Last of the Tail Gun Charlies - Ronald Carter's Biography



Last of the Tail Gun Charlies - Ronald Carter's Biography


Biography of Warrant Officer Ronald Carter (1620578 Royal Air Force).

At the age of 17, Ronald volunteered to join the Royal Air Force in November 1942. After basic training, Ronald was selected for gunnery and wireless operator training, becoming a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner. Posted to RAF Waddington to form an aircrew and join 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron. April 1943 saw the squadron move to RAF Dunholme Lodge for operations and promotion to Sergeant. His role was rear gunner in the Lancaster aircraft of the squadron.
On 18th July 1944, his aircraft (KM-U) was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Ronald’s escape by parachute is described, as is his subsequent capture. After an initial interrogation he was sent to Stalag-Luft VII at Bankau, Poland. His time at the camp is described up to January 1945 when the whole camp was to evacuate and march to the West, ahead of the Russian advance.

The second half of this biography describes the forced march through Poland and Germany to Stalag Luft IIIA at Luckenwalde. The Russian Army liberated the camp but Roland fled with three other prisoners to meet up with the American Army. He was retuned to England in April 1945, where, after a period of leave, he served as a gunnery instructor at RAF Ringway until demobbed in October 1946.

The biography concludes with a detailed description of his operations and a series of photographs of his crew, his aircraft, RAF Dunholme Lodge and his medal display now at the Solway Aviation Museum.

Served at RAF Waddington, RAF Dunholme Lodge, RAF Ringway.

Aircraft flown were Lancaster.

Ronald flew a total of 25 operations with 44 Squadron, 2 were daylight and 23 night operations. His pilot for all these was Pilot Officer Davey, except the final one in which he was shot down. The pilot in this case was Flying Officer Cuthbert.

The targets included Nuremberg, Toulouse, Tours, Braunschweig, Munich, Schweinfurt, Oslo, Mailly-le-Camp, Salbris, Gennevilliers, Leopoldsburg, mining laying in Kiel Bay, Morsalines, Aunay-sur-Odon, Caen, Beauvoir-sur-Mer, Wesseling, Pommeréval, Marquise, Criel-sur-Mer, St-Leu-D’Esserent.

The biography includes reference to letters between Ronald and the Irvine Parachute Company regarding his successful escape from his Lancaster in 1944 and request to become a member of the Caterpillar Club.






49 page booklet


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David Carter, “Last of the Tail Gun Charlies - Ronald Carter's Biography,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 12, 2024,

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