Enemy Coast Ahead - Guy Gibson VC

#42
I've met a couple of chaps years ago who had been Bomber Pilots, one who had also been a "pathfinder" and completed 4 tours. When I asked him which he feared most, night fighters or Flak, he said Flak as sometimes it was so thick he could imaging walking on the amount of metal in the air and if his gunners were alert at least they had a chance of shooting the night fighter down!
The other who had done 3 tours, was called "Lucky" Phillips as each time he left a crew at the end of his tour the plane was shot down on the next raid!
Both really charming and self effacing chaps.
 
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diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
#43
I've met a couple of chaps years ago who had been a Bomber Pilots, one who ha been a "pathfinder" and completed 4 tours. When I asked him which he feared most, night fighters or Flak, he said Flak as sometimes it was so thick he could imaging walking on the amount of metal in the air and if his gunners were alert at least they had a chance of shooting the night fighter down!
The other who had done 3 tours, was called "Lucky" Phillips as each time he left a crew at the end of his tour the plane was shot down on the next raid!
Both really charming and self effacing chaps.
I suspect that is what true warriors are like, talk of others not themselves.
 
#44
 
#46
Apologies for quoting my own post but it’s this pub.

The Eagle, Cambridge - Wikipedia

They also discovered DNA in the pub. I should clarify that the guys that discovered DNA were drinking in the pub, not that DNA was found in the pub.....finding DNA in any pub should be quite easy
No need to quote your own post: see post 19.
 
#47
Title now edited. I have been informed (via PM) that the author of the classic book about 617 Squadron and the dams raid, and subsequent operations, was/is Paul Brickhill. I am not even sure of the title as I was only twelve when I read it - The Dambusters?

Perhaps @Archimedes or @Magic_Mushroom know?

One of the things I hope we can try to avoid is criticising personalities - apart from social norms being very different back then, they lived under the stress of total war, with no guarantee of allied victory.
Yes, Brickhill’s book was The Dambusters. Some of it is now known to be a bit inaccurate (Brickhill didn’t have access to the F540s), but it is still a great introduction to the subject.
 
#48
Bravery takes many forms I’m told . Granddad Alec said it was mostly not letting his crew down that drove him. If he had flunked a trip they would just have to do one extra with the extra stress that would bring, stress and tiredness increased the chances of mistakes or carelessness, and both could be fatal.
The thing he said they never discussed but all feared was not just dieing, ( though as a 22 year old that must have been up there) But the time it would take before you were out of it.
Grandad saw countless ways for crews to die and not many of them would have been instantaneous, fire being the worst.
For me it is almost beyond my comprehension how young men could watch mates go down as flamers from a ringside seat and know the dice said they could be next, and then go out and do it again tomorrow night
Brave doesn’t cover it as a word.
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
#49
Yes, Brickhill’s book was The Dambusters. Some of it is now known to be a bit inaccurate (Brickhill didn’t have access to the F540s), but it is still a great introduction to the subject.
The actualUpkeep mine was still on the secret list when it was written even though the Germans captured an unexploded one.
 
#50
Indeed - hence the film Upkeeps looking a little different to the real thing (as at least one German is alleged to have pointed out at the time of the film being screened... [I have a feeling this may be an apocryphal story, but...])
 
#51
Suit yourself.

Acquire and read the table first....
I believe the table you're referring to is Note 18 to Chapter 64, which refers to percentage chance of survival by type of mission flown. This table was compiled before 16 November 1942, so is in no way indicative of the overall losses suffered by the RAF in the following 2-1/2 years.
 
#53
Everyman an Emperor
 

mercurydancer

LE
Book Reviewer
#54
There are lots of tales from Nottingham about Gibson. A bit of a ladies man and went to Nottingham to de-stress. That is to get away from the base, get pissed and shag someone. Can't fault him for that one.

His regular pub was the Black Boy. Yes really. Now demolished. He had a regular girlfriend in that pub.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#55
Yes, Brickhill’s book was The Dambusters. Some of it is now known to be a bit inaccurate (Brickhill didn’t have access to the F540s), but it is still a great introduction to the subject.
I think there were a great many stories which got a bit over-egged immediately after the war and historians since then have generally done a very good job of re-calibrating what remain, by any measure, some quite remarkable achievements. For all his faults, without Brickhill the Great Escape would probably have been relegated to the same level as the Warburg Wire Job in the national consciousness and possibly even Chastise would have gone that way as well.

Personally I'm very grateful to those Fifties authors - for all their embellishments and inaccuracies, they inspired a lifelong love of the subject and a desire to know more, not to mention a profound admiration for the deeds of better men.
 
#56
Two Bomber Command tales:

Bill Butler, a Manitoba farm boy, joined The RCAF along with a bunch of mates in September 1939. Most of them became aircrew, all in Bomber Command. He was never keen to give the figures for those that went to Winnipeg together, that day, but only two returned at war's end. Perhaps the Mathematics were too painful.
He did three complete tours plus part of one. His last one plus on a OCU as an instructor, Master Warrant Officer pilot. A few trips with a newly trained crew, get them to a standard, pass them to another pilot (apparently they could choose their own, by ballot) and then start again with a new bunch of first timers. Now that takes some minerals. He was on Halifaxes.
As his demob came up he was tasked to fly back to Canada, ferrying a Lancaster, which was being donated to a town which had fundraised to build at least one. He quietly consulted the air notes, got into the aircraft, along with a scratch crew and a few passengers, and calmly flew it across the Atlantic and home in a few hops. He eventually landed it on a road outside the town, taxied it into the main street and handed it over to the Mayor*. He then hitch-hiked the 80 miles home and never went back to the airforce.
He never flew (piloted) again until his son was training to fly in the 70s. He went along for a ride on the first, air experience flight. The son told the instructor a bit about Bill and his experience and the instructor gave him a go. The old skills were still there. The instructor offered to jump him through the hoops, fast-track, for free, to get his licence. Apparently, Bill thanked him nicely but didn't take him up on the offer.

I'm proud to say Bill was part of my family. He married my cousin. It was an honour to have known him.

*It was still there in the 1970, when it was removed to prevent further deterioration. Some parts have made their way into the Canadian Memorial flying Lancaster,

Second story: I had a girlfriend whose father was a Solicitor. He, and his business partner were Jewish (relevant to the story). One night, my TA Parachute Regiment unit were having a dance in the Drill Hall. Girlfriend's dad was supposed to pick us up, but couldn't make it. Business partner stands in. As we are talking, just prior to leaving, he asks if we actually parachuted since the room was liberally decorated with the things. I proudly told him that we did. He replied that he had parachuted once. I, full of wind and piss and Abbot Ale regaled him with my tales of daring over Frog Hill and Weston on the Green. Not thinking to ask about his single descent.

His descent had been in 1944, at night, from a Lancaster, over Germany. I'm sure he had many thoughts to occupy his mind as he exited and descended into Nazi territory. To my eternal shame, I never gave him the respectful listening he deserved. I never met him again. I regret that.

A modest hero.
 
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#57
I think there were a great many stories which got a bit over-egged immediately after the war and historians since then have generally done a very good job of re-calibrating what remain, by any measure, some quite remarkable achievements. For all his faults, without Brickhill the Great Escape would probably have been relegated to the same level as the Warburg Wire Job in the national consciousness and possibly even Chastise would have gone that way as well.

Personally I'm very grateful to those Fifties authors - for all their embellishments and inaccuracies, they inspired a lifelong love of the subject and a desire to know more, not to mention a profound admiration for the deeds of better men.
Brickhill, Russell Braddon, Larry Forrester (Bob Stanford Tuck’s biographer), Frank Mason - all names with which Archi Jr will become familiar before he’s 10 (did me no lasting dama... well, not much, anyway)
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#58
Brickhill, Russell Braddon, Larry Forrester (Bob Stanford Tuck’s biographer), Frank Mason - all names with which Archi Jr will become familiar before he’s 10 (did me no lasting dama... well, not much, anyway)
Screwball Beurling's ghost-written biog penned during the war is an eye-opener - picked a copy up the last time I was in Malta. The interesting thing is that he's pretty candid about not getting on with his fellows whilst in the UK so it's not all jolly RAF chaps getting on with the job. It's a great read but the real gut-wrencher (spoiler alert) is how many of the Malta spitfire pilots were killed in a single plane crash at Gibraltar on the trip home, which is how the book ends.
 
#59
Two Bomber Command tales:

Bill Butler, a manitoba farm boy, joined The RCAF along with a bunch of mates in September 1939. Most of them became aircrew, all in Bomber Command. He was never keen to give the figures for those that went to Winnipeg together, that day, but only two teturned at war's end. Perhaps the Mathematics were too painful.
What's the second tale?

Cheers,
Dan.
 
#60
What's the second tale?

Cheers,
Dan.
Sorry, I hit the send button about ten minutes too soon.:rolleyes:

Post now edited to complete both tales.
 

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