Interview with Doug Begbie

Title

Interview with Doug Begbie

Description

Doug Begbie was an apprentice chef before he volunteered for the RAF. He trained as a rear gunner and was posted to 76 Squadron. He shot down an Me 262.

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

2017-01-13

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

00:06:04 audio recording

Language

Type

Identifier

ABegbieD170113, PBegbieD1701

Conforms To

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

DK: I'll just introduce myself. It’s David Kavanagh from the International Bomber Command Centre interviewing Doug Begbie on the 13th of January 2017. I'll just put that down there and if I keep looking over I'm not being rude. I'm just making sure the tape's still working.
DB: Okay.
DK: You mentioned there that you used to live in Lincoln. Were you born in Lincoln?
DB: No. I was born at Cranwell.
DK: Oh, right. Okay.
DB: Yeah.
DK: And what were you doing immediately before the war?
DB: Before the war?
DK: Yeah.
DB: Well, I was an apprentice chef with my dad.
DK: Okay. And what was your, did your dad have a business then as a —
DB: No. He worked at Cranwell as a civilian chef.
DK: Oh. Actually in the RAF.
DB: Yeah. Catering for the officers.
DK: Okay. So, next question would be then was that the reason that you wanted to join the RAF?
DB: I don't know. Yeah. I've tried to work that one out but what I think perhaps I could, as a baby I could hear aircraft. That must have had some effect on me.
DK: So what year are we talking about then that you first heard the sound of aeroplanes?
DB: Yeah.
DK: In the 1920s would this have been? The 30s?
DB: Yeah.
DK: So, what, can you remember what year you actually joined the RAF?
DB: When I joined them.
DK: Yeah.
DB: Must have been 1943, I think. About October.
DK: Okay and were you selected then for Bomber Command at that point?
DB: Yeah.
DK: Okay. And so what was your, your aircrew role then? What did you actually do?
DB: I was a tail gunner.
DK: Okay. And can you remember how your training went? What sort of training did you have before you joined a squadron?
DB: No.
DK: No. Okay. And can you remember which squadron you were with?
DB: Hmmn?
DK: Can you remember which squadrons you were with?
DB: 76.
DK: Right. And flying what type of aircraft?
DB: Yeah.
DK: The Halifax was it?
DB: Yeah.
DK: Yeah. Okay. And can, can you remember anything specific about the operations you did?
DB: Well, I did thirty two.
DK: Right.
DB: Mostly night raids. Some were daylight
DK: And as a tail gunner what was your job to actually do?
DB: Well, to protect the rear of the aircraft.
DK: Right.
DB: We used to have an evasive action.
DK: Okay.
DB: Which was to corkscrew into the attacking fighter. So because being at the tail end you have to rethink the direction you were flying.
DK: Right. Because you're facing the wrong way.
DB: Yeah.
DK: Yeah.
DB: So, you have to say corkscrew starboard or corkscrew port.
DK: Right. So how many times were you attached by enemy aircraft?
DB: How many?
DK: How many times were you attacked by enemy aircraft?
DB: Only a couple of times
DK: So did you actually fire your guns at them?
DK: Only once.
DK: Okay. And can can you tell us a little bit about that?
DB: Well, it was one of their new fighters that they had. A jet-propelled thing. Rocket propelled.
DK: Really?
DB: And both the mid-upper gunner and I fired at it and it exploded.
DK: And, and were you credited with that?
DB: Hmmn?
DK: Were you credited with having shot that down?
DB: I don't know what happened.
DK: Right.
DB: No.
DK: So, what, it must have been a bit of a strange thing to see. A rocket-powered aircraft.
DB: Yeah.
DK: So, what was your thoughts as you saw it coming towards you?
DB: Well, we [pause] I'm just trying to think. We, we hadn't, we hadn’t been reported anything like that.
DK: Right.
DB: But we've got some idea that they were trying these things out. So —
DK: So did it come as a bit of a shock to you to suddenly see this rocket powered —
DB: Yeah.
DK: Aircraft.
DB: So we just fired at it and it blew up.
DK: Okay. So I'll finish here now but looking back on your time in Bomber Command how do you feel about it now?
DB: How do I feel about it now? Since that time I've become a Christian.
DK: Okay.
DB: So I consider war is a waste of time. Killing people. We must negotiate things. Talk to people about things.
DK: I think you're right there. Okay. Well, I know you’re going to have a busy day so we can stop it there. But if I can ever come back and speak to you again that would be marvellous.
DB: Okay.
DK: Okay. We'll stop it there. Thank you.
DB: Right.

Collection

Citation

David Kavanagh, “Interview with Doug Begbie,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed November 30, 2020, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/9285.

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