Interview with James Froud


Interview with James Froud







00:25:19 audio recording


IBCC Digital Archive


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DP: This interview is being conducted for the IBCC Bomber Command, the interview is, the interviewer is Dave Pilsworth, the interviewee is Jimmy Froud, the interview is taking place at Mr Froud’s home, xxxx Bury St Edmunds on the sixteenth of May, time is, twelve ten.
JF: [inaudible] from the thirtieth of the eighth to the fourteenth of the ninth, apparently, er, we then went on leave, came back and went to, [pause] [background noise] a quick check, I must have gone straight [pause] [background noise] to
DP: Interview paused
JF: There’s a lot of operations, I did, with Warrant Officer Price, as a spare gunner, one was to Danzig, one was to Stuttgart, Danzig was badly pranged and a lot of people got, unfortunately, er, [pause] [background noise] then, it looks as if we pursued a load of training, for, the lads using radar, wire runs, those were the runs, er, to bombing ranges, you’ve probably heard of those before, er, there’s a number of them there, ok [pause]
DP: Interview paused
JF: With the crew, with 83 Squadron, Bergen, that’s in Norway of course, erm, and on the way back we were diverted to, ooh, Sutton, I expect, but er, our base was unavailable due to fog, but don’t put all that detail in if it’s unnecessary, strangely enough, the next operation, was on, the first of the eleventh, [pause] and that was a daylight, to Homberg, not Hamburg, Homberg, in the Ruhr, and that was when it was daylight we did, we then [unclear] interest, did a ran, across country, that was Belgium and France, that was checking the [unclear] how set out, we were hit by flak, and er, returned to base, duty not carried out, it’s written up, we did loads of daylight flying, for practise and night fighter affiliation, duty not carried out [emphasis], so, we just need to go onto the ops don’t we, [background noise]
AP: Interview paused
JF: Ops, Mitchell, as a flying officer, Heilbronn, H-E-I-L-B-R-U-double N [spelt out] er, that’s a bombing raid I take it, Heilbronn, it must have been in France, wasn’t it, and the one after that, because this log book got damp once, it’s a job to see, and that was on the sixth of the twelfth, to Giessen, G-I-E-double S -E-N [spelt out] six hour trip, must have been just a bombing trip, sorry we was, Pathfinder first, we were probably flare force, we dropped the flares to light the target up, but that sort of detail I didn’t put in because it didn’t affect me at all, again, about the ninth of the first, at forty five, went to Munich, eight hours forty, again, I just sit in the rear and, let the boys work at the front, and I assume it was marking the target, or just putting flares down, we move on to several ariel, forty five, well, the eighteenth, Bohlen, Leipzig, sonar [unclear] thirty trip, [pause] not sure, what, where that, was, is, in the first months, no, second month, er, second of the first, no, already done that, anyway, Gravenhurst, which was the Dortmund-Ems canal, er, I can remember that erm, that was five hours forty five, the following day, we were told that it had been successful, by a Spitfire out on recognition, er, reconnaissance and looked down and seen this ditch, which had previously been a canal, anyway, they were usually fairly quickly repaired, actually, [pause] er, I’m trying to, about the twentieth of February, Horten, H-O-R-T-E-N [spelt out]that’s in Norway, and that’s U-boat pens, now, we bombed that, and I remember going on leave, sometime later, and being told off by a mate, who, being stationed up there, he said we’d hit the brewery and he was not pleased [laughs] because we got his beer [laughs] ah, the third of March, that’s my birthday, er, operation schme, I don’t know how you pronounce that
AP: Schmedehausen
JF: Yeh, good, I’ll accept that, Dortmund-Ems canal, was that the last one, anyway, and then, again, Bohlen, that’s B-O-H-L-E-N, [spelt out] Leipzig, nearly a nine-hour trip, eight fifty-five, sixth of the third, oh, these are pretty close together, Operation Sassnitz, that’s in the Baltic Sea apparently, eight hours, thirty, any idea?
AP: No, for the record, interview paused
JF: No, ok, [background noise] Lutenzendorf L-U-T-Z-E-N-D-O-R-F [spelt out] that’s Leipzig again, we also bombed Arsbeck, as briefed, and we were diverted to wing, and so, that was, on the fourteenth, on the sixteenth and went to Wurzburg, that’s W-U-R-Z-B-U-R-G [spelt out] seven hours, twenty, that was the sixteenth of the third, er, [background noise] I’ve got half a blank page here, I don’t know why that is
AP: For the record, interview paused, just for the record, interview re-started
JF: And so, we’re now, or did we do, had we done, Lutenzendorf, I think we done that haven’t we, oh, don’t matter, oh, with, seventeenth of the fourth, Cham, Bavaria, that’s Germany isn’t it, [pause] seven hours, fifty, no idea what it was, well, just, eighty, erm, Pathfinder duties, oh, here’s one to Tonsberg in Norway, that’s the twentieth of the fourth, so we’re getting near the end of the war probably, I think that’s the last one, I don’t know [pause] [background noise] yep, that’s it, [background noise] I now, we were then, after a while, preparing to go out to the Far East, we, the plan was to take the mid upper turret off, dangerous thing to do, and put a fuel tank, petrol tank there, they did it to one aircraft we, didn’t like the look of it but we did what we were told, or we went LMF, [laughs] so, we had actually finished operations, I’m afraid, that last one was Tonsberg, I should recognise it, [pause] [background noise] erm, [pause] [unclear]
AP: Just for the record, interview paused
JF: Erm, we [background noise] [unclear] we jettisoned, incendiaries, in the North Sea, there’s a big ditch, below the ocean, and they had to locate it and drop, er, the incendiaries, they were a bit dicey those things, very dangerous, they were made hexagonal, in shape, about a foot long, and the firing pin was located so that they were all packed together in a tight bunch, and dropped so that, they would scatter, now, obviously, pretty dicey things to have around, so, the air force wanted to get rid of them, and we dumped quite a few, er, [background noise] still flying with Mitchell, we’re doing flight affiliation and wire runs
AP: What was involved with fighter affiliation? Roughly
JF: Erm, you’d have a fighter up [unclear] we got to using Spitfires, and er, he’d do attacks on you, and we’d have a camera, mounted, on your gun sight, only little tiny things they were, [unclear] and er, they would record, er, the fighter attacking and when you got back they would be processed by a photo, photographic section, and then, and the films were assessed on a screen er, [pause] now, [pause] [background noise] I continued doing practise, bombing, and, cross countries, cross country duty not carried out, I don’t know why, recalled to base, that’s unusual, I wonder why that was? [background noise] ah, [emphasis] sorry, Mitchell, apparently, disappeared after the eighth of the sixth, he went, he didn’t say goodbye or [unclear] just went and er, we then had another fella, Flying Officer Clayton, erm, and we were doing the same things, you know, preparing to go to the Far East, er, [background noise] it was all training, we did radio range, [unclear] that would be done with the wireless op, [unclear] fighter affiliation, fighter affiliation, fighter affiliation, fighter affiliation, loads of that, so taken a pair of guns away with us and told us to [unclear] bloody air force, [pause] ah, now, [pause] [background noise]
AP: Just for the record, interview paused
JF: Yes, here, I’ve moved from, 44 Squadron, sorry from, 83 Squadron, to a heavy conversion unit, and that, [pause] oh, here we are, I was at Coningsby up to the thirty first, of the, tenth, forty five, and then I went to Finningley, Finn-in-ley [emphasis] which was a Bomber Command instructors course, and then, from there, on the tenth of the eleventh forty five, went to North Luffenham, which was a heavy conversion unit, er, and we were training people, up until, no those dates are wrong, [pause] [unclear]
AP: Just for the record, interview paused
JF: And I was at Cambridge, when we, was demobbed, and we used to meet quite regularly, [background noise] er, and he, but he died a few years ago, poor John, which probably was a good thing in a way because he’d gone blind or almost blind and he wasn’t taking it very well, a bit niggly on the phone, or some at
AP: What was his surname?
JF: Norman, Johnny Norman, yeh, poor John, [background noise]
AP: For the record, interview paused
JF: Conversion unit, so screened gunner, that means, actually, screened gunner it says, then air gunner that means, that’s a number of trips that we did, to, Moreton- in- the- Marsh and [unclear] to dump aircraft, [background noise] [pause] and we were up to the ninth of September, er, forty-six, we’re still flying as a screen gunner, fighter affiliation, and, those, airlift to Lindholme, fighter affiliation
AP: Is this the conversion unit, sixteen, sixty, wasn’t it?
JF: Sixteen, fifty-three, conversion unit, that’s the last
AP: For the record, interview, paused
JF: Tenth, forty-six, [background noise] could have come out on class B, class B, you got, two weeks leave, I think, not long, and er, you were back into civvy street [laughs] and I came out on a class A, which is the normal class, we got a bit longer leave, and I, I’d reached that stage where I hadn’t made my mind up whether I wanted to stay in or not, but I couldn’t see, what I could be doing, ‘cos, I realised, that, erm, the aircraft that we were flying, would have had to change, and the gunners would not be used, needed, if you’ve got fast enough aircraft, you don’t need air gunners, which is surplus baggage [laughs]
AP: So, what did you actually, do, once you were actually demobbed?
JF: I was, I was a plumber apprentice, up until the time, I went into the RAF, and I went back to plumbing, er, until, I was happily married, and, I did, quite a number of exams, sorry, quite a bit of training at er, evening class, er, and got qualifications, and eventually went to, Bolton, which was a training course, its, attached to Manchester University, and er, there were all sorts of, different trades there, building trade, printing, er, our friend along the road, he was a, I don’t know quite what he did actually, but he was in the, typewriting and that type of stuff, so, having got trained, you had to get a job, there was no guarantee of a job, but, I got a job at Reading Tech, er, stayed there about nine years, a job came up here, for a higher position, so, I came up here, finished up as deputy head in the construction department, and then, when I was old enough, I was demobbed
AP: When you came down here was you with, did you go to West Suffolk College?
JF: Yes
AP: For the record, interview now finished at twelve forty-two with Jimmy Foud
JF: Froud [laughter]



Dave Pilsworth, “Interview with James Froud,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed November 29, 2022,

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