Enemy Coast Ahead - Guy Gibson VC

Regarding D Bader, I'm sure when he was in Colditz he had a batman who duties included carrying Bader up to the stairs to use the bath. IIRC the batman was offered the chance of being repatriated before the war ended ( I assume he was a medic) but Bader objected and the man stayed until the war ended.
He was Alex Ross, a bandsman in the Seaforth Highlanders who was captured at Dunkirk in 1940 and who died in 2003, his obituary is worth a read if only to see what a complete tosser Bader was to him .. Alex Ross
 
He was Alex Ross, a bandsman in the Seaforth Highlanders who was captured at Dunkirk in 1940 and who died in 2003, his obituary is worth a read if only to see what a complete tosser Bader was to him .. Alex Ross
My FIL was an RAF officer in the early 70s and once told me a tale he'd heard from a young officer who had been dispatched to collect Kenneth More from the station, as he was to be guest of honour at a mess dinner. While making polite conversation on the drive back, he asked More what he planned to speak about after dinner; when he replied "I thought I might talk about my friend Douglas Bader", the sprog spluttered and asked if he thought this was wise, since some of the assembled members had had to serve with him.
 
Michael Caine on one of the chat shows related to his time filming BoB. He was waiting on set when he saw a Jaguar appear and drive into his Mercedes, out of the Jaguar learched Bader ranting about "Who parked this Kraut shit here".

The old adage about having the right man in the right place at the right time seems to be invariably balanced by them being the wrong man in the wrong place all the rest of the time.
I met Bader as a young man when he was in his final years.a sad spectacle.
He was a sad old alcoholic by that stage ( had been for years by all accounts)
And was rather unpleasantly up himself I’m afraid. The absolute antithesis of Lenard Cheshire who I had the pleasure to meet ( and get pissed in the presence of later that year). No doubting his courage though but not a team man.
 
If you are ever in York, go to Betties Cafe (which is splendid) and downstaires in a corridore adjacent to the Gents door there is a huge mirror with all sorts of grafiti from the crewes who served around York in the numerouse airfields.
Been to York many times, I didn't know that.
Will have a look, thank you.
 
^ ^ ^

A number of the bomber Command VCs are for bomber pilots who stayed at the controls to give their crew a chance to escape, pretty well guaranteeing they would die with the aircraft.

It takes a special kind of courage to give up your own life, so your crew members can live.

Wordsmith
In similar vein:

David Samuel Anthony Lord VC - Lord Ashcroft Medal Collection

I've been to his grave in Oosterbeek.

ETA - beaten to it by @diverman . Who is obviously a top bloke :)
 

Lacking Moral Fibre

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
The late Flt Lt David Lord VC for his gallentry at Arnhem.

David Lord - Wikipedia
In Max Hastings book "Bomber Command" a Norwegian pilot with, I think with 76 Sqn, stayed at the controls of his doomed Halifax wavering away his crew offering the chance for him to don his parachute. His brother had been murdered by the Gestapo for being in the resistance and the pilot was under no illusions what his fate would be.
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
Somewhere I have a wartime publication called over to you
its a copy of war time broadcasts given by Air Crew
I will try and locate it and pop it on here, I have never managed to locate the Audio recordings so presume it was done live
 

dockers

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
The late Flt Lt David Lord VC for his gallentry at Arnhem.

David Lord - Wikipedia
Also on the 19th September, FZ626 of 271 Sqn, flown by Plt Off John (Len) Wilson took off from Down Ampney. Flying at 500 feet and 120mph, with no fighter escort, his aircraft was hit by flak and badly damaged. After trying to get his crew out (only 3 managed to jump) he aimed his aircraft at the flak batteries to prevent them firing on other aircraft. At the last minute, the aircraft moved off course and missed the flak batteries by a small margin. [Air Battle for Arnhem, Alan W Cooper]. The flak gunners told the survivors of their experience and one of the surviving crew campaigned for Wilson to be awarded the VC until his own death. One of the crew would have been my uncle, had he survived.
 
The flak gunners told the survivors of their experience and one of the surviving crew campaigned for Wilson to be awarded the VC until his own death. One of the crew would have been my uncle, had he survived.
Shades of Lloyd Trigg.
Lloyd Trigg - Wikipedia

He was flying his first operational flight in a Liberator V (having previously flown Hudsons) over the Atlantic from his base in Bathurst, West Africa (now Banjul, The Gambia), when on 11 August 1943 he engaged the German submarine U-468 under the command of Oberleutnant Klemens Schamong.

His aircraft received several catastrophic hits from the submarine's anti-aircraft guns during its approach to drop depth charges and was on fire as Trigg made his final attack.

It then crashed 300 yards behind its victim, killing Trigg and his crew. The only witnesses to his high courage were the U-boat crew members. Since Trigg has no burial place, he is commemorated on the Malta Memorial to the 2,298 Commonwealth aircrew who lost their lives around the Mediterranean during the Second World War and who have no known grave.[3]

The badly damaged U-boat sank soon after the attack with the loss of 42 hands but seven survivors (including Schamong) were spotted by an RAF Short Sunderland of No. 204 Squadron in the dinghy of the crashed Liberator, drifting off the coast of West Africa. They were rescued by a Royal Navy vessel HMS Clakia the next day and Schamong reported the incident, recommending Trigg be decorated for his bravery.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
In Max Hastings book "Bomber Command" a Norwegian pilot with, I think with 76 Sqn, stayed at the controls of his doomed Halifax wavering away his crew offering the chance for him to don his parachute. His brother had been murdered by the Gestapo for being in the resistance and the pilot was under no illusions what his fate would be.
Virtually the whole Polish air force decamped to the UK after the defeat of Poland and fought for the UK for the duration of the war. They fought to the limits of their strength and beyond, with something like 80% of all Polish aircrew dead dead by the end of the war. Some of the Bomber Command squadrons were transferred to Coastal Command just to keep the Polish casualty rate down.

It's particularly poignant to note that the Poles didn't celebrate on VE day. Germany might have been defeated, but Poland was not free - it was under Stalin's control with a puppet government in place.

There is an semi-official history of the Polish air force in WW2, written by the Polish Government in Exile.



It is sobering reading.

Wordsmith
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
After Poland fell, the personnel of the Polish air force were ordered to make their way to France or the UK to continue to fight from there - those reaching France coming to the UK after the fall of France. With the exception of those who were ordered to remain in Poland and help the resistance there, pretty well all of the personnel of the Polish air force wound up in the UK. They provided an important boost to a still expanding strength of the RAF, fighting in RAF uniform and in RAF aircraft, but with Polish air force markings on the fuselage.

303 Polish squadron is generally recognized as the most efficient squadron in the Battle of Britain in terms of the ratio of German aircraft shot down to Polish planes lost, while at one point 4 of the 16 operational squadrons in Bomber Command were manned by Poles.

By the end of the war, there were only a couple of operational Polish squadrons left in Bomber Command - that was all the aircrew left alive could man.

Wordsmith
 
Wordsmith said
"By the end of the war, there were only a couple of operational Polish squadrons left in Bomber Command - that was all the aircrew left alive could man."

A point not understood by all those that moan about the descendants of many of these same Poles who come here to work now.... doing jobs that the fat lazy dole taking twats who moan can't be arrsed to do .
If it wasn't for them ..........
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
I read First Fighter Ace recently.
Fascinating book.
Stanisław Skalski - Wikipedia
There was a Czech pilot - Josef František - who fought with 303 Polish squadron during the Battle of Britain. But he was too wild even for the Poles - who fought in a highly disciplined way in the air. So František fought a unique war.

Josef František - Wikipedia
As all pilots were valuable, a compromise was reached whereby František was allotted a "spare" aircraft so he could fly as a "guest" of the Squadron as and when he wanted. Thus František fought his own private war – accompanying the squadron into the air, but peeling off to fly a lone patrol over Kent, patrolling in the area through which he knew the German aircraft being intercepted would fly on their way back to base, possibly damaged and low on fuel and ammunition.

Between 2 and 30 September he shot down 17 German aircraft and 1 probable, including nine Bf 109 fighters, six Heinkel He 111 bombers and one Junkers Ju 88 bomber. This made him one of the top scoring Allied fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain.
He was killed when his Hurricane crashed on 8 October 1940.

Wordsmith
 
I've recently read 'Bomber Offensive'. Written by Bomber Harris in 1947, it is a proper eye opener of how and why tactics and planning happened as they did. As primary source evidence, you will see bias - but what I found really interesting, and is not widely understood (I think) is the level to which not Bomber Cmd, not the RAF - but the government and Churchill in particular, influenced policy, in terms of both targetting and amount of resource dedicated to the bomber campaign.
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
Also on the 19th September, FZ626 of 271 Sqn, flown by Plt Off John (Len) Wilson took off from Down Ampney. Flying at 500 feet and 120mph, with no fighter escort, his aircraft was hit by flak and badly damaged. After trying to get his crew out (only 3 managed to jump) he aimed his aircraft at the flak batteries to prevent them firing on other aircraft. At the last minute, the aircraft moved off course and missed the flak batteries by a small margin. [Air Battle for Arnhem, Alan W Cooper]. The flak gunners told the survivors of their experience and one of the surviving crew campaigned for Wilson to be awarded the VC until his own death. One of the crew would have been my uncle, had he survived.
Down Ampney is a few miles up the road from me, little remains to this day but a small memorial tablet, Jimmy Edwards also flew from there
 

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