Browse Items (90 total)

  • Tags: military ethos

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Born on 27 December 1924 in Aigburth Liverpool, James was 15 when war broke out in Europe. He intended to join as a pilot, navigator, bomber aimer in 1943 but due to shorter waiting list and training time he trained to become a wireless operator at…

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Applying for RAF Bomber Command in May 1940, Percival Trotman was called up in September 1940, training as a pilot at RAF Towyn in Aberystwyth. Being present at Coventry when the town was bombed, he recalls deciding that the Germans deserved to have…

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Anthony Tompson worked as an engineer for the Post Office before he volunteered for the Air Force. While training as a pilot in Canada it was discovered he had a difficulty with perception and he trained instead as a navigator. On return to the Great…

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Maurice Stoneman was posted to 57 Squadron at RAF East Kirkby as the flight engineer on Lancasters in 1943. He recalls that on returning from operations they used to fly around the Boston Stump and around Lincoln Cathedral before finally landing. In…

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Geoff Payne has his first experience of the Royal Air Force with the Air Training Corps, at RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire, where he had one of his first experiences of military humour. He joined in 1943 at the age of 17 and a half hoping to become a…

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Charles left school with no formal qualifications and was undertaking further education when the Second World War commenced. Being too young to enlist, he joined the Air Defence Cadet Corps and - upon reaching 18 - he eventually was able to join. He…

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Alexander Lamb left school in Edinburgh and became a messenger for the War Department. He then took a clerical post with the Department before reaching the age to volunteer for the RAF. He trained as an air gunner and was posted to RAF Mildenhall…

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Mark Johnson reminisces about John Blair. He discusses family life in rural Jamaica as a mixed-ethnicity person, highly respected by everyone. He was a qualified teacher, a lawyer, and a farmer. Reminisces other Caribbeans who volunteered and served…

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Thomas (Stan) Instone was working at a factory making Bristol Hercules engines but volunteered to be aircrew as soon as he was of age. Initially his application was unsuccessful but he persevered and trained as ground crew. He later remustered as a…

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John Hanks joined the RAF and served as an armourer. Describes his role and his duties. Tells of his posting at Swinderby and East Kirkby. Gives a graphic and vivid account of an aircraft crash at RAF Swinderby. Describes comradeship between ground…

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Charles Gallagher was born in a small village outside Nottingham where his father was rector of the local church. At the age of six the family moved to South Brent on Dartmoor where Charles enjoyed country sports and helped with the local hunt. At…

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Born in Gateshead, Thomas was an apprentice railroad engineer. With the war beginning three days after his 16th birthday, Thomas feels very passionately about the British experience of the Second World War, as his only brother was killed. He claims…

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Completing school and moving on to work at 20th Century Fox Films, he worked as a fire watcher at the beginning of the war before joining the Royal Air Force. He states that he did that because he always wanted to fly and didn’t want to join the…

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Beginning the war in a reserved occupation, Jack eventually volunteered for the Royal Air Force, however, it would take the majority of the war before he joined. Eventually being called up for Bomber Command in 1944, Jack trained as a wireless…

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The interviewee was born in Berlin in 1924, his father being a British Army surgeon who was posted there to treat badly wounded soldiers. He went to school in France then attended boarding school in Hertfordshire. He volunteered for the Royal Air…

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Harold Allen’s parents travelled to the UK to escape the pogroms in Europe. He lived in London during the Blitz. When Harold volunteered for the RAF he trained as a wireless operator on the ground. He did not want to join aircrew because he was…

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Writes of flying in bad weather and very low temperatures. Says he has not had time to visit relative in Peterborough. Writes of absolute confidence in skipper and crew. Mentions no dates for squadron and no sign of leave until they get to new…

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Bert Turner was a member of the Air Training Corps before the war. He volunteered for the Air Force and was called up 2 August 1942. After training he became a flight engineer with 196 Squadron. He flew some bombing and mine laying operations before…

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Iain was a National Service air gunner in the 1950s and served with 214 Squadron at RAF Upwood in Huntingdonshire after being called up at the age of 18. Upon completion of training, he flew on Wellingtons and fighter affiliation with Spitfires. He…

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Peter Potter was born in Fobbing where his grandfather had three farms in Shell Haven. He ran away from home at age 15 and got a job before volunteering for aircrew after falsifying his date of birth. He talks about his time in London, visiting…

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Hugh Parry was born in Oswestry and joined the Air Force in April 1943 and volunteered to be an air gunner. Knowing that there was a height restriction on air gunners of six feet he hid his height by wearing baggy trousers. After training, he was…

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Len McNamara was born in Bristol in 1924. An apprentice plumber, he joined the Air Training Corps and volunteered for aircrew. Discusses his initial training at various stations, the gunnery course he passed with merit and honours, an escape and…
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