Interview with Robert McClements. One

Title

Interview with Robert McClements. One

Description

Robert McClements flew operations as a mid upper gunner with 10 Squadron.

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

2015-09-21

Contributor

Julie Williams

Rights

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.

Format

00:05:25 audio recording

Language

Type

Identifier

AMcClementsRAG150921

Transcription

My name is Robert McClements. I volunteered for the Royal Air Force at nineteen. I trained and finished up at Melbourne with 10 Squadron, on Halifaxes. Two points stand out in my memory which was nothing to the do with the Germans. But one was on a turning point. I believe it were Reading, during a night raid, we had another aircraft. I’m not sure whether it was a Halifax or a Lanc swung across the top of us on a turning point. Missing the top of my turret by six inches. This was rather upsetting at the time [laughs] Needless to say we got over it. The second point was coming back from a raid, I don’t know where, we iced up. And of course that means the aircraft loses flying direction and goes straight down. Our pilot seemed to have the presence of mind to drop us through to full power and dive down rather than fall down and consequently he pulled us out of the position we were in and get straightened up and flew home. That was worst part of the trip. During the bombing runs we had a few nervous squeaks one way or another with mainly with other bombs falling down over us and searchlights. And we were trapped in searchlights on two occasions. And fortunately, fortunately we got out. The rest of the trips were reasonably easy apart from the usual ack-ack and what have you. And night fighters. Cut it there.
[recording paused]
RM: My wife keeps talking about the time I was on leave and when we got back our kite had been on a trip with some, another crew obviously and didn’t come back. Consequently we got another aircraft. But my wife seems to worry that it was our aircraft that was missing.
IM: No. You didn’t like to go to another aircraft.
RM: Well when we were flying V Victor we were flying it. That was alright. But once it went missing. What? We got another one. Another V Victor. So it made no difference.
IM: It was like having an old car.
RM: No. No. No.
IM: To keep you happy.
RM: Not when you’re flying aeroplanes in a bombing raid. They’re all made for a job. There’s no comfort. That’s it. You get what you have and you do the best with it. That’s it. Didn’t want to do that [laughs]
[recording paused]
RM: When I finished the tour which was thirty eight trips I was invited out to the Observer Corps Headquarters at York to see how they handled the aircraft. That’s where I met my wife. Consequently, I came back to York after I’d finished my tour from Ireland and went to work for her father. Go on then. I’m going to go on as long as you want me to go. I’m not going to start Paisley. I’m not going to go Paisley [laughs]
MJ: Go on.
RM: Go on. Consequently, after I’d finished flying my engineer, or our engineer and the other gunner Reg Webb were kept back at Melbourne to do all sorts of jobs. Engineer was sent to the warrant officer’s office. And I was there for a while. And consequently I was sent on a fire officer’s course and came back from that after six weeks as a fully blown fire officer. For what was left of Melbourne which was slowly being closed down now. The war had more or less finished within reason. I met my wife in York who consequently I married and helped her father to start a business in York which was mainly concerned with motorcycles. And my wife spent a bit of time running around the country on a motorbike buying and selling. And that was the finish of the air force for me and consequently the end of the war. Thank you.
On behalf of the International Bomber Command I’d like to thank Robert McClements on the 21st of September 2015 for his recording for the Bomber Command Archives. And once again I thank him with great pleasure.

Collection

Citation

Mick Jeffery, “Interview with Robert McClements. One,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 21, 2019, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/3455.

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