Interview with J A Taplin. Two


Interview with J A Taplin. Two


John volunteered to join the RAF in 1940 wanting to become aircrew as a wireless operator as he had an interest in early radios. While awaiting his aircrew application to be processed he did his initial training at Blackpool and then onto RAF Yatesbury to train as a ground wireless operator. He was initially posted to Group headquarters at Huntingdon as a ground wireless operator. John then went back to Yatesbury for a wireless mechanics course and then moved to RAF Horsham St Faiths to 139 Squadron with Blenheims, while he was there he was locally trained and flew as an air gunner.
He then went back to Yatesbury for an aircrew wireless operators course then on to Penrhos for an Air Observers and gunners course. From there John went to 10 OTU at Abingdon, while there he flew on one of the 1,000 bomber operations in a Whitley flying from Stanton Harcourt.
Having finished his course John was posted to 10 Squadron at RAF Leeming, still on the Whitley, the squadron converted to the Halifax, John flew in the Halifax II fitted with Merlin engines. The squadron then moved to RAF Melbourne, in Sept/Oct 1942 John’s crew were posted to Leeming to a new squadron No 408 (RCAF) as part of 6 Group.
On an operation to Hamburg 2/3 February 1943 John’s aircraft was badly damaged and the crew baled out, he recounts the difficulties of bailing out from an out of control aircraft. He landed in a tree and evaded capture for three days.
As a prisoner of war, he exchanged identities with a soldier. He was also on one of the long marches from January to April.



Temporal Coverage




01:33:11 audio recording


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Stevenage Heritage Project, “Interview with J A Taplin. Two,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed February 24, 2024,

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