Jim Tease DFC



Jim Tease DFC


A account of operational flying from June to October 1944


Temporal Coverage



Four printed sheets


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Jim Tease D.F.C.
420 Tholthorpe

June 12 - November 3, 1944

Born January 8, 1923 in East Kildonan, Winnipeg, Manitoba. My days in the air force started May 25, 1942 with swearing in at Winnipeg. Then it was on to manning pool at Edmonton. Tarmac and initial training school were taken at Saskatoon with elementary flying at Virden and service flying and wings parade at Souris.
At the beginning of August, 1943, I was on my way to Bournemouth. Training continued at the advance flying unit, Fraserburgh, Scotland, and then it was down to the operational , training unit at Honeybourne. At Honeybourne I joined a crew consisting of John W
Bridgman, bomb aimer from Windsor, Ontario; Don NickIfu, D.F.M. navigator, of Vernon, B.C.; Ron Baker, wireless operator, Sarnia, Ontario; Robert Owen Yack, mid- upper gunner, Hanover, Ontario; and Doug Vaughan, tail-gunner, Halifax, N.S
I know I was most fortunate to have the capable crew members I did and it was just the luck of the draw on my part. The original crew I trained with at Number 24 O.T.U. at Honeybourne fell apart when one member transferred to the U.S. air force, two others became ill and were hospitalized and another failed the course. I was moved to the crew I have mentioned who had lost their pilot
-2- Conversion to the Halifax V was carried out at Dishforth where John Naish was added as our flight engineer. Naish made 10 trips with us on the squadron and was then replaced with Reg Miles of Kent, England, who completed the tour with us
We commenced operational flying June 21 and few our 35th and last trip 112 days later on October 12, 1944
I believe that an alert, well disciplined crew along with an ample supply of good luck and an attentive guardian angel were necessary to complete any tour
Space does not allow for comments on the contributions made by all members of the crew to the successful completion of our tour or about problems experienced on a number of trips. By having an alert, conscientious crew continually on the lookout helped us on several occasions avoid what could have been serious problems. An example was on September 1, a beautiful sunny day, not a cloud in the sky, we were cruising along at 16,500 feet over the continent but not yet near the target of Castrop Reuxol in the Ruhr when the mid-upper gunner commanded "weave" after observing several flak. puffs directly astern. I turned to starboard and on looking to the port side I could see the black puffs from the flak continuing along the course we had been on. Moments later on looking to starboard an aircraft that had been on our starboard disappeared in a cloud of smoke, likely from a direct hit on their bomb load. This was ;aJl average trip with fairly heavy flak over the target and Ruhr Valley and probably would have been our last trip had the mid-upper gunner not been very observant. Possibly as important as the crew -3- keeping a vigilant watch for other aircraft, keeping on course and on time was equally necessary
Don's expertise at navigation was very evident September 27 on a sortie to Bottrop in the Ruhr. On that daylight trip with heavy cloud cover the pathfinders could not locate the target area and no target indicators were dropped. We were later informed by the squadron navigation leader that Don was the only navigator on the raid that had the correct location of the target area. On July 17 Don had the distinction of becoming the only crew member to be hit with flak. As unfortunate as it was that he was hit, he was extremely lucky that the bar of flak that made only a small hole where it entered the aircraft, hit him lengthwise across the flashlight in his Mae West, crushing the wooden case and batteries, knocking him from his seat and along the floor, cracking a number of ribs. Despite his injuries he resumed his duties and guided us back to base
Every trip had its moments of tension. There was always a strange feeling of apprehension as you passed over the target area. Once homeward bound, you still had to stay alert but the pressure eased off as you neared base
Time had dulled the memory somewhat and the anxiety and tension experienced during operations is like a long passed nightmare. Still, when I recall the sound of the gunners tense voice call out "fighter, fighter, prepare to corkscrew", or the gasping sound of a crew member hit with flak it makes the adrenaline flow again and I relive the past for a short time
-4- On our last trip October 10, 1944 to Bochum, F IL Hilton, gunnery leader, flew with us as mid-under gunner. After parking "E" easy on its dispersal pad for the last time and riding in the back of a truck t'o the debriefing room, FIL Hilton congratulated the crew for completing the tour and complimented us by saying we were the best crew he had flown with while on his second tour, performing in much the same manner as the crew he had flown with on his first tour
The following night with the tour completed, we had a screening party at the local pub with the ground crew that serviced "E" easy, the aircraft we flew. on all but four of our trips. After having enjoyed a few drinks I believe it was Charlie MacMillan, who was in charge of the ground crew consisting of Jerry Jones A.E.M.; Cecile Milne A.E.M.; Parker A.E.M.; and Bert Berry A.F.M., surprised us with the comment that they were as happy to see us complete the tour as we were ourselves. He continued to explain his remarks by saying we were the first crew flying aircraft they serviced to complete a tour. The hadn't mentioned this to us earlier in case it might jinx us. They did not want to believe their maintenance servicing of an aircraft in any way contributed to its loss.



Jim Tease, “Jim Tease DFC,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 12, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/29151.

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