British NCO served as wireless operator/air gunner with RAF Coastal Command in GB, 1941-1944; officer served with Missing Research and Enquiry Service in Germany, 1944-1946
REEL 1: Background in London, 1921-1941: family; religious beliefs and relations with Jews; story of enlisting with RAF, 19/Feb/1941. Aspects of training with RAF in GB, 1941: description of training as wireless operator/air gunner in Blackpool; promoted to sergeant; story of crewing up in Northern Ireland; relations with Americans. Aspects of operations as wireless operator/air gunner with RAF Coastal Command in GB, 1941-1944: summary of various postings and missions; memories of Pilot Officer Cruickshank.
REEL 2 Continues: Recollections of period as member of Missing Research and Enquiry Service in Germany, 1944-1946: description of role of MRES before and after D-Day landing, 6/1944; sources of information; story of recruitment by MRES; qualities required to work in MRES; reaction to promotion to Flight Lieutenant; importance of previous air crew experience; structure of MRES and role of driver Ron Moody; lectures; format of reports; question of right temperament to work with MRES; relations with Air Ministry; further comments on structure of MRES and description of Ruhr section; question of finding clues to identify bodies; daily routine and working methods; notification of relatives; question of revealing details of exhumations; problem of language and interpreters; memories of interpreter Gisela.
REEL 3 Continues: further description of working methods; story of sharing rations with Gisela; description of living conditions in post-war Hamburg and Iserlohn; attitude of German civilians to RAF bombing; relations with German civilians; black market activities; question of fraternisation with German civilians; attitude to treatment of Russian POWs; description of investigations including burial places and exhumations.
REEL 4 Continues: methods of exhumation and problem of identification; attitude to unpleasant nature of work; story of investigation into crashed Spitfire flown by Flight Lieutenant Holness; success rate of investigations; problem of being unable to identify all bodies; attitude to German accuracy in recording information about location of bodies; opinion of ability of Hermann Kriethe; story of investigation at Duisberg; question of children being better witnesses than adults.
REEL 5 Continues: further comments on child witnesses; description of re-burial of exhumed corpses; importance of religious beliefs in work; problem of inadequate German record-keeping; story of enquiry into crashed Spitfire; nature of work with war crimes cases; story of RAF pilot and suspected war crime.
REEL 6 Continues: memories of driver Ron Moody; description of role in prosecution of commandant and medical orderly of Neuengamme concentration camp; reaction to evidence presented at trial; attitude to Germans and question of knowledge of concentration camps; opinion of defence of obeying orders; behaviour of defendants during trial; further comments on guilt of German people.
REEL 7 Continues: Aspects of operations as wireless operator/air gunner with RAF Coastal Command in GB, 1944: story of U-boat, 13/Aug/1944; based at Sollom Voe, Shetlands; problem with fuel supply; question of ditching in sea; problem of locating Arctic convoys in bad weather conditions; question of accuracy of naval intelligence; description of role in protecting Arctic convoys from German aircraft and submarines; story of being awarded Soviet medal, 1991. Reflections on period of wartime service with RAF Coastal Command and Missing Research and Enquiry Service.
Submarines played a key role in operations throughout the Cold War. Commodore Frederic Thompson, kept himself and his crewmates entertained, by creating ‘radio’ programmes, which were then broadcast over the submarine’s internal speakers.