Main Ops - with crew only



Main Ops - with crew only


Starts with account of operation to Paris on 3 May 1944 when attacked by Me 109 and writes of crew actions. Continues with list of operations giving details of target, anti-aircraft fire, flight time, some bomb loads, events, results. From 3 August 1944 until 17 December 1944. Continues with some history of their aircraft Followed by operational reports of operation on 8 August 1944 including details of captains, combats, aborts and routes, 9 August 1944 stood down from operations and, 16 November 1944 operation to Duren.



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MAIN OPS - With crew only
Wellington. Wimpey M. Paris. T.O. 21.55 5 hrs. 40 mins. Cloudless, moonlit sky.
Height 16,000. .Just before drop attacked by ME 109. Seen in plenty of time by
M.U.G. John Moore and myself, Jimmy Jackson had also moved to the astro hatch
and kept an eye on him whilst the MUG and myself took turns to search the rest of
the sky, the other keeping watch on the 109. Bomb Aimer John Payne, having climbed
into the front turret reported that he weas also watching. The 109 suddenly
banked towards us and I told the skipper, Tom Ford 'Go', Tom already knew the
109 was Port, slightly below, so dived hard to port and as there was no bomber
stream turned back and then after 5 seconds returned to track. There was no
further sighting and we returned without incident.
On reporting the attack at interrogation, the Waaf Intelligence Officer told us there
were no enemy aircraft in that area and we must have been mistaken. We told her
quite forcibly there was no doubt. Later when we were at Hemswell, we had a
message to confirm there was a squadron of 109's close by.
Neither aircraft fired their guns. To fire your guns was to give away your approx.
position. Having planned evasion tactics for all the situations any of us could think
of was much more effective and far less risky. We tried to make it too difficult for a
fighter to line his guns on us and so struck lucky every time.
Due to the reaction of the Intelligence Officer, we decided only to report anything if
it was different to anything we were already aware of.

Passenger: Creil. Trossy St Maximum Rocket? Flak Moderate A/C C2
FT 4.15.
3/4 - 8-4
Pauillac Synthetic Oil Plant. 13.30. Flight time 7.55 Light flak. UM.A2
Fontenay De Marmion (Nr Caen) FT. 3.45 H2
Aire, (Abortive) Cunim FT 2.15. H2 H2 written off. Twisted and torn apart by
Cunim Cloud, Fell from 24000 ft to 4000 ft. Pullout. Chadwicke & Dobson -
AVRO. "Must have reached at least 570 mph to incur such extreme damage". H2
the fastest bomber in WWII to survive. Was cut apart to remove bombs. Tom Ford
"Shaky Do".
Ferme De Forestel. Flying bombsite. Direct hit. R2. 13,000 lbs H.E.
Flak moderate. FT 3-45.
Ouilly (Nr Falaise Gap) Successful drop but info' from Army Intelligence wrong.
Nr Canadian lines. FT 3-45 F2 Signals from ground avoided us bombing our own.
Heavy flak. F2
Volkel (Holland). Enemy airfield. Spot on drops. 3. Moderate Flak. FT 3.30 F2
Ghent (Belgium). Oil yards (G) FT 3-45 F2

Kiel. Very heavy flak. LGH (Cookie) Fl', 5.25 G2. ? Ponderous aircraft (compared
to F2) sluggish responses. Searchlights everywhere.
Stettin. Very accurate flak 5/10 cloud. Target identified through cloud but
bombing results obscured. Sweden both ways. Fl' 9.15 F2.
Eindhoven (Holland). Airdrome, 4/10 c1oud. Fl' 4 hrs D2
Very little defence. (Awful aircraft compared to F2)
Le Harvre: Bombing G troops. 3-20 G2
Results satisfactory apparently but not much info' from Army. Something odd!
Le Harvre: No bombing. Cloud obscuring target. Danger of hitting own troops.
3-45. F2 thank goodness. What a difference, F2 trying to lift off half way down the
Le Harvre again; this time a very successful Prang. 12000 lbs of bombs. Felt sorry
for the poor devils down there. Like us they didn't start this, unlike us they don't
have any comforts at all. It must be hell for all the soldiers down there. All
brought on by a madman.
Frankfurt. Extremely intense and accurate flak. Searchlights everywhere, aircraft
coned all aroundjus too but evaded quickly. Attacked by JU88. During pull out
smashed my jaw and Slight hip wound. F2 superb. 7.35 hrs.
Off sick with jaw. Dentist removed teeth and splinters. Treatment Hip wound
myself quite clean.
Crew unhappy. They have had two abortives. Tom asked if I could sign myself fit
even with my jaw strapped up. The others said 'please Pete' and so I said yes.
Spent ages getting oxygen mask on in the least painful fit. (It's new). The old mask
and mike were destroyed at Frankfurt Op. Talking proved a real problem but went
out to F2 and was understood on the intercom. They bought my beer. Only 2 pints
as had to use a straw to drink Living on liquids.
Calais area. 13,OOO lbs. Excellent drop. A perfect Op. I can't help feeling sympathy
for the enemy troops, and our own. Hitler and his top brass should be executed
when this is over. All the death and chaos is their fault. 3.30 F2.
3- 10
Westkapelle. Breaching the sea wall. CO told us to leave bombing as long as
possible and if no breach make a special attempt. This was because we were in the
final wave. However, breach was made and so we bombed as normal. Good drop.
F2 3.00 hrs
5- 10
Saarbrucken. Engine failure over base, no heating an frostbitten. Could not open
doors to jettison so landed with 62,000 and only 3 engines. No problem with F2.
zhrs 55 min. The two Johns and Stuart said it was because F2 doesn't like
strangers in the crew. (We had a 2nd Dickie with us). I don't like the trend towards
superstition. It could mean a lack of self-belief and slacking in efficiency. I pointed
out that we had several times taken a passenger, including a WAAF, to Calais and
they conceded the point but I still feel uneasy.
Emmerich. Really heavy accurate flak. Saw two Ju88's or perhaps one twice.
Slowly angled away from them to safer spot outside stream. FT 4.20. F2

Duisberg. Flak like a carpet, so concentrated at bombing height! Searchlights
coned several kites. Have seen lots of kites coned and shot down on Ops yet we've
always evaded when caught. I believe it must have something to do with the
immediate response of F2 to the controls, no pause, almost as if she can tell what is
needed. Getting out of the beams quickly is essential otherwise too many beams
converging make it almost impossible. FT 4.55- F2
14- 10
Duisberg again. Two in one day. We couldn't have silenced many flak batteries as
the barrage seemed as intense as ever. Saw enemy aircraft below and to starboard.
Told Tom to move slowly to port so as not to show our exhausts. 20 mins later saw
J.U.88 to starboard about 30 degrees above, took turns watching him so we could
keep lookout as much as possible. Started to edge away but he saw us and started
his attack Evaded attack but did not lose him as he came from port under.
However, we banked hard to port in a steep climb then dived and circled and lost
him. Our evasion techniques were not standard procedure. Tom and I spent many
hours discussing tactics, and a code, everyone as short as possible. Starboard
became Right. Orders such as Right climb, Port circle. This order meant enemy
aircraft on starboard, Side going in the same direction, Level with us, circle away in
a slight climb to hide our exhaust from him. This manoeuvre would put us behind
the enemy and as they mostly flew faster would put increasing distance between
us. The enemy knew our standard tactics and compensated for them, so we tried
to avoid the most vulnerable times as much as possible, but of course we still
needed luck, and we had it in full measure. FT 5 hrs. F2.
Stuttgart. Heavy cloud, cumulus, making up to Cu Nim. Very cold and damp.
Bombing was on Wanganui. Heavy flak over last 70 miles or so. Completely at odds
with what we understood from the briefing. A very unpleasant Op, but then I can't
remembered one I enjoyed. FT 6.25.

Essen. 13, 000lbs, an high explosive. Quite unusual. Normally incendiaries[sic] would
be carried on this sort of Op. Airspeed indicator U/S whole trip except first 5
minutes. Arrived at target several minutes before the master bomber, had to wait
some time for markers. Also had to wait for airfield runway lights on return.
Landed on revs and hope. Luck again. Perfect landing. Heavy cloud to 25,000 ft.
Chronic icing. Target Krupps. Would have thought it was flattened by now. Dodgy
Op. FT 5.20 F2. Usual flak for return.
24 - 10
Essen again and Krupps. Must have missed it last night. Extra heavy flak accurate.
On run home saw twin engine AIC below and across our track. Not identified. We
watched carefully for rest of trip but no other incident. FT 5 hrs. F2
Gelsenkirchen. The usual heavy flak. Several times saw gunfire but did not see
anyone shot down for a change. Good run up drop appeared to be right on
markers. Good prang. No problems except the cold. FT 5 hrs F2. Saw two fighters
going away from us though.
Kiel Canal. Dropping 6 x 1,800 lb mines into the canal, one at a time and at
varying intervals from 500 ft to prevent mines breaking up upon entry of water. At
500 ft we were subjected to intense and horrendous flak from every calibre of
weapon from both sides of the canal, and the ships in it. So much fire as to rival a
brilliant sunny day. Route was Sweden - Stettin direction, drop to 500 ft sharp
turn to starboard and line up to the canal. I understand it was very successful but I
would not like to chance it again. Only luck and our speed got us through. We were
hit but not seriously, By far the most hazardous Op so far. On the way back we wf!/it~
accompanied by an A/C on our Port side at about 400 yds. We could not identify it
but thought it was a Mosquito. Nevertheless, we took turns watching it. When we
were well into Swedish territory it left us. The rest of the way back, apart from the
heating playing up was uneventful.

Duren. In support of the U/S Army. Flak damage to Port wing quite severe. The
flak and searchlights together with the fires and flares gave an effect of a red sky in
the morning and lit up the smoke from the flak bursts which were all at the level of
the bombing height and lay like a carpet with ants moving across it. I was glad,
and relieved, when the bomb run was over. During the bomb run we had another
Lancaster directly above us, and looking up into an open bomb bay at a Cookie and
13 other bombs is not the most welcome of sights. We edged to one side of them
just before they dropped their bombs which fell just to the port and just outside
our wing. They had bombed too early, only seconds, but they would not have hit
the target if the markers were right. FT 4-50 F2
Aschaffenburg. Flak damage repaired just in time for bombing up. We were able
to take off on time. We dreaded taking off late as Jerry could concentrate
everything on us and at a time they were most efficient. Trip quite usual for the
area. The searchlights at Mannheim were up to their usual high standard. Flak as
expected. Bombing very accurate. Johnny Payne is as good as you can get. Not
always popular though., going round 3 times to get it right is not a pleasant positive
but John is a perfectionist. We might think he does it too often but it's his right and
of course to make sure satisfies us all. Apparently our photos make us the best on
the Squadron. Commended by the C/O and Groupie. FT 6.50. F2

Dortmund: A quite normal trip. Usual flak, searchlights etc. Only one thing out of
the expected, the flak was red. Jerry must be using a new explosive. FT 5.05. F2.
Merzeburg. (LEUNA). Oil and chemical plants, cookie and incenduaries. Johnny
excelled himself, 4 times round. He got it right though. We kidded him the
commendation had gone to his head. Trip not too bad but exceptionally cold. Even
Stu noticed the difference. FT 8.00 F2. Tom very tired. Jimmy took over from me
and I spelled Tom for an hour and a half. Flak moderate, not as many searchlights.
Good trip. 8 hrs in extreme cold is very exhausting.
Essen. Krupps again. The locals must be experts at repairing their equipment. The
place is flat. They must have everything underground. Flak and searchlights as
intense as ever. Saw a twin engine A/C but was unable to identify. Bombed on
Wanganui. FT 5-40 F2
LudWigshaven. Longish trip. The cold intense. The heating is not sufficient. Very
glad to be near end of the tour. Moderate flak and not as many searchlights as
usual. Spelled Tom 20 mins. FT 6.30 F2.
Ulm. Our last Ope Apart from being just moderate everything went like a pleasant
dream. Just what we hoped for. Even the heating was just that little bit better.
Tour completed. FT 7.05. F2

The next day took all available booze out to F2 and had a few drinks with our
ground crew. Joined by C/O and a succession of servicing bods from the hangars
etc. Gave ground crew 2000 Sweet Corporal and McDonald Export cigarettes
between them and all the cash we had on us. (We could draw our pay daily if we
wanted to). Said our goodbyes to everyone. Anointed F2 with the dregs of the
drinks (Friga) and blessed her. We all kissed her to cheers from the gathering.
Last of all we kissed the WAAF who painted 'Friga' for us. The other WAAF had
been promoted. and posted.
The above is the history of our tour together. I completed 3 other operations. One
official and two standing in for bods unable to get back to the station in time for
the operation. Also to Creil (3-8-44) Passenger. F /O[indecipherable]officially unofficial.
C/O knew.
A few days later we said goodbye to each other and those on leave. Goodbye
Wickenby, for many years, but visited frequently since.

626 Sqdn. UM F2 was the Lancaster flown by T.H. Ford, J.C. Moore.T. .Iackson, R.
Woods, Tween, J. Payne and myself on operations over enemy occupied territory
and Germany during World War II.
F2 was an excellent aircraft, one of only two on 626 squadron to survive the war
with the squadron. She was faster, more manoeuvrable, higher ceiling and more
economical than any other Lancaster in which the crew flew.
The painting is of F2 at taking over, just after the Lady was painted and before the
caption of 'Friga of the fighting sixes' was added.
The crew following were told to remove the naked lady, which they did, but
replaced her with a sparsely clad one, standing, and the caption 'Friga' replaced
with 'Frigger', There were no further orders.
The naked lady was painted for us by two lovely WAAF's who told us they took
turns modelling and painting but refused our offers to hold the paints etc when
they did the next nude!
It is strange how humans can have a deep lasting affection for a machine. We all
talked to F2 as to one another. She was as one of us.
I believe that F2 completed over 100 operations
The 2nd July 2010 was a very special occasion for World War II Veteran Airman,
Peter L Potter, when a painting of his aircraft Lancaster VM F2 of 626 Sqdn. was
hung by the artist Maurice Clark in Peter's home.
The event was attended by a small group of friends who have helped Peter over the
years and made for a very pleasant social occasion.
During the evening Peter presented the Squadron Shield of 353 Sqdn. to Richard
Turner the Chairman of the Boxted Airfield Historical Group for the Museum.
Also presented was the personal Flying log book of Ray Pryer who flew with 353
Sqdn on many operations delivering arms ammunition and provisions by
parachute to allied forces such as the 'Chindits', operating behind Japanese lines.
This was a very hazardous occupation and Ray flew some 1500 hrs to do this. The
presentation was on behalf of the Pryor family who were unable to attend due to
sudden illness.
The Museum would welcome any memorabilia or reminiscences of Boxted Airfield
anyone can present to them.
To: R Turner, 11 Dunthorne Road, Colchester, C04 OHZ. Tel: 01206 865275



“Main Ops - with crew only,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 5, 2022,

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