Our first and last trips



Our first and last trips


Briefly describes his crew's first operation to Le Havre after being on the squadron for 3 days. Had few problems apart from losing an engine. Did the next 21 operations with the same aircraft (D-Dog) but they were told that it was written off while they were on leave. However, it appeared for their last trip. Provides a description of their last operation to Brux in Czechoslovakia, where they were unable to release their bombs and had to bring them back to base. Continues with later history of aircraft D-Dog.




One page handwritten document


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MAdamsHG424504-170215-08, MAdamsHG424504-170215-09


[underlined] Our First and Last ‘Trips’. [/underlined]
We’d only been at Waddington for 3 days when we did our first trip to Le Havre, as part of a big raid (992 bombers) on 8 different strongpoints near Le Havre (which had been by-passed by the army). On our run-up to the target we lost one engine, but no other damage, and bombed successfully. No planes were lost. On the way home, our flight-commander, mindful that we were on our first trip, brought his Lancaster up to our wingtip and proceeded to shut down 3 engines and keep with us … a bit of reassurance!
Of our first 21 trips we did 13 in D (Dog) … ‘our’ plane (except when we were on leave, or it was being serviced). While on our 2nd lot of leave, ‘Dog’ was crash-landed on an emergency ‘drome with lots of damage – wing, engine, tail (rear-gunner killed), and we were told it was a ‘write-off’. However, Dog reappeared, repaired, for our last trip … a long one to Brux (Czechoslovakia) … an oil refinery with POW camps next to it!
A crew on their last trip were ‘expected’ to be first home – it was OK to open the throttles a bit and cut a corner maybe. And ‘Dog’ was regarded as a ‘fast kite’. But the repaired Dog was nothing like it’s former self. It took much longer than usual to climb; when we did our usual banking searches (looking for fighters below us) it put its nose down on [missing word] bank, nose up on the other, and we could see wrinkles in it’s metal skin! Then when we pressed the button to release our bombs nothing happened! We did 2 circuits, madly changing fuses etc, but still couldn’t drop them, so headed home (with bombs) 20 mins late and 20 mph slower than the others. We had an anti-handling-fused bomb which we had to take out to a jettison area in the North Sea for manual realease [sic] (a wire hook through the floor), so by the time we got home we were over an hour late … most of the others thinking what bad luck to ‘get the [missing word]’ on the last trip.
[page break]
There was a sad sequel for Dog. The bomb-release mechanism worked on a ground test, but failed on an air test. It was eventually fixed. Then it suffered an engine fire over mountains [inserted] (low-level) [/inserted] near Karlsruhe with bombs still aboard, and when the button for feathering that prop. was pressed … all 4 feathered and it fell like a stone. Some baled out in time but only the bomb-aimer survived. [symbol] The rear gunner and [underlined] pilot [/underlined] [inserted] Bill Robinson [/inserted] of that crew both came from Mudgee, the gunner [inserted] Tommy Paine [/inserted] had been in the same class as me all the time there.
[inserted] [symbol] I met him at Armadale Uni, in the 60’s & he told me the story. [/inserted]



H G Adams, “Our first and last trips,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 22, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/27304.

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