Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton



Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton


Peter Lamprey provides a detailed description of the procedures and emotions of the crew before, during and after an operation..




Temporal Coverage



Envelope and four page handwritten letter


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postage stamp]

1030 AM
2 SP 43

Mr. W. Gunton
Machine Room.
Waterlow and Sons Ltd.
Twyford Abbey Road.
Park Royal. N.W.10.

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[reverse of envelope]

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RAF. LUD[underlined]FORD[/underlined] MAGNA.

Being of a conceited nature, one is always of the opinion that other people are more interested in the job you are doing than you are yourself. Actually they could ignore us and still show more interest than ourselves, but that is by the way. However if you do not care to learn how a heavy bomber crew reacts to an operation - you know what to do.

The papers tell you that panic reigns in the German cities on the advent of an R.A.F. raid. This is nothing compared to the consternation caused among the brave boys who are going to put the raid over. The usual talk, once there is an operation planned, is about how you always get the sticky targets, like tonight, and never get the easy ones, like the last one you missed. Dark hints are also thrown out that evidently the flight commander nurses a deep seated grudge against the crew and is doing his hardest to

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[underlined] 2 [/underlined]

liquidate them. Still you are on, and the next job is to find something wrong with the kite that will prevent you taking off. Here one runs up against a masterly example of non-cooperation. The ground crews despite pleas, threats and bribes have done their devilish work well and the kite is fit to fly. From then on you are in a state bordering on hysteria, wondering where you are going. This changes to deep despondency after the briefing and the target is revealed. It is usually situated in the most inaccessible spot and surrounded by every kind of AA defence that inhumam [sic] ingenuity can devise.

Once airborne, you patiently wait for the worst to happen, while the navigator sits gloomily at his table having been hopelessly lost since the wheels went up. Nothing ever goes according to the book, the motors overheat, she won’t climb and all you can get on the radio is a series of blue sparks and a

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[underlined] 3 [/underlined]

headache. When enemy territory is finally reached you realise just how foolish you were to ever become air-crew and to be on this trip in particular. Every searchlight, gun and night-fighter immediately ignore the rest of the bomber force and proceed to attack you. The target itself is noted for an intensification of the attacks, the immediate panic of the bomb-aimer to get rid of his load, the stubborn refusal of the skipper to go any lower and the complete breakdown of the morale of the remainder of the crew.

The trip home is the same programme in the reverse order with the difference that whereas [deleted] w [/deleted] the defences tried to keep you from the target before they now do their best to stop you leaving. However you eventually make [deleted] indecipherable letter[/deleted] your return and land at the right airfield to the intense suprise [sic] of all the crew and the navigator in particular. Once landed the trip was "a wizard prang", "a piece of cake", "bang on"

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and you hope they have you down for tonight - or do you?

Seeing that you can always find something wrong with my effusions here are a few iii and eee to sod around with, also a few ''''

Three cheers.

[underlined] Pete [/underlined]



Peter Lamprey, “Letter from Peter Lamprey to W Gunton,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 2, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/6617.

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