British NCO served as flight engineer with 625 Sqdn RAF in GB, 1944-1945; served with 156 Pathfinder Sqdn RAF in GB, 1945
REEL 1: Background in Sussex, 1925-1943: family; education; sporting activities; employment at gold club; memory of father's revolver; question of German spies in GB; golf club requisitioned for Canadian Army; joined Air Defence Corps and description of training and education; employment in armaments factory; activities with Home Guard; rumours of German invasion; joined ARP and description of duties in church tower; memories of watching aerial combats during Battle of Britain, 1940; description of training with Air Defence Corps and Air Training Corps. Aspects of training with RAF in GB, 1943-: story of joining RAF at Lord's Cricket Ground, 1943; billeted in St John's Wood; issued with uniform and kit; memory of VD film; posted to Initial Training Wing, Torquay; story of Flight Sergeant; opinion of training.
REEL 2 Continues: posted to RAF St Athans for further training; sporting activities; posted to Halifax Conversion Unit, RAF Lindholme; crewed up; description of link training; role of flight engineer as second pilot; opinion of training and question of team work; posted to RAF Hemswell for flying training; posted as flight engineer to 625 Sqdn RAF, Kelstern, 1944. Recollections of operations with 625 Sqdn RAF in GB, 1944-1945: description of various raids over Ruhr area including Duisberg; problem of evading German searchlights and flak; question of flying in bomber stream; use of Window; daily routine; pre-flight checks with ground crew; battle order; role of reserve crew; description of briefing and question of security; code names; weather and intelligence reports; rations; pre-flight preparations.
REEL 3 Continues: question of operations being called off; use of red and green lights; description of take-off; question of diversionary raids; role of flight engineer; question of sleeping; reason for weaving manoeuvre; question of using exhaust covers to avoid detection; communications with pilot; description of being attacked by German fighter and use of corkscrew manoeuvre; problem of being coned by searchlights; debriefing procedure; syncronisation of camera with bomb doors; attitude to fear; question of discipline and survival of crews; problem of using Elsen toilet on Lancaster; question of flying over Sweden; attitude to Germans; crew morale.
REEL 4 Continues: air crew humour; question of different ranks in crew; relations with pre-war RAF personnel; opinion of ground crew; description of operations in France prior to D-Day landings, 6/1944; memory of invasion fleet; description of raid on Caen; story of V2 rocket; description of raid on V2 base, Boulogne; story of emergency landing; story of last operation and help from Mosquitoes; posted to Sandtotft, Yorkshire. Aspects of period as instructor at RAF Sandtotft, 1944-1945: description of role as pilot instructor on Halifax; question of not being commissioned; story of joining 156 Pathfinder Sqdn, 1945; attitude to not receiving medal. Aspects of operations with 156 Pathfinder Sqdn RAF in GB, 1945: description of training as flight engineer/bomb aimer and second pilot.
REEL 5 Continues: role of Pathfinder Sqdn; selection of targets; description of dropping food supplies into Holland, 1945; story of flying German POWs from Germany to GB; reception process for POWs; 156 Sqdn disbanded, 8/1945; further duties collecting POWs in Italy; reason for leaving RAF. Reflections on period of service with RAF: question of Bomber Command not receiving medal; opinion of Sir Arthur Harris and Hortense Daman Clews.
Over two million American servicemen passed through Britain during the Second World War. In 1944, at the height of activity, up to half a million were based there with the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Their job was to man and maintain the vast fleets of aircraft needed to attack German cities and industry.