Photos that make you think.

Seeing the pilot above stimulated the old grey cells in this direction today. This is a picture of Guy Gibson in the door of his aircraft, a Lancaster, for the raid on the Ruhr dams. And as I am sure most of us know his dog died the day before the raid and his name, n***er, was the codeword used to confirm the breach of the Mohne Dam (and what stimulated that particular train (train crash?) of thought too was the self-styled nation's favourite, Stephen Fry, declaring that he had just had a prostate operation, which reminded me of his attempts to name n***er, Digger). Anyway, you can't change history so here we have it.

View attachment 323478

But what has always stuck in my mind was when Gibson was on a tour of Canada and the USA, and his response to this question:

"On 4 October he began the United States leg of his tour in Washington, D.C.. He attended a major Press Conference at the offices of the British Information Service in New York on 7 October. This was at a time when the first American airmen were coming home 'tour expired' after 25 operations. During questions one young lady asked, 'Wing Commander Gibson, how many operations have you been on over Germany?' He replied, 'One hundred and seventy-four.' There was a stunned silence"."

I also discovered that we have something in common: gout (all hail allopurinol though!). Apparently he was having an attack of gout just before and during the mission itself.

But I am not sure that this would be complete without a picture of him and the dog (Guy Gibson on the right with pipe), the dog is the black four legged animal with an Iron Cross around its neck :) :

View attachment 323480
That photograph of the crew entering the aircraft raises a point. A normal crew of a Lancaster was 7; pilot, flight engineer, navigator, radio operator, mid-upper turret gunner, tail gunner and forward gunner/bomb-aimer. Now, the dam-buster aircraft had the mid-upper turret removed, I believe for weight or engineering reasons associated with the weapon release system.

Did the dam-buster aircraft carry the full crew complement? My quick perusal of Gibson's book, "Enemy Coast Ahead", doesn't say but he does mention that a RAF photographer wanted to take a crew photo. I can understand that for crew morale reasons they might want to take the full crew but if so, it did add to an appalling loss rate for that particular mission. Anyone got information on this?
 
That photograph of the crew entering the aircraft raises a point. A normal crew of a Lancaster was 7; pilot, flight engineer, navigator, radio operator, mid-upper turret gunner, tail gunner and forward gunner/bomb-aimer. Now, the dam-buster aircraft had the mid-upper turret removed, I believe for weight or engineering reasons associated with the weapon release system.

Did the dam-buster aircraft carry the full crew complement? My quick perusal of Gibson's book, "Enemy Coast Ahead", doesn't say but he does mention that a RAF photographer wanted to take a crew photo. I can understand that for crew morale reasons they might want to take the full crew but if so, it did add to an appalling loss rate for that particular mission. Anyone got information on this?
Full crew, seven blokes.

All names, ranks and duties within the aircraft listed in my link.

Op Chastise
 
That photograph of the crew entering the aircraft raises a point. A normal crew of a Lancaster was 7; pilot, flight engineer, navigator, radio operator, mid-upper turret gunner, tail gunner and forward gunner/bomb-aimer. Now, the dam-buster aircraft had the mid-upper turret removed, I believe for weight or engineering reasons associated with the weapon release system.

Did the dam-buster aircraft carry the full crew complement? My quick perusal of Gibson's book, "Enemy Coast Ahead", doesn't say but he does mention that a RAF photographer wanted to take a crew photo. I can understand that for crew morale reasons they might want to take the full crew but if so, it did add to an appalling loss rate for that particular mission. Anyone got information on this?
Couple of quick googles:

Lancaster bomber crews on the dams raid consisted of seven members: pilot, flight engineer, bomb aimer, rear gunner, front gunner, navigator and the wireless operator.

and

A Lancaster Bomber had a crew of seven: pilot, navigator, bomb aimer, flight engineer, wireless operator, mid gunner and rear gunner. Each role needed a very particular set of skills.

and
  • The Avro Lancaster nose turret was operated by the bomb aimer, whose position was directly below the turret.
 
That photograph of the crew entering the aircraft raises a point. A normal crew of a Lancaster was 7; pilot, flight engineer, navigator, radio operator, mid-upper turret gunner, tail gunner and forward gunner/bomb-aimer. Now, the dam-buster aircraft had the mid-upper turret removed, I believe for weight or engineering reasons associated with the weapon release system.

Did the dam-buster aircraft carry the full crew complement? My quick perusal of Gibson's book, "Enemy Coast Ahead", doesn't say but he does mention that a RAF photographer wanted to take a crew photo. I can understand that for crew morale reasons they might want to take the full crew but if so, it did add to an appalling loss rate for that particular mission. Anyone got information on this?

53 aircrew were killed in the raid and three were captured.
8 Aircraft were lost which would indicate that all had 7 crew each.
The front turret was fitted with stirrups for the gunners feet to keep them out of the bomb aimers face.
I would suggest that the mid upper gunner manned the turret while the bomb aimer did his bit and also kept a look out during the low flying element of the raid.
It would also tie in with Gibson's aircraft firing on the towers as they attacked
 
994D54E5-B6E3-4499-A6E7-2920A68693AD.jpeg


BB49C4EF-34CA-4E9E-96A9-CC7BB4912E89.jpeg


These are my hands in those very early days.

It makes me think how lucky I am that the surgeons’ skill and effort saved as much as they could rather than amputating them.
 

Longlenny

War Hero
Book Reviewer
53 aircrew were killed in the raid and three were captured.
8 Aircraft were lost which would indicate that all had 7 crew each.
The front turret was fitted with stirrups for the gunners feet to keep them out of the bomb aimers face.
I would suggest that the mid upper gunner manned the turret while the bomb aimer did his bit and also kept a look out during the low flying element of the raid.
It would also tie in with Gibson's aircraft firing on the towers as they attacked
Last Sunday I went to a talk given by Sqn Ldr Jonny Johnson the last surviving member of the Dambusters raid, he is still very with it at 96.
 

Joker62

ADC
Book Reviewer
Faarrrrk Dinger, they should be in the 'Photo's you don't ever want to see again' thread. That looks horrendous.
Wuss, tis nothing but a scratch, couple of brufen and piece of tubigrip and he'll be right as rain.

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
 
That photograph of the crew entering the aircraft raises a point. A normal crew of a Lancaster was 7; pilot, flight engineer, navigator, radio operator, mid-upper turret gunner, tail gunner and forward gunner/bomb-aimer. Now, the dam-buster aircraft had the mid-upper turret removed, I believe for weight or engineering reasons associated with the weapon release system.

Did the dam-buster aircraft carry the full crew complement? My quick perusal of Gibson's book, "Enemy Coast Ahead", doesn't say but he does mention that a RAF photographer wanted to take a crew photo. I can understand that for crew morale reasons they might want to take the full crew but if so, it did add to an appalling loss rate for that particular mission. Anyone got information on this?
It does raise another point too. I know I was the one that posted it and I just went back to it and had another look and there is one thing that I noticed this time: if you look at some of the crew they have flying boots on, if you look at some of the others, including GG, then they look like they have dress shoes on, but almost certainly not flying boots. No doubt they were the crew but it does look as though it might have been staged by that RAF photographer some time earlier and not them heading off after the photo was taken.
 
It does raise another point too. I know I was the one that posted it and I just went back to it and had another look and there is one thing that I noticed this time: if you look at some of the crew they have flying boots on, if you look at some of the others, including GG, then they look like they have dress shoes on, but almost certainly not flying boots. No doubt they were the crew but it does look as though it might have been staged by that RAF photographer some time earlier and not them heading off after the photo was taken.
Maybe some places had better heating than others?
And on the dams raid, they would not have been at altitude.
 
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