch the mooring buoy with a boat-hook on landing. I had thought that slipping the mooring would be very simple but more often than not it was impossible to do as the aircraft was pulling against the tide and the loop would not come off without the engines being revved hard to take up the slack. Often we surged forward so quickly that I did not have time to get the loop off before we were passing the buoy – still attached to it. Mooring after landing was also just as tricky and I lost a number of boat-hooks before I finally mastered the technique!!

On the way we ate and slept in the 'boat' as the accommodation and cooking facilities were superb. On the leg between Dakar (West Africa) and Natal (Brazil), Pappy commented that although he had done the crossing a number of times, he had never seen Saint Paul's rocks. I gaily said that this time we would see them, not realising how small they were in the wide expanse of ocean. He immediately took me up on it and some 8 hours later (the crossing took 10 hours 20 minutes) was more than astonished when I suggested that if the others were to look out of the starboard windows they might see the rocks in about 5 minutes time. More by pure luck than anything to do with me, we passed them some 6 minutes later about 1/2 mile away. From then on I could do no wrong!!

Pappy had flown during the Spanish Civil War in 1936 but unfortunately for him – on the wrong side – so that he was no longer able to go home. His flying with F.A.M.A. (Flota Aerea Merchante Argentina) meant that he had to be very careful not to ever get diverted to Spain.

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Christmas day was spent in Buenos Aires and I was able to buy some presents there that I could not get at home. (A Tri-ang bus (No. 15) and Xmas Decorations – some of which are still in use today!!) We arrived back in London on New Years Eve (without Pappy who of course normally operated from B.A.)

As a result of my various trips abroad I did not spend much time at home, although when I did, I usually was able to have plenty of time-off from work.

Sometime round about October, Terry had gone into Great Ormond St. Hospital to have a growth removed from his neck. It was more difficult to remove than had originally been thought and when he was able to come home he became very ill with Gastro Enteritis and was taken to the Mayday Hospital in Croydon. He was desperately ill to start off with and took a long time to recover.

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1948

Worked mostly in the office until April, having attended a 52 Squadron Reunion at the Waldorf Hotel on 20th February when, on 8th April, I ferried a MOSQUITO out of Turkey via Jersey & Rome landing at IZMIR. Had trouble with Turkish Customs over three wooden deer bought in Rome. They could not seem to understand way anyone should want to buy such things! An insight into to [sic] the mentality of the Turks we came into contact with is highlighted by the fact that the Turkish government had purchased 100 odd SPITFIRES and a similar number of 'Mossies'. The deliveries were almost complete by the time we took ours out there but they only had managed to have one Mosquito & two Spits' remaining serviceable by that time. The story goes that one Spitfire XI was delivered one evening and the pilot handed it over to the ground crew asking if there was anything they wanted to know about it. During the night it rained hard and when they were getting it ready for a test flight they discovered that the cockpit had a pool of water in it. To cover up the fact that the cockpit hood had been left open in the rain, one bright spark took his drill with the biggest bit that he could find and bored a series of holes in the floor and to let the water drain out!! The Turkish pilot duly took off but came back in after a fairly short flight and refused to sign the acceptance certificate because the aircraft would not pressurise. Apparently the Spitfire XI was one of the first aircraft to have cockpit pressurisation!!!

In May we went to Canada to pick up a Dakota which had just been converted for a company in South Africa. I stayed in Montreal whilst the rest of the crew went down into the States to pick it up. At the time I thought the whole set-up seemed strange but the fact that aircraft were being flown illegally into Israel at the time never occurred to me. Eventually we set off from Montreal to Newfoundland but I didn't prepare properly and we wandered miles off course and I was unable to get a pinpoint fix because I could not recognise any ground feature. Since I had been sitting in the second pilot's seat I eventually decided to go back and try to fathom out why we were 'lost'. After a long period I suddenly realised what I had done wrong – I had borrowed a Canadian map that had the various airline tracks marked on and along the side were the courses to steer. What I had not noticed was that they were magnetic and not [underlined] true [/underlined] bearings. I had applied a correction for the wind and applied variation as usual to arrive at the course for the pilot to steer. As variation in that part of the world was something like 30 degrees, we had in fact been flying 30 degrees off course!! Once I had sussed this out I was soon able to recognise where we were and to start pointing us back in the right direction. Sighs of relief all round!! If we had had some decent radio equipment aboard it would not have been so bad but the aircraft was stripped right down to bare essentials – In retrospect another odd thing.

When we landed at GANDER my preparation was suddenly very much more thorough, the next leg being across the Atlantic. With the fuel that we could carry there were three choices of route bearing in mind the winds that could be expected in the weather systems that existed. First, to head straight across to Ireland and make for Shannon – this was ruled-out as there would be barely enough fuel to do it. Second, to go southwards to the Azores. This was the best for fuel, wind & weather but without radio navigation aids was rather risky – if we missed our landfall there was nowhere to divert to within range of the fuel remaining (if any!). Third, to head for Iceland, which was much the nearest. Unfortunately, with the low-pressure system to the north, the winds would be headwind and very strong. This would again leave us very short of fuel and, as well as this, the landing conditions forecast were not very good. As a result of our discussions we decided that unless we waited a couple of days for the weather to improve, we should consider a fourth possibility of taking the short leg to Greenland, refuelling and then heading for Iceland the following day. This would only, so we thought, take one more day and would allow us to assess the fuel situation when approaching Iceland and perhaps carry on direct to Scotland and, in fact, save us time. This we finally decided to do and although we were unable to get clearance due to radio interference, the controller assured us that it would be alright as he would radio through later on whilst we were on our way. After a very frightening flight to Bluey West One, up a long fiord, we arrived only to be refused landing permission as the flight had not been cleared. Since there was no way we could get back to Gander and there were no other diversions they eventually agreed to let us land. When we did

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the aircraft was surrounded with soldiers and we were told that we would be interned until clearance could be obtained from Washington because of the Israeli situation!!

So there we sat for 7 days whilst the powers-that-be decided what to do with us. We had all bought loads of food to bring home as meat was still rationed and other foodstuffs were in short supply. We had a small fridge on board the aircraft but they would not allow us to run one engine to keep it cold and they would not store it for us. There we were, surrounded by huge Glaciers, whilst all our 'loot' went slowly off. In the end we had to dump nearly all of it. I got sunburned sitting on the nearest glacier and this did little to improve our tempers. Eventually on the 7th day we were allowed to file a flight plan to Weeks (Iceland) and we took off at 22.45 that night. At that time of year it was still almost broad daylight and we landed and refuelled in Iceland, at night but still light enough to see. Two hours later we were off again and landed at Prestwick after a 5hr 40min flight.

After this I was transferred back to flying with Hoppy but in a Bristol Wayfarer (freighter) this time. The first trip was to Karachi via all the short legs possible. We were delayed in Nicosia whilst a new propeller was sent out and we helped the engineer to change it. There was no help forthcoming from the locals (civilian & RAF) although I cannot remember why. This took 7 days and then we were delayed for a further 9 days by the Iraqi Government, so that the whole trip had taken 24 days. It was about the time of Partition in India and the whole of the region was in turmoil. I met a chap that I knew well who was running some form of charter company out there, who offered me a job on the spot, at a ludicrously high salary, if I would join him the same day. The offer was so attractive that I was sorely tempted but I did not want to break my contract with Silver City and leave Hoppy in the lurch. I suspected that the job was either gun running or illegal transport of refugees, so in the end I turned it down. I was to learn later, that the day after we left he tried to take off from Karachi and the plane was so grossly overloaded in the tail that it stalled just after becoming airborne and all aboard were killed outright. As we suspected the cargo was found to be arms and ammunition!!

The next trip was out to Iraq on charter to IPC (Iraqi Petroleum Company) and we flogged up and down the oil pipelines. Having been stuck in Baghdad last trip we had all suffered from the lack of liquid refreshment (alcohol banned and water somewhat 'iffy'), so I bought two bottles of orange squash in Malta to take with us. When I opened my case in Baghdad I discovered a somewhat wet and sticky mess where one of the bottle tops had come loose. Just about everything was covered in juice but it was not until we got to Bahrein that I was able to get everything washed and the case swilled out! It was lucky that we stayed there an extra day or else I would have had to bring the whole soggy mess back home with me. As it was the case was never the same again, even when I relined the inside with brown paper. Terry had the case for a number of years and finally gave it back to me in 1991!

At the end of September I, along with a number of other navigators, was made redundant and then I started my first experience of having to hunt for a job to keep the family fed!! I applied for a job with Flota Aerea Merchante Argentina and, along with another navigator from Silver City called Ross Plews, was called for an interview in their offices in the West-End. We were horrified to see a crowd of 20 or 30 people waiting and spilling out on to the pavement outside. We debated what to do and had decided that, as we were almost the last ones there, it was not worthwhile waiting. We were just about to walk away, when who should try to push past us than Pappy Carreras, who immediately asked me what the crowd was about. When we explained her said, "Wait there while I check in". This we did and within minutes we were called to the front of the queue, much to the disgust of most of the others, and both of us went into for interview to discover Pappy sitting at the long desk with three other officials and I was introduced to the others by him. He then said, "this is the chap I have flown with down to BA and he is the one I would choose without seeing any of the others. If his friend is as good as him we may as well take him on as well – has anyone any objections? – No! – Good! – That's it then! – Let's send all the others away. Welcome to FAMA Dennis – You are hired”.

That's how I came to be flying on an Argentinean York, en-route to Buenos Aires in the first week of November. We were delayed in Natal for three days whilst an engine fault was

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corrected and I got badly sunburned whilst swimming in the sea when there was no shade. Having arrived in Buenos Aires we were met with welcoming arms and I started to look around for somewhere to live but very shortly after a new decree was issued by Eva Peron (she was the power behind throne!) limiting the number of non-nationals working in the country. As FAMA was 75% British, 15% German and the rest Argentinean, this caused immediate problems and, since we were the last to arrive, we were scheduled as the first to go. I was offered the opportunity to navigate a force of Lincolns as a show of strength over the 'Malvinas', provided I gave up my British nationality and took on Argentine citizenship. This I refused to do and so started a week of negotiations to collect some form of compensation and what was already due to me. The expression 'mañana' really came into play and it took all our wits to find someone high enough in the organisation who had the power to do something about our plight. They, in their turn, did everything they could to beat down our demands. Once again it was Pappy Carreras who came to our rescue and we eventually got a flight back with Pappy (see 'Crossing the Line' certificate) landing back in London on the 3rd of December. We came via Madrid and Pappy had been given permission for the very first time to re-enter Spain. Even then he decided to stay in the Airport – just in case.

Once I got back I was quite surprised to get a number of phone calls from various firms offering me a job and I was able to pick and choose, finally agreeing to start at the beginning of the New Year with Flight Refuelling, the firm founded in 1934 by Sir Alan Cobham to investigate the use of air refuelling, and who's pioneering system is still in use today. The BERLIN AIRLIFT was under way and all the Charter firms were fighting for the work that it generated.

[logo] Berlin Airlift [emblem]
[drawing]
[inserted] TX 276/1281 [/inserted]

AVRO LANCASTRIAN – FLIGHT REFUELLING LTD
47403

On 23 June 1948, the Soviet forces occupying the eastern part of Germany blockaded all rail, road and waterway supply routes from the Allied Western Occupation Zones in Berlin. With less than one month’s supply of food and fuel, the prospects for the two and a half million Berliners looked bleak. Only three severely restricted air routes remained as a lifeline between the besieged city and the western world. The Allies responded immediately with a miracle of logistics – The Berlin Airlift. Codenamed Operation Vittles by the USAF, and Operation Plainfare by the RAF, over a period of 11 months Allied aircraft made thousands of flights into the cramped airspace of Berlin and succeeded in supplying everything the city needed. Every available aircraft from RAF Transport Command was in service, as well as hundreds of USAF aircraft and even civil charter firms were called upon to supplement the effort. The operation became so skilled that the Soviet Command eventually realised that they had failed and on 12 May 1949 the blockade was finally lifted.
Avro Lancastrian G-AGWI represents an aircraft which was originally delivered to British South American Airways (BSAA) at Heathrow in January 1946. The aircraft was registered to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for a short period in 1948 before being sold to Flight Refuelling in January 1949. The aircraft was then allotted fleet no. Tanker 26 and flew 226 sorties on the Berlin Airlift.
[inserted] I FLEW IN 13 OF THEM [/inserted] [diagram]

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1949

I report to Flight Refuelling at Tarrant Rushton and am crewed up with a very experienced ex-Air Lingus pilot. It was not until later that I was to discover that he had been sacked from them due to being drunk in flight! After an air test we departed in a Lancastrian for Wuntsdorf just outside Hanover on 13th January. The airfield was RAF and being used by them to fly Yorks on the airlift. It was very crowded with both aircraft and people and we were billeted in a small place called Bad Nenndorf about 10 miles away. There was a reasonable sized Hotel where all Flight Refuelling crews were accommodated. The following day we did two trips into Gatow carrying PETROL.

B.T. O'reilly was the name of the pilot and he became somewhat of a legend on the lift. However he was not a very reliable pilot when sober and, although he boasted that he could land the aircraft better 'on a sea of gin' than any other time, sometimes he was positively dangerous. On one occasion whilst flying into Gatow, I saw him climb out of his seat and then push past me and go to the back of the aircraft. I thought it would be a good idea to go forward and keep an eye on the instruments to make sure 'George' was doing its job properly. To my consternation, I saw that the aircraft was trimmed into a shallow dive (perhaps to counter his moving to the toilet at the rear of the aircraft?) and there was no sign of him returning back to his seat. When we descended below 1,000 feet I decided to get into his seat and was absolutely astounded to discover that the autopilot was not even engaged. I climbed it back up to the proper altitude and called the wireless operator to go and look for 'BT'. He reported back to say that 'BT' was 'out cold' on one of the seats at the back and he could not get him to register that he was needed! At this point we were committed to carry on towards Gatow as we were in the air corridor in the Russian Zone, so I decided that I would make up some story to over fly Gatow and hope that by the time we had got back to Wuntsdorf 'BT' might have surfaced. In the event, just as we approached the Beacon to start letting down to land, 'BT' pushed up to the front and demanded to know why I was in the pilot's seat. We swapped over and I pointed out that he had not put 'George' in when he went down the back. His reaction was happily to say, "these aircraft fly themselves!!" and then carried on to make a perfect landing. I was must relieved when I was asked to take an aircraft back to Tarrant Rushton with another pilot and never had to fly with him again. I was crewed up with a better chap on our return to Germany.

At the end of April we moved to Hamburg and started flying into Tegel instead of Gatow. In June I was allocated yet another pilot who was very young and inexperienced and I was not over happy with him either. When we were withdrawn from the airlift in mid-July, I had completed 89 flights back and forth to Berlin and also carried out a number of ferrying flights to Tarrant Rushton. (See Lecture Notes and 50th Anniversary Celebrations 1999)

[photograph]
With Col. Gail S. Halvorsen – "The chocolate pilot"
Berlin Airlift 50th Anniversary, Berlin 1999

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Two books fully detail the Berlin airlift and the part played by the civil participants (they have been suitably annotated). The one by Robert Rodrigo is the better of the two.

The end of the airlift deposited hundreds of aircrew (many of whom had only just come back into flying for the good money) on to the job market and I was unable to find another flying post. Thus ended my civil flying career.

After flying for so long, finding an ordinary job where my abilities would be of some use and would be recognized by prospective employers, was very difficult. One day I saw a friend from schooldays called Peter Filldew whom I had met at Mildenhall during the war, where he was the orderly-room clerk. He suggested he might be able to get me a job with his firm of Estate Agents (Fielder & Partners) in South Croydon. He obviously gave me a glowing recommendation as my interview was quite short, and I was offered a job as a Negotiator with a very low salary but very good commission on completion of any property that I obtained for their books or was instrumental in selling. The work was very hard and I had to spend long and unsociable hours including Saturdays & Sundays but I managed reasonably well once I gained the necessary confidence.

Soon afterwards we moved house to 248 Croydon Road and this stretched our resources to almost breaking point. The car, BAU 62, which I had bought during the war, had to go and I only managed to get £5 for it and it almost broke my heart to see it being driven away. The bungalow cost something like £1,200 and I got somewhat into debt to raise even the 10% and buying fees. Everything was based on my getting the commission on sales that I thought I should be able to earn. 1949 ended with me still working for Fielder.

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1950

One day at Fielder's, I overheard the receptionist speaking on the phone to someone called Macfarlane and casually asked what were his initials. On being told that they were N.G., I asked to speak to him and asked if he recognised my voice which, after a short pause, he did and we immediately arranged to meet. This caused uproar from the sales manager called Chillcot, who insisted that Mac was already one of [italics] his [/italics] clients and I was not to be allowed to deal with him. All my explanations fell on deaf ears and I had to phone from home to explain this to Mac. He agreed to phone up and cancel the appointment we had made and say that he was not interested anymore. We arranged to meet one lunchtime and go home to our bungalow. I then told the Sales Manager that through his stupidity we had lost a good client and this started an antagonism between us.

The meeting with Mac was quite an event and he suggested that I should re-apply to come back into the RAF and he would back my application if he could. He was still a Wing Commander but holding a post at the Air Ministry and he thought he should be able to pull a few strings.

As a result of this meeting I decided to apply and, after a long wait, was called for interview by a panel, who seemed to feel that wartime service was not a good recommendation for a peacetime commission and they did not even listen to what I had done subsequently. After a further long wait I received a letter addressed to Flight Lieutenat [sic] D. Moore informing me that they were unable to offer me a commission but they would be prepared to let me return as 'NAV 2' (which was the same as Sgt.) As much as I would have dearly loved to have got back into the Service, my pride would not let me accept such a reduction in rank and I therefore wrote back straight away telling them what I thought of their offer.

Working for Chilcott became very difficult and it was obvious that things would come to a head soon. Just when I was expecting to start collecting my first big commissions I was told that I was no good at the job and 'fired'. They would only pay me up until the last day at the basic rate, and no commission money. I appealed to Fielder but he was obviously being influenced by his sales manager and would not help me.

On the job market again, I could only get menial jobs, first as a temp in what then equated to the DHSS issuing new National Insurance Cards and then a more permanent job in the Gas Company working in their costing department. My job was to cost out all the job sheets for the week from the job rates for the various jobs and individuals. This job was running weeks behind when I joined and it did not take long before I was able to catch up and sit waiting for the current week's work dockets to arrive. When the head of my section saw this he 'warned me off' and checked every item of my work so that we looked as though we were still working weeks behind time again. This got very frustrating and I started to look around for another job.

Through the good offices of the Officers' Association I was passed a number of job openings and eventually was interviewed by a firm of grocery distributors called Harvey Bradfield & Toyer. They wanted a salesman to help introduce a Milton's product called Deosan to cafés & restaurants as a means of getting to be their suppliers for groceries as well. I was given the whole of South London to canvas and had to do it all by 'cold selling' and without the use of any transport of my own. Fortunately I made my number with the Public Health Office and frequently got called by them to visit establishments that they had found to be 'unhealthy' and I was able to introduce 'The Deosan method of food hygiene' to them quite easily. I found that the standard of cleanliness in most places I visited to be almost non-existent and the large 'posh' Hotels were the worst. I found this job quite interesting but although I did not feel I was doing a very good job of it, the firm seemed quite happy with my work.

1950 ended with me still trudging around south London and hardly making enough money to live on. Christine had been born on May 28th and this did not make things any easier.

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1951

At the beginning of the year I was still working for H.B.T. and being called-on to visit various places in the South London Area. I asked for a special visit to the Head Office to discuss my work with my boss, who still seemed quite happy with what I was doing but made no effort to increase my wages. I do not remember exactly what I actually earned each week but it was round about £50 per month.

During the last week in March I was in Croydon on a visit and decided to call again on my friend in the Recruiting Office, and here I was asked if I had thought about applying to rejoin the RAF. When I explained about having applied once already and had only been offered 'Master Aircrew' which I had turned down, the Senior Recruiting Officer asked if I would mind if he phoned Air Ministry to find out what the latest situation was. I was quite happy for him to do this and did not expect anything to come of it. It was quite a surprise when he phoned me the next day to say that if I were to apply again I would be given every consideration, so I got him to help me fill in the necessary forms which he duly sent in. It was only a few days later that I was called for interview at the Air Ministry and I went with a totally different attitude to the previous time. When asked the first question which inevitably was 'Why do you want to rejoin the RAF' I decided to take the offensive and replied 'I am not sure if I do – I want you to convince me that I should'. From this point on I could do no wrong.

A greater part of the interview came from a Group Captain on the panel who kept asking me questions about the Argentine and seemed genuinely interested in the answers that I gave. The panel were all smiling when I left and the 'Groupie' asked me to wait for him outside. He then told me that I would be hearing within the next few days – at which I laughingly said that the last time I had heard that remark it had taken over 6 weeks for them to contact me. He assured me that he literally meant 'the next few days' and then asked me if I would wait for him and walk down to the Tube with him. This I did and he told me that he was due to be posted as the next Air Attaché in Buenos Aires hence his interest in my comments.

Two days later I was called for an Aircrew Medical and, having passed this easily enough, was offered a new commission in the RAF as a Flying Officer to start at Air Ministry on April 16th (this was barely 3 weeks since I visited the Recruiting Office in Croydon). Needless to say I accepted and duly reported for duty on the day required and then spent a month getting kitted out and doing some odd jobs for a Wing Commander in one of the departments there. Along with 13 other people reported to Central Navigation School at Shawbury on 23rd May for a Navigation Instructors Course. I teamed up with Jimmy Cuthill (with whom I shared a room) and Bob Hunter (who was a Canadian serving in the RAF).

[photograph]
Navigation Instructors Course, Shawbury 1951

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On 17th June I went with most of the others to Sick Quarters to have our inoculations brought up to date and as soon as I had had mine I began to feel odd. We all trouped back to the classroom and settled down to a lecture on 'how not to lecture' and I could feel myself 'blowing up like a balloon' and my heart racing like mad. I bemoaned the fact that I had never had a reaction to 'jabs' before and I really did feel rough. The Instructor eventually noticed that there was something wrong and told me to go back to the Mess and lie down. I remember 'floating' back and one of two gardeners asking me for the time and me just laughing back at them because I could not see the time on my watch. The next thing I knew was someone asking me how I felt and me just laughing like a mad thing again, and then later somebody standing over me and saying "I am just going to inject some adrenalin into you – you will find yourself shaking but try not to fight it – just let yourself go". I was then carried out to an ambulance and taken to the Station hospital. It seemed like hours before the shaking stopped but eventually it did and I felt very much better – in fact even asked for something to eat as I was hungry! Needless to say, I did not get a meal but was allowed a drink. After a while the M.O. (doctor) came to see me and explained what had happened. I had suffered an 'angino-neurotic' type of reaction to the inoculation and this was extremely rare and quite often fatal unless caught in time. It seems that when the lesson finished everyone wandered back to the Mess for lunch and, since it was a little late, everyone went straight in to eat except Jimmy Cuthill, who decided he ought to check up to see how I was. He found me unconscious on the bed and immediately called for the M.O. but could not find him. Fortunately he looked in the dining room and when he saw him eating his lunch insisted that he came up to our room immediately. The M.O. told me that if I had been left much longer I could very well have died. The humorous part of the story was that, after a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast in bed, I felt completely fit and was allowed to rejoin the others in class. They were all sitting moaning about sore arms and feeling rotten and I was 'feeling no pain' and was able to 'lord' it over them for the rest of the day!

Flying started on my Birthday on Mark XI Wellingtons! and the course finished with an overseas flight using special navigation techniques (Grid Navigation). I was then posted to No. 1 Air Navigation School at Thorney Island and I reported there on 13th August. This was a prime posting and I was very pleased to get such a good one. However, it soon became obvious that something was not quite right. When I applied for married quarters I was told that I would not be considered "just yet" and no explanation was given when I queried this. When I tried to find out which courses I would be looking after I was allocated as course tutor and then, a little later, told that I was to be held in reserve pending the arrival of another course tutor. I then learnt that this new chap was Les Dibb who had been in the same Group at Shawbury and had hoped to be posted to Thorney but had eventually been posted to Lindholme. It then became fairly obvious that some 'string pulling' had been going on by someone at Thorney.

For the Open Day at Thorney I had arranged for Pam to bring Terry down for the day to look around and see the show. Nobody was more disappointed than me to have to tell her when she arrived that we were not going to be staying, since I had just been informed that my posting to Thorney was cancelled and that I was to report to No. 5 Air Navigation School at Lindholme on 19th September. Terry enjoyed the show until two aircraft flew over and dropped bags of flour (to represent bombs) and fake bangs designed to simulate the explosions & the crashes from the 'Anti Aircraft guns' frightened the life out of him. He yelled his head off and did not want to see anything else and all he wanted to do was to go home.

Just before leaving Thorney I met Ernie Ormerod (signaller) from back in 1946 as well as another signaller that I knew called 'Chuck' Radcliffe who was also on 52 Sqn. I really did not have enough time to do more than say hello before I was on my way.

I duly reported to Lindholme somewhat bitter about the whole thing but was immediately made Course Tutor under Flight Lieutenant 'Mick' Munday on No. 2 Long Navigation Refresher Course. This comprised 6 Officers and 1 NCO who had either been off flying for some long time or who had just come back into the Service. One of them, Flt.Lt. Willis, had been on the same course as me at ITW in Newquay. At the time he was re-mustering from Corporal SP

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(RAF Police) and we had given him a hard time during 'rough and tumble' games on the Beach. He subsequently became the Navigator with Prince Charles when he was learning to fly. They were a good crowd and I got on well with all of them. Our Classroom was a concrete hut, which had been used by the Poles as a church during the war and all the walls had been panelled with carved wood and decorated with religious artefacts. I could not get into quarters so I started looking around for somewhere to live (without much success), so I had travel up and down to Beddington whenever I could manage a weekend off. Without a car it was very difficult but I did manage to get lifts from time to time.

[photograph]
[underlined] No.2 L.N.R. COURSE. [underlined]
BACK ROW:- F/LT. CARR, F/O. GREEN, SGT. JONES, F/O. SWINFIELD.
FRONT ROW:- F/LT. WILLIS, F/O. D. MOORE, F/LT. H. MUNDAY, F/LT. HINGE, F/LT. ROWLAND.
NEGATIVE No LIND 290G 9 UN52/UNCLASSIFIED

When the Long Nav. refresher course finished we started to run navigation courses for National Service people. We found this to be very frustrating as most of those on the course were not the slightest bit interested in what they were doing and they had only chosen to become 'Navigators' as an easy way to spend their time instead of becoming 'PBI' (soldiers!) It was further made much worse when we were informed from a higher source that none of them were to be 'failed' (some political reason no doubt). One of them (a Pilot Officer Simpson) was so bad and such a bad influence on the others that we fought tooth and nail to get him 'scrubbed' but all we did was to made [sic] trouble for ourselves for 'making waves'. I shall always remember his face when he eventually 'passed out' as a navigator and was promoted to Flying Officer. He boasted openly that he was cleverer than us because he had 'beaten the system'. At the time I could only hope that he never had to put a flying crew at risk, as he would surely kill them all and himself as well. I often wonder what happened to him.

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1952

In the New Year we decided to sell the Bungalow and find somewhere up near Lindholme whenever we could. I negotiated with a Sergeant Paine who wanted to sell his car, and he agreed to accept a deposit and the balance as soon as we had sold the house. I did make it clear that I could not possibly pay him until the money came through from the solicitors and we had not even found a buyer for the Bungalow. At the time he seemed quite happy to agree to this but later had doubts and then started to cause me hassle. The car was a Hillman Minx Reg. No. FA7136, which served us well until about 1956.

In the meantime I found a house that the RAF were prepared to take on as a 'hiring' in Crabtree Drive at Five Lane Ends, Skellow, Just off the A1, about 7 miles North of Doncaster and I was able to start setting up a home there. Nowadays the Motorway around Doncaster rejoins the A1 just there and you can just see the road from the Service station at the junction.

The Bungalow sold quite quickly and we got £2,850 for it, having paid about £950 when we bought it. It took a while for all the loose ends to be tied up but eventually I got the money, paid off Sgt. Paine and moved the family up to the new place. Pam was sadly disappointed with it but the people were all very friendly and she began to like it after a while. We had a number of excursions from there and went to the sea at Hornsea on two or three occasions.

Having done well with No. 2 LNR Course I applied for a permanent commission but the Group Captain (Laine – I think) told me that I did not have the right kind of experience to suit me for a permanent career and turned me down. The Chief Navigation Instructor was Wing Commander Hickey (nicknamed 'Bone dome'), who also did not think much of me either. I rather think it had something to do with my leaving Thorney Island under odd circumstances.

After only a year and just getting settled into the house, I was surprised to find myself posted yet again. This time it seemed like a real improvement but very much a 'desk' job as one of the Navigation Examiners at the Command Examination Board, Flying Training Command at Shinfield Park just outside Reading. Our offices were in old huts a little removed from the main building and here began one of the more interesting posts of my career. We managed to find a bungalow to rent from a Mrs Samways at 36 Wood Way, Woodley and we were able to move from Doncaster quite quickly.

Having settled in, I was allocated the exams for the navigator's finals that I would be responsible for. These were: astro-navigation, maps & charts and magnetism & compasses. I also had to set the general navigation paper for pilots. I did not have much time to think before having to do a full set of exams and, only by Christmas, start to really appreciate the scope of the job.

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1953

To start off with, I had discovered that the questions on the subjects that I was to specialise in had previously been picked out by the examiner from a 'bank' of questions based on what had been set previously. After thinking about it for a while and based on my own experience decided that it was possible for the Instructors at the various Training Schools to work out a permutation which would more or less guarantee to predict over 60% of the questions.

All the exam papers were vetted by the newly appointed Chief Examiner (Gordon Arkley) and I did not have much difficulty in convincing him that we should be a bit more professional and he agreed that I could start-off by changing the system in one subject to be going on with. I started with astro navigation and set what I considered to be a very practical paper instead of the usual theory one. I sat back and waited and on the day of the exams the phone stated [sic] to ring and complaints came in thick and fast – 'Unfair', 'Not what we have been used to'; 'We were not able to prepare the students!' etc., etc. As a result, I was asked to attend a high power meeting of all the Chief Navigation Instructors and the senior people on the Examinations Board. In the meantime, I received all the papers for marking and the results showed that one school did very well but all the others failed miserably. When I was grilled at the meeting I was very pleased to have the backing of my own boss. When all of them were presented with the evidence that, apart from the one school, the others had not covered the syllabus properly and 'only taught what was necessary to get the students through the exam', there were a number of red faces and I was not very popular with them. However, the Chief of the Examination Board asked the schools to go back and put their houses in order and told them that from here on in, [underlined] [italics] all [/italics] [/underlined] examinations would be based on the new method and not on the 'Question Bank' method'. He then congratulated me on setting a fair and very practical paper, which should have been welcomed instead of being complained about. So began a new regime and after a while everyone agreed that things were much better than they used to be. We also move into better offices.

Gordon Arkley dabbled in amateur dramatics and had contacts with the film studios at Pinewood. One day he took me across there for lunch and introduced me to Glynis Johns and Robert Newton as well as a couple of other famous film stars whose names escape me. After a very 'boozy' lunch, we went across to the film-set and watched for a couple of hours. I cannot recall which film it was but it became one of the big hits of the 1950's. It was a most interesting experience.

During the year, I managed to get in a few hours flying from White Waltham airfield, mostly in Ansons, to visit other Flying Training Command units (to the Isle of Man and also to Northern Ireland). I also flew in a Procter, a Prentice and a Chipmunk.

It was just before Christmas, when I was sitting at my office desk, busy painting the air traffic control vehicle with black and white squares for the model airfield that I was making for Terry's Xmas present, when the Air Officer Commanding (Sir Arthur Pendred) chose to make his inspection (without notice) of the Examination Board's offices. I really thought I was in for big trouble for doing private work in duty time. When asked what I was doing, I decided to say precisely what, and why I was doing it! He did not blink an eyelid, had a good look at the model and then, as he turned for the door, wished me a happy Christmas and hoped that I managed to get it all finished in time!! Needless to say I put it all away quickly and tried to get on with some 'proper work'. I still expected that there would be repercussions but there never were. Some 5 year later (16/7/58), I was stationed at Pershore and I was flying with Group Captain Innes-Crump to a meeting at West Malling. When we entered the Bar in the Mess to get a drink before lunch, there was a large group in the corner surrounding a very senior officer – It was Sir Arthur! I was never more surprised in my life when he broke off talking to the others and called across to me to come and join his party. He greeted me as though I was a long lost friend and, remembering my name, ordered drinks for me and the Group Captain before asking me, with a smile on his face, if I ever managed to get [italics] that [/italics] Xmas present finished in time!! A marvellous man.

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1954

Started building model aircraft again and flew them in the fields at the back of the bungalow. After losing a glider, I made a Hawker Hunter powered by a 'jet' engine (in fact it was a pellet that had to be lit!) and Terry became quite upset when it got lodged up a tree. He started school in Woodley and has been back there recently to retrace his steps.

Bob Hunter, a Canadian who had been on the same course as me at Shawbury, was also based at Reading and he was always popping round to our place. He and his wife Marg are pictured, in the photo album, with us at the New Years Eve Party.

Having sat and worried about what happened last Xmas, was quite surprised to be offered, in February, a job on the Air Staff as Command Search & Rescue Officer & also to look after the Command Film Library. Apparently there was considerable opposition from some of the others working there (mostly Wing Commanders and above) as normally only 'Permanent Commission' officers were offered this sort of post. However my new boss, Wing Commander Bagott, made it quite clear that someone 'on high' had approved my appointment and immediately suggested that I apply for a permanent commission (my original commission was 'Short Service' – i.e.: 8 years). When I pointed out that I had already applied and been turned down and was reluctant to go through it all again, he offered to have the necessary forms filled in and all I needed do was sign them! By the end of the day this was done, and two days later I was called away from my office to attend an Assessment Board. I was totally unprepared for this but was assured that I did not need to go and get 'dressed up' and 'not to worry'! The interview took about 2 minutes and was a complete farce – we just passed pleasantries! Within a few minutes I was told that, of the 13 candidates having been seen, I was the only one to be recommended. After a few days I was called for another interview with an AVM Allison who carried out a proper 'grilling' but he was very pleasant about it and made it quite plain that it was just a formality.

Shortly afterwards I was offered a brand new Married Quarter and we then moved into 15 Salmond Road, Whitley Wood – right opposite the Baggots! The appointment to a Permanent Commission was not confirmed until 25th August and backdated to 1st June 1954. (I had already been informed verbally quite early on).

[certificate]

In my new job I did a fair bit of visiting and on one occasion, whilst flying with Group Captain Alvey stopping off a [sic] various Units, I had a further brief meeting with Mac (my 'skipper' on Bomber Command). Due to my interest in model making I also got involved in the RAF Model Aircraft competitions and was 'asked' to act as a Judge on a couple of them (see pictures in album).

Here I was introduced to my first flight in a jet aircraft – the Canberra. I have to say that I did not particularly enjoy it (I got air-sick).

My work was very absorbing and most of the dissenters soon began to accept me. I enjoyed mixing with quite senior officers and only found it difficult to get on with some of the 'upward pushing' more junior people. We became very friendly with our next-door neighbours – The Lacey's and we all got on very well together. Christine had started school here and most of the children from 'The Patch' went there as well.

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1955

Having got nicely settled down in our Married Quarter I was somewhat disappointed to receive a Posting Notice in early January. However, I was told that it was supposed to be a prestige posting and about two weeks later I left Reading in a heavy snow blizzard on my way to the Royal Radar Establishment Flying Unit at RAF DEFFORD, near Worcester.

The Mess was deserted when I arrived in the gloom of a Sunday evening, with the snow still pelting down. Later, one or two others came in for a drink and were so friendly that I began to feel a little less dejected than I had been during the journey there. So began almost 5 years of a marvellous posting.

Initially, I lived in the Mess and immediately started flying in various aircraft, on trials of equipment designed by the 'boffins' at the Royal Radar Establishment at Malvern. My first flight was in Hastings TG503 piloted by 'Bert' Welvaert, aged 36, who claimed to be 'the youngest grandfather in the Air Force'. I next met up with Bert at the Berlin Airlift 50th Anniversary in May 1999

[photograph]
Bert Welvaert and myself standing if [sic] front of Hastings TG503’.
This aircraft is now on permanent display at the Allied Museum in Berlin.

I flew in the following types (in no particular order) during my stay on the unit (over 1000 hours all told):

Hastings
Lincoln
Shackleton
Dakota
Varsity
Ashton
Wayfarer
Marathon
Hermes
Devon
Valetta
Meteor
Canberra
Vampire
Whirlwind (Helicopter)

Fairly early on, I quite often flew with a pilot called Flt. Lt. Chase in a Hastings and around March time was scheduled to fly with him again on a trip to Farnborough. One of the other navigators, a Canadian (whose name I cannot remember), asked me to swap with him as he needed only a couple more hours to make up his first '1,000 hrs' before he left the unit to return to Canada. I agreed to do so just to do him a favour, but in the event I did myself a very special one as the aircraft crashed on take off from Farnborough, killing the navigator and severely injuring the flight engineer. The pilot and signaller were less severely injured and the two passengers in the back escaped with only minor injuries. When the news was first

35

[page break]

received, many of us were briefed to quickly break the news to the various wives and families. I was allocated the flight engineer's wife, wishing like mad that I had been able to go to the signaller's instead. However, as it turned out I was lucky again, as the signaller, whose wife had been told that he was "OK and not too badly hurt", had a relapse the following day and died from 'secondary shock'. On the other hand, John Mills the flight engineer, who had not been expected to live, remained in a coma for nearly a month and suddenly woke up one morning demanding to be fed as he was [italics] starving [/italics]! Although he finished up with a plate in his head, he actually returned to flying about six months later. The pilot recovered enough to return to flying but was posted away quite quickly when it was established that he had attempted to take off with the flying control locks still in place (i.e. [underlined] Pilot Error [/underlined])!

It is worth pointing out however, that the Hastings had mechanical locks of a new type instead of the old wooden blocks that fitted on the outside and had to be removed before getting into the aircraft. With the new method there was a lever in the cockpit that had to be actuated to release the locks. If the lever was operated whilst the aircraft had airflow over the wings etc., it did not release the locks as it was designed to do. As a result of this accident a modification was introduced to rectify the fault.

The funeral of the navigator took place in the local church in Pershore and I was a Pall Bearer for the funeral of the signaller in Scarborough. Once these funerals were out of the way, life gradually got back to normal.

After a short while I managed to find a 'hiring' – a large detached house in a very nice spot – 'Severn Croft', Bevere, in Worcester – and moved the family away from Reading. We have lots of expensive furniture, curtains etc., which has to be put away in store for safety. Started to make friends with the 'Lentons & Skeers' for Terry & Christine.

Peter was born in December and a new house is started in the field next to us. I did not fly at all this month and managed a fair bit of time off.
Pictures of us at the Summer Ball are in the photo-album.

36

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1956

The new Flight Commander (the unit split into two flights – 'A' Flight for piston engined & 'B' for jet aircraft), Sqn Ldr Tebbutt, shared an interest in model making and he started building a model boat whilst I stick to aircraft. I made a Tiger Moth, which flew well, and we used the airfield at weekends. Other aircraft that I made seemed to crash too easily and the Radar servicing Manager suggested that I use radio control. He offered to help me build it but I decided to put it into a model boat rather than aircraft as this was much safer.

Early in the year I got myself elected Mess Secretary, which slowed down the flying somewhat – sometimes to only 10-12 hours each month.

Being Mess Secretary became an almost full time job and, mixed in with developing a new radio control system to put into the destroyer that I built, my time was fully occupied and very rewarding. Two major Mess functions during the year and, as this was such a small Unit, I found myself suggesting, designing and constructing all the decorations for both of them. Fortunately the civilian component of the Unit made sure that I was able to get marvellous procurement & engineering assistance.

Peter was 1 year old just before the Christmas Ball and lots of locals attended his party.

1957

Started flying helicopters and was allowed to take the controls on odd occasions, eventually having some 'formal' instruction. I was told that fixed wing pilots are somewhat difficult to convert whereas other aircrew categories with good 'air sense' usually learn quite quickly. After about 10 hours dual I became reasonably competent and passed the 'brick wall' of it being in charge of you, to you being in charge of it!!

[photograph]
RRFU Defford, 1957

Group Captain Innes-Crump took me under his wing and nominated me as his navigator. We did various trips to conferences etc. and eventually he let me do most of the flying and some take-offs & landings (in a Devon). Many of the pilots started to let me fly the aircraft from the right-hand seat and eventually I even landed a Hastings all on my own (or at least I thought I did).

37

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[photograph]
Lincoln at zero feet!
Flying with Group Captain Innes-Crump (OC, RRFU Pershore)

At end of October the Unit moved from Defford to Pershore and took on a somewhat more formal atmosphere, which was not to everyone's liking.

10th December 1957, Peter's 2nd birthday and disaster on the Unit. One of 'B' Flight jet aircraft went missing and presumed crashed in the hills over North Wales. I had to visit the wife of one of crew members to warn her that her husband 'would be late home'. A dreadful story to delay the almost inevitable. As a result I was also 'late home' for the Birthday Party and could not say why – I was not very popular!!

Next day, along with others, flew a 4-hour sortie to see if we could find the crash site. Although flying very low ourselves amongst the treacherous hills, we could not find anything. Just before we were due to leave the area, we received a message that Mountain Rescue team had found the site and both crew had been killed. It was some way from where we had been looking near 'Drum Hill'. Another funeral to attend, and just before Christmas too. However see picture in album of us at Xmas Ball a few days later!

1958

Lots of flying each month this year mostly in:

Hastings
Varsity
Devon
Valetta

July – see item, 5th paragraph of 1953 re. Sir Arthur Pendred. Also see article & photos in 'Air Clues'.

The atmosphere at Pershore was not the same as at Defford. However, we all became very settled in at Bevere and friendly with neighbours – Lentons around corner, the Hucksters at the back and the next-door families on both sides. – A very pleasant year.

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1959

At beginning of year got in regular flying each month. Flew in a Meteor for the first time with Wing Commander Lawrence as pilot. Also did some more helicopter piloting but had become quite stale after so long.

April was particularly busy, flying, but after the first few days in June got caught for admin work.

On 10th July I was handed a signal informing me along with others (but not Flt. Lt. Smith mentioned in signal – see photo-album), that passage was booked on the FLANDRE, sailing 17th July, to attend a training course on the 'Thor Missile' in the USA. Mad panic to get ready and needed to get a Dinner Jacket for the voyage and other items at a time when I was particularly low on funds. Pam was not very happy with the idea of me being away for so long and having to look after everything on her own. Fortunately the neighbours at Bevere were all very supportive.

Travelled First Class by train from Worcester via London where we were joined by another group of RAF but who considered themselves very superior and tried to keep apart from us as much as they could. The Flandre was a French passenger liner of some 15,000 tons and the First Class passengers (mostly American – and us of course!) were extremely well looked after. After a very enlightening voyage and a charter flight to TUCSON Arizona, we started our training on Thor missiles at Davis Monathon AFB. Our group consisted of: self; Flt. Lt. Colin Reeve; Flt.Lt. Walker; Flt. Lt. Evans & Flg. Off. Nancarrow, together with Americans: Captains Jim Hadsell; Mel Schaffer & Carl Heintz. After an intensive 'ground' training period there, we travelled by car with Jimmy Hadsell via the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam to Vandenberg AFB California.

[photograph]
Davis Monathon AFB, Tucson Arizona
Standing (in uniform), L-R: Flight Lieutenants John Evans, Jeff Walker, Colin Reeve, Myself
Below: USAF Captains Jim Hadsell and Mell Schaffer, Flying Officer Frank Nancarrow,, Captain Carl Heintz

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When the training had finished, another charter flight back to New York and thence on the SS America back to Southampton, where I was met by the family, who had been driven there by Mr Lenton.

Posted to No. 82 Squadron SHEPHERDS GROVE as Launch Control Officer in December.

[photograph]
RAF Thor Launch, July 1959
Vandenberg AFB, California

1960

Found a bungalow in Diss – about 10 miles from Shepherds Grove – to take on as a 'Hiring'. We moved from 'Severn Croft' on a very bleak and foggy day. It was very nostalgic as we had started to 'put down roots' in Worcester and very difficult as far as Schools were concerned. The journey was very hazardous as the car was loaded down with all the last minute items – Including the animals. At one point near Diss we finished up in a field because the fog was so thick – but eventually got to Diss about 4 hours later than planned.

I had not been in the Bungalow for long and was at home one lunchtime, when a Victor en-route for Honington, passed overhead quite low making a horrible roaring noise. We all rushed outside to see the aircraft on fire and will the crew to eject (we did not know at this time that only the pilots had ejection seats). Eventually, parachutes were seen to open but the aircraft dived into the ground about 2 miles away. As I was in uniform, I decide to drive towards the crash sight [sic] to see if I could help – but before I could get within a mile of it I was held up by masses of sightseers crowding the narrow lanes. In the end I gave up and returned home. It transpired that 2 of the crew had been killed – one of them opening his 'chute too late and the other (one of the pilots) getting out too late.

Spent the whole of the year on shift covering 365 days a year and having responsibility for 3 Thor nuclear missiles every time I was on shift.

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1961

Was selected to join the Feltwell Thor Missile Training Flight after categorisation by Bomber Command. [italics] Second US trip, this time to Vandenberg AFB, California for THOR test firing] [/italics]

[photograph]
82 Squadron crew. With RAF THOR Missile, Vandenberg AFB

1962

[inserted] Fl/L Moore [/inserted]

Headquarters Bomber Command,
Royal Air Force,
High Wycombe,
Bucks.

[underlined] Order of the Day [/underlined]

[underlined] To all Thor Squadrons and Stations [/underlined]

The decision to phase out the Thor Force of Bomber Command in no way detracts from the vital role which the force played in the past, and the significant part it will continue to play in future, until the very last missile is withdrawn.

Thor was the first strategic missile system operational in the West. At a time when the threat to this country came almost entirely from manned aircraft, you were the most formidable part of the defence of the United Kingdom, and the Western Alliance.

You in the Thor force have maintained a constant vigil day and night for almost four years. You have maintained a higher state of readiness in peacetime than has ever been achieved before in the history of the Armed Forces of the Crown. I am well aware of the sacrifices, so willingly accepted, that this constant readiness has imposed on the officers and airmen of the force.

I am content that History will recognise your devoted service in the cause of peace. I know that I can rely on you for the same devotion during the rundown phase, as you have shown since the birth of the force in 1958.

[signature]
(K. B.E. CROSS)
Air Marshal.
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief.
Bomber Command

2nd August, 1962.

Announcing the rundown of Britain's THOR missile defence programme

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1963

A very severe winter and had great difficulty travelling back and forth. On the way to Shepherds Grove, while driving along a cutting through a snowdrift, a car coming the other way crashed into me. Although my car was damaged, after temporary repairs I managed to drive it back to Diss and put it in to garage for proper repair. In the meantime, I used the Vespa scooter to get to the Units to do my categorisations. Strange, but everyone seemed to know I was coming, so the grapevine seemed to be working overtime.

All the pipes froze up at 102 Victoria Road, including the underground ones from the mains. Had to get water from our next-door neighbours, who remained unaffected. The Council eventually cleared the mains by passing an electric current in some way.

In July I was informed that [underlined] [italics] my services were no longer required by the RAF [/italics] [/underlined] and that I was to have a 'Last Tour Posting' somewhere nearby. I was shattered by this news as I had very high ratings in my job and good yearly assessments. I appealed to the Group Captain who was as much astounded as I was, particularly as other officers were being kept on whom he would 'court martial' given half a chance. Eventually he informed me that somewhere, someone with 'influence' didn't like me, and I must have upset whoever it was. So no reprieve!

Middle of July, I was posted to 721 Mobile Signals Unit based at Methwold as Commanding Officer – very strange! I was met with the results of a drunken brawl amongst members of the Unit under the previous CO and it took all of my energy and some very smooth talking to get it sorted out. Managed to restore unit pride with only two people being posted away and reprimands for a couple of others. It turned into a happy posting once I got everyone on my side. Managed to get damage fixed without any further problems.

The unit acted as a bomb plot for the "V" Force and had the call sign 'BRANTUB'. Unfortunately in October the unit was ordered to move to Lindholme. So much for it being a 'Last Tour Posting' [underlined] [italics] near [/italics] [/underlined] present residence.

1964

The Lindholme posting was not as bad as expected. Fell ill with flu just as move took place and when I finally drove up there from Diss I found the Unit on an isolated site, well away from the rest of the Station (see photos in 'Nostalgia' album). Everything was in good order and working well, all thanks to the good spirit now on the unit and a Warrant Officer who worked wonders to get it going. I now had an assistant, Pilot Officer Frank Moss, who was a navigator on Vulcans. Since we were acting as a "Bomb Plot" for the "V" Force, I think the idea was for him to persuade me to give good scores despite some of the dismal results they had been getting previously!

Made a number of suggestions for improving our lot on the Station and moral was very high. Managed to get us out of AOC's inspection and this also went down well. On the operational side I was able to invent a means of our not having to listen to the sound put out to simulate "Blue Steel" bombing. This was achieved by converting the sound signal into a visual meter display so that we could watch rather than having to listen for 10 minutes each run. Everyone at Bomber Command were surprised that nobody had thought of this before.

After we had settled in and were given a good result from the Bomber Command Inspection Team, I managed to arrange our shifts so that I could get away for longer periods. Finally, at the end of October, I was given a firm retirement date. I was given a very emotional farewell from the Unit and, although the practice was frowned upon in higher circles, I was given an inscribed watch as a going away present from all the members of the Unit (some 26 people excluding myself).

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From Lindholme I was finally posted to Honington to begin formalities to leave the Air Force. I only spent a few days there, handing in Kit and obtaining all the necessary clearances. On 19th November I drove away from Honington having finally 'retired'. I shall always remember it being rather like a dream but I do recall listening on the car radio to a program featuring Pam's cousin, Christopher Gable, who was leaving the Royal Ballet to take up an acting career (Christopher's last performance with the Royal Ballet was in 1965. He died in 1998).

The break was so great that I was hardly able to make any plans for the future.

Right: The final farewell

[Ministry of Defence Crest]

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
MAIN BUILDING, WHITEHALL, LONDON, S.W.1.
TELEPHONE WHITEHALL [indecipherable number]

29th October 1964

Dear Flt. Lt. Moore

The Secretary of State for Defence has it in command from Her Majesty The Queen to convey to you on leaving the Active List of the Royal Air Force her thanks for your long and valuable services.

May I take this opportunity of wishing you all good fortune in the future.

[signature]

Flight Lieutenant D. Moore

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1965

I managed to get a job with Marconi at Southend working with the modifications team and liaison with the RAF! It was very poorly paid but it was the best I could do under the circumstances.

We decided to move away from Diss and chose Chelmsford as the best place to settle down. It was the nearest into London that I wanted to go and the furthest out that Pam wanted to be. We started looking around and were particularly interested in some new houses being built on a development on the edge of town on Springfield road. They were more than I could really afford and the one we liked was suddenly sold to someone else. We needed to move quite quickly and when we saw a chalet bungalow, which Pam seemed to like, we decided to set the wheels in motion to buy it. No sooner had we paid a deposit than one of the new ones came back on the market, even before the walls had been built, so we decided to buy that one instead. I managed to commute half of my £500 a year RAF pension and the £250 translated into a cash sum of nearly £6,000, which only left a small mortgage requirement. The purchase proceeded reasonably smoothly and we finally moved into 2 Llewellyn Close on 9th April 1965. Moving into a newly built house was not such a good idea and all sorts of snags were encountered.

Only earning a pittance and very unhappy with what was expected of me, I started to look around again for another job.

1966

Got a job as Training Officer with Littlewoods operating out of Basildon, visiting all their stores in the south of England. Found it very difficult as all the lady supervisors were very suspicious of me and not at all co-operative. Was suddenly called up to Liverpool and made redundant with no reason given.

1967

Spent the whole year job hunting and at last got a job with John Zinc just outside St. Albans.

1968

21/10/68 – 13/12/68. Completed a Training Officer course (construction Industry) in Slough.

Finally got a reasonable job with Balfour Beatty in Bread St. London but had to leave after they moved to Croydon.

1970

At last I got a decent job! Started with Powell Duffryn, Great Tower St. London on 19th January but made redundant when they de-centralised

1971

After spending most of the year job hunting I finally started working for Letchworth and District Printers Group Training Scheme on 1st December

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1972

After travelling the 43 miles back and forth to Letchworth every day and finding it very tiring, we decided to look around for housing in Letchworth. I made up my mind that I wanted to be as near to work as possible and not have to travel any distance at all. Unfortunately this was a period of 'gazumping' and although our offer on the nice house we found in Cloisters Road and had been accepted, suddenly they had another buyer prepared to offer more. Reluctantly we bid for our present house and once again the offer was accepted. At the time of the year it looked much better than it actually was and, to make things worse, the day after swapping contracts the house in Cloisters came back on the market. We had easily sold our Chelmsford house and had completed on that, so we could not afford to change our minds. We finally moved into 116 West View on 15th May 1972.

Having been promised help in re-location by my employers, the Committee that had originally made the offer changed and all the new lot were prepared to give me was £100. I was not very happy about this and made my feelings very plain. But they just shrugged their shoulders.

1973 – 2010 No further entries

[photograph]
Celebrating my 80th Birthday

DM Memoirs (second Edition) Compiled and edited by Terry Moore, October 2010
Appendix and additional photographs – January 2011
Postscript – May 2012
Foreword – July 2012
[italics] The editor accepts no responsibility for inaccuracies [/italics]

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Postscript

The funeral service for my father took place at Harewood Park Crematorium, Stevenage, on Thursday 11th November 2010, attended by family, friends, representatives from the XV Squadron Association and colleagues from the North Herts. Branch of the Aircrew Association, of which he was president.

Like most airmen of his generation, Dad had a great affection for the Avro Lancaster, in which he spent many flying hours as navigator in both war time and peace, so it seemed most fitting that his ashes be scattered from the only remaining Lancaster still flying in this country.

[photograph] [photograph]

In May 2011, my wife and I made the ninety-mile trip to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire where the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is stationed and left the casket in the care of the Public Relations Manager who was to make the necessary arrangements.

[photograph] [photograph]

Dad took his "last flight" on 29th August 2011 in Avro Lancaster PA474 escorted by the Spitfire and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. His ashes were scattered over North Norfolk, England.

[chart]
BBMF flight schedule for 29/08/2011

Terry Moore, May 2012

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1945 Appendix 1 Operational Sorties – September 1944 – April 1945

[underlined] NO 218 SQUADRON RAF METHWOLD Aircraft Letters "HA" [/underlined]

[underlined] 17/09/1944 [/underlined]Sortie No: 1 (Daylight). Target [underlined] BOULOGNE [/underlined]
Aircraft – PD277 Code "A". Pilot – Squadron Leader N.G. Macfarlane
Flying Time – 2 hours 45 minutes
762 Aircraft – 370 Lancasters; 351 Halifax; 41 Mosquito. Dropped more than 3000 tons of Bombs on German positions around Boulogne in preparation for an attack by Allied troops. The German garrison surrendered soon afterwards.
1 Lancaster & 1 Halifax lost.

[underlined] 23-24/09/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 2 (Night time). Target [underlined] NEUSS [/underlined]
Aircraft – PD256 Code "J". Pilot – Squadron Leader N.G. Macfarlane
Flying Time – 4 hours 35 Minutes
549 Aircraft – 378 Lancasters; 154 Halifax; 17 Mosquito. Most of the bombing fell in the dock & factory area. A short local report only says that 617 houses & 14 Public Buildings were destroyed and 289 people killed/150 injured.
5 Lancasters & 2 Halifax lost.

[underlined] 26/09/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 3 (Daylight). Target [underlined] CAP GRIS NEZ [/underlined]
Aircraft – NF 934 Code "G". Pilot – Squadron Leader N.G. Macfarlare [sic]
Flying Time – 2 Hours 55 Minutes
722 Aircraft – 388 Lancasters, 289 Halifax; 45 Mosquito – 531 aircraft to CAP GRIS NEZ (4 Targets) and 191 aircraft to 3 Targets in CALAIS. Accurate and intense bombing of all targets.
1 Lancaster lost

[underlined] 28/09/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 4 (Daylight). Target [underlined] CALAIS [/underlined]
Aircraft – PD277 Code "A". Pilot – Squadron Leader N.G. Macfarlane
Flying Time – 2 Hours 35 Minutes
341 Aircraft – 222 Lancasters; 84 Halifax; 35 Moquito. [sic] Target area covered in cloud but Master Bomber brought the force below cloud to bomb visually. Bombing was accurate.
1 Lancaster Lost

[underlined] 14/10/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 5 (Daylight). Target [underlined] DUISBURG [/underlined]
Aircraft – NF 934 Code "G". Pilot – Squadron Leader N.G. Macfarlane
Flying Time – 4 Hours 5 Minutes
This raid was part of a special operation. (See page 601 of Bomber Command Diaries)
1013 Aircraft – 519 Lancasters; 474 Halifax; 20 Mosquito with RAF fighters escorting.
3574 Tons of HE & 820 Tons of incendiary.
13 Lancasters & 1 Halifax lost.

[underlined] 15/10/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 6 (Night time). Target [underlined] WILHEMSHAVEN [sic] [/underlined]
Aircraft ? Code "C". Pilot – Squadron Leader N.G. Macfarlane
Flying Time – 4 Hours
506 Aircraft – 257 Halifax; 241 Lancasters; 8 Mosquito.
Last of 14 Major raids on Port of Wilhemshaven [sic]. Bomber Command claimed "severe damage caused."
No record of any losses noted.

[underlined] 19/10/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 7 (Night time). Target [underlined] STUTTGART [/underlined]
Aircraft – NF 934 Code "G". Pilot – Squadron Leader N.G. Macfarlane
Flying Time – 6 Hours 30 Minutes
565 Lancasters & 18 Mosquito in 2 forces 4 hours apart.
Serious damage caused to central and eastern districts (including BOSCH factory)
6 Lancasters lost.

[underlined] 23/10/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No. 8 (Night time). Target [underlined] ESSEN [/underlined]
Aircraft – NF 934 Code "G". Pilot – Squadron Leader N.G. Macfarlane
Flying Time – 5 Hours 5 Minutes
1055 Aircraft – 561 Lancasters; 463 Halifax & 31 Mosquito. This was the heaviest raid on Essen so far in the war and the number of aircraft also the greatest number on any target. (These results achieved [underlined] without [/underlined] the Lancasters from 5 Group!! 4538 Tons of Bombs dropped.

[underlined] 29/10/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 9 (Daylight). Target [underlined] WESTKAPELLE (WALCHEREN) [/underlined]
Aircraft – NF 934 Code "G". Pilot – Squadron Leader N.G. Macfarlane
Flying Time – 2 Hours 15 Minutes
358 Aircraft – 194 Lancasters; 128 Halifax & 36 Mosquito.
11 different ground positions attacked. Visibility was good and results were accurate.
1 Lancaster lost.

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[underlined] 04/11/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 10 (Daylight). Target [underlined] SOLINGEN [/underlined]
Aircraft – NF 934 Code "G". Pilot – Squadron Leader N.G. Macfarlane
Flying Time – 4 Hours 30 Minutes
176 Lancasters of 3 Group. The raid was not considered successful as bombing scattered.
4 Lancasters lost
Note: Aircraft NF934 Code "G" went "missing" on 12/12/1944

Squadron Leader N.G. Macfarlane promoted to Wing Commander and posted as Officer Commanding No: XV Squadron RAF Mildenhall in mid-November and sends aircraft to fetch whole crew from Methwold

[underlined] NO: XV SQUADRON RAF MILDENHALL Aircraft letters "LS" [/underlined]

[underlined] 28/11/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 11 (Night time). Target [underlined] NEUSS (DUSSELDORF) [/underlined]
Aircraft – HK 695 Code "V". Pilot – Wing Commander N.G. Macfarlane
Flying Time – 4 Hours 40 Minutes
145 Lancasters of 3 Group & 8 of 1 Group. GH Bombing attack. Modest damage.
No losses.

[underlined] 05/12/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 12 (Daylight). Target [underlined] SCHWAMMENAUEL DAM [/underlined]
Aircraft – ME 844 Code "C. Pilot – Wing Commander N.G. Macfarlane
Flying Time – 4 Hours 40 Minutes
MASTER BOMBER – 56 Lancasters of 3 Group attempt to "Blow up" this Dam on river ROER to help American Army. Target covered in cloud. Only 2 aircraft bombed. No losses.

[underlined] 06/12/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 13 (Night time) Target [underlined] LEUNA MERSEBURG [/underlined] (Near LEIPZIG)
Aircraft – NG 357 Code "K" Pilot – Flt. Lt. Percy
Flying Time – 7 Hours 20 Minutes
475 Lancasters bombed Oil Target in Eastern Germany, 500 miles from UK. Cloud cover but considerable damage to the synthetic oil plant. 5 aircraft lost

[underlined] 08/12/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 14 (Daylight). Target [underlined] DUISBURG [/underlined]
Aircraft – NG 357 Code "K". Pilot – Flt. Lt. Percy
Flying Time – 4 Hours 20 Minutes
163 Lancasters of 3 Group bombed on GH through cloud on railway yards. Good results.
No losses.

[underlined] 14/12/1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 15 (Night time). Target [underlined] MINING KATTEGAT [/underlined] (off KULLEN POINT)
Aircraft – NG 357 Code "K". Pilot – Flt. Lt. Percy
Flying Time – 7 Hours (Landed LOSSIEMOUTH)
30 Lancasters & 9 Halifax. Mines accurately laid. (see H2S photo) Diverted to Lossiemouth on return. No losses.

[underlined] 28/12//1944 [/underlined] Sortie No: 16 (Daylight). Target [underlined] COLOGNE [/underlined] (GREMBERG)
Aircraft – HK 693 Code "B". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 4 Hours 50 Minutes
167 Lancasters of 3 Group. Marshalling yards. Accurate bombing. No losses

[underlined] 01/01/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 17 (Night time). Target [underlined] VOHWINKEL [/underlined]
Aircraft – NG 358 Code "H". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 6 Hours 5 Minutes
146 Lancasters of 3 Group. Successful attack on railway yards. 1 aircraft lost

[underlined] 03/01/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 18 (Daytime). Target [underlined] DORTMUND [/underlined]
Aircraft – NG 358 Code "H". Pilot Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 4 Hours 45 Minutes
99 Lancasters of 3 group. GH attacks through cloud on Coking plant (HANSA). Accurate bombing. 1 aircraft lost.

[underlined] 07-08/01/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 19 (Night time). Target [underlined] MUNICH [/underlined]
Aircraft – HK 618 Code "G". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 7 Hours 45 Minutes
645 Lancasters from 1,3, 5, 6 & 8 Groups – Very successful raid causing severe damage (see Terry's book – "Fliegeralarm" – Luftangriffe auf München 1940-1945)
11 aircraft lost and 4 crash in France

[underlined] 13/01/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 20 (Daylight). Target [underlined] SAARBRUCKENt [/underlined][sic]
Aircraft – ME 849 Code "L". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 6 Hours 20 Minutes
158 Lancasters of 3 Group attack Railway yards. Accurate but some overshooting
Divert to Predannack on return because of bad weather at base.
1 Aircraft lost

48

[page break]

[underlined] 16-17/01/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 21 (Night time). Target [underlined] WANNE EICKEL [/underlined]
Aircraft – NG 358 Code "H". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 5 Hours 5 Minutes
138 Lancasters of 3 Group attack Benzol plant. 1 Aircraft lost

[underlined] 23/01/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 22 (Daylight). Target [underlined] COLOGNE [/underlined] (GREMBERG)
Aircraft – PD 234 Code "E". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 5 Hours 55 Minutes
153 Lancasters from 3 Group attack Railway Yards. Good Visibility – Results variable
3 aircraft lost and 1 crashed in France

[underlined] 09/02/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 23 (Night time). Target [underlined] HOHENBUDBERG (DUISBERG KREFELD) [/underlined]
Aircraft – PD 234 Code "E". Pilot – Wing Commander N.G. Macfarlane
Flying Time – 5 Hours 10 Minutes
151 Lancasters from 3 Group attack Railway Yards. 2 Lancasters lost

[underlined] 19/02/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 24 (Daylight). Target [underlined] WESEL [/underlined]
Aircraft – NG 444 Code "Y". Pilot – Wing Commander N.G. Macfarlane
Flying Time – 5 Hours 15 Minutes
168 Lancasters from 3 Group. Good attack with best results around railway area
Leading Aircraft for whole of 3 Group. (I navigated and everyone else followed me!)
1 Lancaster lost

[underlined] 02/03/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 25 (Daylight). Target [underlined] COLOGNE [/underlined]
Aircraft – NG 358 Code "H". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 5 Hours 30 Minutes
858 Aircraft – 155 Lancasters from 3 Group. Only 15 aircraft from 3 Group bombed because of GH failure. All other bombing highly destructive. Cologne captured by the Americans 4 days later. 6 Lancasters lost

[underlined] 04/03/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 26 (Daylight). Target [underlined] WANNE EINCKEL [/underlined]
Aircraft – NG 358 Code "H". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 4 Hours 55 Minutes
128 Lancasters from 3 Group bombed on GH. No losses.

[underlined] 05/03/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 27 (Daylight). Target [underlined] GELSENKIRCHEN [/underlines]
Aircraft – NG 358 Code "H". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 5 Hours 35 Minutes
170 Lancasters from 3 Group. Leading Aircraft for whole of 3 Group.
1 Lancaster lost

[underlined] 11/03/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 28 (Daylight). Target [underlined] ESSEN [/underlined]
Aircraft – NG 358 Code "H". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 6 Hours 5 Minutes
1079 Aircraft – 750 Lancasters. Attack accurate and Essen paralysed.
Leading aircraft for 32 Base. 3 Lancasters lost

[underlined] 22/03/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 29 (Daylight). Target [underlined] BOCHULT [/underlined]
Aircraft – PA 235 Code "E". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 5 Hours 15 Minutes
100 Lancasters from 3 Group. Leading aircraft for Squadron. Town seen to be on fire.
No losses

[underlined] 23/03/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 30 (Daylight). Target [underlined] WESEL [/underlined]
Aircraft – PA 235 Code "E". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 4 Hours 35 Minutes
Special GH attack to support Rhine crossing. 80 Lancasters from 3 Group.
Signal from General Eisenhower congratulating the crews concerned on their very accurate bombing.

[underlined] 29/03/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 31 (Daylight). Target [underlined] HALLENDORF [/underlined] (SALZGITTER)
Aircraft – NG 358 Code "H". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 7 Hours 5 Minutes
130 Lancasters from 3 Group. Attack on Benzol plant using GH. Leading aircraft for Squadron.
No losses

[underlined] 9-10/04/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 32 (Night time). Target [underlined] KIEL BAY [/underlined] – MINING
Aircraft – NG 358 Code "H". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 6 Hours 10 Minutes
70 Lancasters. No loss on Mining but 4 lost on main raid on Kiel (Very accurate - Pocket Battleship Admiral Scheer hit and capsized. Admiral Hipper Emden badly damaged.)

49

[page break]

[underlined] 14//04/1945 [/underlined] Sortie No: 33 (Night time). Target [underlined] POTSDAM [/underlined]
Aircraft – NG 358 Code "H". Pilot – Squadron Leader Percy
Flying Time – 8 Hours 35 Minutes
500 Lancasters. Attack successful and severe damage caused
1 Lancaster lost to night fighter.

Tour completed because the tour requirement was reduced from 40 to 30 whilst we were over Potsdam.

References Air 27 1352 (218 Sqn)
Air 27 204 & 205 (XV Sqn)

[photograph]
End of Tour, Mildenhall, April 1945
Lancaster "H" Howe, NG538
L-R: P/O Johnny Forster (flight engineer), Flt Sgt Jimmy Bourke (mid-upper gunner),
Ft Sgt 'Nobby' Clarke (rear gunner), Sqn Ldr Pat "Tojo" Percy (pilot), Flt Sgt Dennis "Napper" Evans (wireless op.)
F/O Tom Butler (bomb aimer), F/O Dennis Moore (navigator)

[photograph)
End of Tour, Mildenhall, April 1945
Lancaster "H" Howe, NG538
Squadron Leader Percy & Crew with ground crew

50

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1945 Appendix II

[underlined] Lancaster NG 358 Mark B1. XV Squadron (15) Coded LS-H [/underlined]

This aircraft was built by Armstrong Whitworth at their Baginton factory and was one of 400 delivered to the RAF between July 1944 & February 1945. The previous LS-H was HK 648 and NG 358 first appeared on the squadron in Mid-December 1944. It was finally 'Struck off charge' on 19/10/1945

[photograph]

Dates actually flown in this aircraft:

30/12/1944 Day 1450 'GH' Bombing Exercise
1-2/01/1945 Night 1610 6.05 VOHWINKEL 146 a/c, 3 missing
03/01/1945 Day 1250 4.45 DORTMUND 50 a/c
16-17/01/1945 Night 2307 5.05 WANNE EINCKEL 138 a/c, 1 missing
27/01/1945 Day 1005 Air Test
02/03/1945 Day 1200 5.30 KÖLN Led 32 BASE, 531 a/c, 6 missing
04/03/1945 Day 0946 4.45 WANNE EINCKEL 128 a/c
05/03/1945 Day 0940 5.35 GELSENKIRCHEN Led 3 Group, 170 a/c, 1 missing
11/03/1945 Day 1200 6.05 ESSEN Led 32 BASE, 750 a/c, 3 missing
29/03/1945 Day 1230 7.05 HALLENDORF Led SQUADRON, 130 a/c
09-10/04/1945 Night 2000 6.10 KIEL BAY MINING 70 a/c
14-15/04/1945 Night 1825 8.55 BERLIN (POTSDAM) 500 a/c, 2 missing

The crew of 'H' – 'HOWE' on the above flights was:

Pilot Squadron Leader Pat Percy
Navigator Flying Officer Dennis Moore
Bomb Aimer Flying Officer Tom Butler (Canadian)
F/Engineer Pilot Officer Johnnie Forster
Wireless Op. F/Sgt. Dennis Evans
Mid Upper F/Sgt. Jimmy Bourke
Rear Gunner F/Sgt. Nobby Clarke

Other 'operations' in other aircraft were flown with Wing Commander N.G. Macfarlane as Pilot. (see note below)

51

[page break]

[underlined] Explanations: [/underlined]

Bomber Command was split into GROUPS (mainly 3 & 5 Group) – each Group split into 3 BASES and each Base comprised 2 or 3 airfields on which there were usually 2 SQUADRONS. Each Squadron was normally split in two FLIGHTS although sometimes they had three. 3 Group Base were Nos. 31; 32 & 33. 31 Base comprised STRADISHALL & WRATTING COMMON plus one other; 32 Base comprised MILDENHALL, LAKENHEATH & METHWOLD. 33 Base comprised WATERBEACH, WITCHFORD & MEPAL. The other Squadron at MILDENHALL at this time was No 622 (Australian). Each Squadron normally had 24 aircraft and a 'MAXIMUM EFFORT' was achieved when all of them flew on an OPERATION ('op').

All daylight trips were in tight FORMATION and Bombing was done on 'GH' – which was operated by the navigator who actually 'pressed the button'. The Bombing Leaders were distinguished by the double yellow bars on the tailfin/rudder. All others in the flight bombed on the Leader. A limited number of Squadrons & Aircraft in No 3 Group were fitted with this equipment, which was extremely accurate.

Note. Mac (or Nigel, as I now am allowed to call him) lives in a retirement home near Capetown, South Africa. At the Mildenhall register meeting in May 1995 I was told he had died. The following day I was able to contact his son Ian (whom we had 'baby-sat') who is now a Harley Street Consultant and he put paid to this rumour.

Nigel & Margaret visited the UK June 2000 to celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary and Pam & I were invited to their Party. Not able to drive at the time so unable to go. Terry offered to pick him up and take him with us to Squadron 85th Birthday celebrations at Lossiemouth. Unfortunately he was not well enough so Terry & I went to Lossiemouth on our own.

1945 Appendix III

[italics] The Operational Sortie which the crew decided had turned me from being a "very Good" Navigator into an "ACE" Navigator. (Their words - not mine!!) [/italics]

An operational order was "posted" quite early in the morning of the 7th January 1945 and the fuel load was 2154 gallons (the maximum) so we all knew that we were in for a long haul. At the pre-flight briefing Munich was announced as the target and we were allocated HK618 "G" (George) with Squadron Leader Percy as pilot. We learned later that 645 aircraft from 1;3;5;6 and 8 Groups loaded with 1 x 4000 pounder (Cookie) and clusters of incendiaries, carried out a very successful bombing raid causing very severe damage. (See photos in Terry's book). A total of 11 aircraft were lost and another 4 crashed in France (nearly 3%, which was quite high at this time).

Getting airborne at 1830, the flight out was quite uneventful from a navigational point of view with 'Gee' working well and covering a good way down into France. Having bombed on a well lit (burning) target, the Alps were now the only visible landmarks and, at the appropriate time, we turned onto a northerly heading based on the wind component calculated on the way down across France. We kept going on this heading, expecting to pick up something to give us a 'fix' but unfortunately nothing was forthcoming, and at the ETA at the French coast I asked if any of the crew could see anything. Nobody else could see through the cloud but the rear gunner (who had a good downward view) finally called to say that we had just passed over a 'Pundit' flashing what turned out to be Manston!! Quickly turning on the IFF (identifying friend not foe) and crossing the Thames estuary, a quick calculation, the message" Maintain heading – ETA base in 17 minutes" was passed to the pilot. EXACTLY 17 minutes later the pilot reported "overhead base – joining circuit. Well done Navigator" Thus ended a 7hour 45 minute flight and the very tired but elated crew gathered in the briefing room to be met, as usual, by the padre dishing out the rum ration for those that wanted it. I was quite happy to have my share while we were being de-briefed, with a crew enthusing over my marvellous navigation (all the way back from the south of France without having to change heading once!!) and then off to the quarters behind the Mess to a well earned sleep.

What was never mentioned to anyone – and the crew in particular – was that, had the heading been just ONE degree to starboard, we would have gone sailing – literally – up the north sea and, because of the cloud cover, not know why we never made it back to base – if we had survived the ditching in the dark and subsequent days adrift in the North Sea – that is!!!

52

[page break]

1945 Appendix IV

[underlined] Dakota Flights (as Navigator) July 1945 – May 1946 [/underlined]

109 OTU Crosby on Eden

08/07/1945 – 23/07/1945 DAY 18.55, NIGHT 7.45
PILOTS: Flt/Lt Mason & Flt/Lt Samuael
Aircraft registrations: FZ609 KG502 KG619 KG658 KG664 KG666

B Flight 1383T/C.U

26/07/1945 – 27/08/1945 DAY 49.55, NIGHT 26.15
PILOTS: P/O Zygnerski & Flt/Lt Herringe
Aircraft registrations: FL652 KG373 KG392 KG638 KG726 KG644 KG649 KG657 KG726
52 Squadron RAF DUM-DUM CALCUTTA

01/12/1945 – 08/05/1946 DAY 345.25, NIGHT 13.50
PILOTS: Mainly F/O Harris but also Flt/Lt Ruddle, F/O Lofting, Flt/Lt Earwalker & F/O MacArthur
Route flying from Calcutta to Bangkok, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh), Hong Kong, sometimes calling into Chittagong, Meiktila, Hmawbi, Rangoon, Canton

Aircraft registrations:
FL507 FL612 KG212 KG502 KG573 KG923
KJ813 KJ814 KJ820 KJ904 KJ963 KK190
KN211 KN219 KN231 KN239 KN240 KN299
KN301 KN308 KN341 KL507 KN534 KN573
KN600 KN604 KN630 KN633 KP211

Total Hours: DAY 413.35 NIGHT 47.10

Appendix 1949

[underlined] "Lancastrian" G – AGWI/1281/TX276/111 [/underlined]

I flew 13 Sorties as Navigator in this Aircraft on the Berlin Airlift.

Registered 28/11/1945 to Ministry of Aircraft Production.
Certificate of Airworthiness No: 7283 24/01/1946.
Delivered to BSAA (British South American Airways) Heathrow 27/01/1946
Named 'Star Land'
Registered to Ministry of Civil Aviation 16/08/1948.
Sold to Flight Refuelling Ltd. 16/01/1949 and Registered to them 18/01/1949.
Allotted Fleet No. 'Tanker 26' and flew [underlined] 226 [/underlined] Sorties on Berlin Airlift
Scrapped at Tarrant Ruston 26/09/1951.

Berlin Airlift
[logo] Berlin Airlift [emblem]
[drawing]
[inserted] TX 276/1281 [/inserted]

AVRO LANCASTRIAN – FLIGHT REFUELLING LTD
47403

On 23 June 1948, the Soviet forces occupying the eastern part of Germany blockaded all rail, road and waterway supply routes from the Allied Western Occupation Zones in Berlin. With less than one month’s supply of food and fuel, the prospects for the two and a half million Berliners looked bleak. Only three severely restricted air routes remained as a lifeline between the besieged city and the western world. The Allies responded immediately with a miracle of logistics – The Berlin Airlift. Codenamed Operation Vittles by the USAF, and Operation Plainfare by the RAF, over a period of 11 months Allied aircraft made thousands of flights into the cramped airspace of Berlin and succeeded in supplying everything the city needed. Every available aircraft from RAF Transport Command was in service, as well as hundreds of USAF aircraft and even civil charter firms were called upon to supplement the effort. The operation became so skilled that the Soviet Command eventually realised that they had failed and on 12 May 1949 the blockade was finally lifted.
Avro Lancastrian G-AGWI represents an aircraft which was originally delivered to British South American Airways (BSAA) at Heathrow in January 1946. The aircraft was registered to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for a short period in 1948 before being sold to Flight Refuelling in January 1949. The aircraft was then allotted fleet no. Tanker 26 and flew 226 sorties on the Berlin Airlift.
[inserted] I FLEW IN 13 OF THEM [/inserted] [diagram]

Collection

Citation

Dennis Moore, “Dennis Moore Autobiography,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 18, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/27272.

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