Browse Items (185 total)

  • Tags: perception of bombing war

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Eddy Smythe’s father, Johnny Smythe was a navigator on a Lancaster. He was originally from Sierra Leonne. On one operation he was injured when anti-aircraft fire damaged the aircraft but they continued to target. One engine had been damaged and so…

ASeckerFE170815.mp3
Frances Elizabeth Secker is a lifelong resident of Feltwell. She was still at school when RAF Feltwell opened in 1937, and she remembers the Harrow being the first aircraft to arrive, followed by Wellingtons.
Elizabeth has clear memories of…

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Geoff Rushton worked as a bank clerk before he volunteered for the Air Force. He trained as a navigator in Canada and after crewing up flew 20 operations with 15 Squadron from RAF Mildenhall. He and his crew were then posted to 186 Squadron at RAF…

ARossiterHC150913.mp3
Harry Rossiter grew up in East London but his family moved to Essex which gave Harry a “ringside view” of the Battle of Britain. He volunteered as a bicycle messenger and tried to join the Royal Navy as a telegraphist. He was encouraged to join…

APlenderleithJ151007.mp3
John Plenderleith was in the Air Training Corps before he volunteered to join the RAF. He was posted to 626 Squadron at Wickenby and when the crew were allocated their hut they were surprised to find it was still occupied with another crew’s…

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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…

AParkeRG161019.mp3
Ray Parke worked on the railway before joining the RAF in 1943. Remembers flying forty operations as a flight engineer with 218 Squadron by the time he was twenty. Tells about operations on Essen and the Ruhr. Discusses the Dresden raid, giving a…

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Norman Neilson was an apprentice engineer at St Rollox Locomotive Works when he volunteered. He had originally wanted to join the Navy but joined the RAF because the only way he could be released from his position was to volunteer for aircrew. His…

AMulhallJE180703.mp3
James Mulhall trained as a flight engineer and was posted to 75 Squadron at RAF Mepal. On one operation the crew were surprised to be presented by the ground crew with a 303 bullet which proved that they had been the recipient of friendly fire. On…

AMorrisM150720.mp3
Malcolm Francis Morris, who was a child when war broke out, remembers joining the RAF as a boy entrant and then serving as an armament technician during the Cold War. Describes his training at St Athans and being then posted to Aden, where he was in…

AMatherR171229.mp3
Upon leaving school, Ronald was employed first as a pawnbrokers assistant, followed by butchers assistant. In 1943, upon reaching the age of 18 he followed his brothers footsteps and enlisted in the Royal Air Force. After initial training, he…

AMackieGA171222.mp3
George Mackie served in the RAF as a pilot. He flew forty-four operations, fifteen as a second pilot. Was posted to 15 Squadron in 1941 and critically examines the state of Bomber Command at the time. He was posted for eighteen months to RAF…

ALastRR151125.mp3
Ronald Last grew up in Dorset and worked as an apprentice for the local Gas and Water company before volunteering for the Air Force. He attended the reception centre at Lord's Cricket Ground and describes the medical tests and inoculations recruits…

AKoudysM160518.mp3
Maarten has a keen interest in the Second World War which wants to pass onto children. He visits crash sites interviewing elderly people and research aviation history. Maarten tells of a Halifax which was shot down on 12/13 June 1943 and…

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Mervyn Jones is a miners son from Wales. His father wanted a different life to that of a miner for his son and the family moved away to Slough where was plenty of work. Mervyn had always had trouble with his ears and so his father assumed he…

AJohnsonM160830.mp3
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…

AJacksonDM171130.mp3
David Jackson tells of his father, Norman Jackson VC, born in Ealing, London in 1919 and who worked in an engineering company when the war broke out. After initially trying to join the navy, he then joined the RAF and classified as a fitter on…

AInstoneTS160407.mp3
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…

AHughesWH151021.mp3
Harry Hughes flew as a navigator on 102 and 692 Squadrons. Remembers various episodes: training in the United States and Canada; taking part at various operations over Germany, including The Battle of the Ruhr; describes the Hamburg firestorm; how…

AHollowayPM171023.mp3
Pauline Holloway grew up in Harrow and turned eighteen one month before the end of the Second World War. She recollects listening to Churchill’s speeches on the radio, sheltering during raids in a purpose-built extension to her house, and hearing…

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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…

Brenda Gardiner was at primary school in Hull when the war started. After the Blitz she was evacuated to Filey. Only after the war she fully realised the scale of damage and the suffering the bombings caused to the people living near the docks.

In…

PDavisRS1604.jpg
Ronald Davis grew up in the East End and worked in London as a solicitor’s office boy. He joined the RAF and trained as a fitter airframe. He was saddened when the pilot of the aircraft he services did not return from operation because they had got…

ADavidsonTA170717.mp3
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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