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Cornelis Waardenburg DFC.     Royal Air Force 320 (Dutch) Sqd. (d.30th Aug 1944)

In May 1940, Cornelis Waardenburg fought within the Dutch Army, on the Grebbeberg, the most fierce part of the front in Holland. He was a Reserve-Second Lieutenant then. He escaped to be a prisoner of war and flew to England. He was with the 139 Squadron and received a DFC. I don't know the circumstances why. Have you any information about him for me? He was a mate of my father during the fights on the Dutch front. Thank you in advance.

Wim van Kamperdijk



LAC. Walter William Waddell .     Royal Canadian Air Force 432 Squadron   from Collingwood, Ontario, Canada)

Leisha



Sgt. A. E. Waddicor .    




J. Waddilove .    




Isobel Waddon .     Land Army

My Grandmother, Isobel Waddon, died without disclosing much information about her time she spent in the land army. I would love to here from someone who served with her. I would like to hear their stories or see any photos they may have. She came from West Lulworth.

Heather Black



Sgt. Wade .     Royal Air Force bomb aimer 101 Sqd.




Charles Wade .     Royal Navy HMS Dorsetshire

Does anybody remember my grandad, Charles Wade? He served with the Royal Navy with HMS Dorsetshire. He never spoke much about his time with the navy, but once a year he would recall how he got sunk and how he lost some good friends. Sadly he passed away about 12 years ago. I would be grateful for any info about my grandad.

Charlotte Mills



F/Lt. Desmond Percy "Buster" Wade .     Royal Air Force 33 Squadron   from Canterbury, Kent.)

(d.23rd May 1942)

Desmond Wade was the brother of my late mother's friend Sheila M. Wade who lived in the Saint Stephen's area of Canterbury, Kent. 'Buster' Wade was a pupil at the Kings School, Canterbury as a Day Boy because he lived nearby. He signed up for RAF duty in his early 20s and became a pilot and served with the 247 British China Squadron and 33 Squadron and was for a while at an air station in Cornwall and at Roborough, Devon. He was shot down in the Western Desert while flying a Hawker Hurricane on May 23rd 1942. Further details are in the archive of Kings School, Canterbury. I was the executor of Sheila's will when she died some years ago and I inherited much of her personal belongings including some of the details of 'Buster's' RAF service.

As I am now retired and these pieces of memorabilia of a non-relation who died before I was born are of no personal significance to me, I have decided to donate them, including his posthumous war service medals, to Kings School, Canterbury archives on 23/05/2014 the anniversary of his death 72 years ago

Lawrence J. Blake



Sergeant Frederick William Wade .     British Army Reconnaissance Corps   from Willesden NW10)

Michael Wade



Pte. Harrry Wade .     British Army 5th Btn. East Yorkshire Regiment   from Sheffield Yorks)

(d.6th Apr 1943)

As my Father Harry Wade died when I was only 6yrs old I cannot remember too much about him unfortunately. He had worked on the railway in Sheffield but joined up in 1940 I expect thinking it was the right thing to do. When he died my sister Maureen was 8yrs old, I was 6yrs & my brother Keith Harry was just 3 months old. There is so much to tell that I can barely start. My Mother naturally was devastated & without the help of friends & family I don't believe she could have found the courage to carry on & care for us children! We lived in a very poor house called a "cellar kitchen" house where the living room / kitchen was downstairs a front room above, a bedroom above that & topped by an attic. Right in the very centre of Sheffield so we had lots of bombing raids & many rushes out to the communal shelter which was shared by 8 families What with air raids & strict rationing it must have been a nightmare for my Mother!

I have lots of stories about my Dad gleaned mostly from the fantastic few letters which my Mom kept in a leather handbag my Dad had sent her from Egypt. It is impossible to read these letters without getting tearful. So beautiful & So full of Great Love One of the most heart breaking ones is dated the day prior to his death! Even more special is that it was just to his "Pets" his children saying how one happy day we would be together again. I could go on for instance about the time the enemy had them "pinned down" & one of their sergeants got wounded. My Dad & his comrades Carried their Sgt 4 miles through a minefield to get him to help. All this courage hidden away in old letters.

My Fathers life ended in a place called Wadi Akarit in Tunisia One of the fiercest battles of the war rivaling El Alamain, Dad is buried at Sfax War Cemetery in Tunisia & me & my family have visited him there twice.

Pat Bartram



Pte. Harry Wade .     British Army 5th Btn East Yorkshire Regt.   from Sheffield)

(d.6th Apr 1943)

My Great Uncle Harry. I would like to find any photos but none found as of yet, I want to know about him but feel I never will.

Lisa Cox



Flight Sergeant Peter Stuart Wade .     RAAF (d.25th May 1944)

During the second World War the Allied and German soldiers, who were killed in Goirle, Noord Brabant, the Netherlands and in the neighbourhood, were buried at the Roman Catholic cemetery from the parish St. Jan in Goirle.

After the war the remains of the German soldiers were reburied in Ysselsteijn (near Venray) and most of the allied soldiers were reburied in Bergen op Zoom (War Cemetery and Canadian War Cemetery) and in Leopoldsburg (Belgium, War Cemetery).

At this moment there are 27 Allied graves in Goirle. Every year we commemorate the victims of World War II, both soldiers and civilians. We know their names, but who were the persons behind the names? What were their lives before they died? Where did they come from? How did they die? Under what circumstances?

It is my intention to give the victims a face, to write and keep the story behind the gravestones because we always will remember the soldier who died for our liberty. We can forget names, but not faces. I will try to write down all their stories for the next generation so they will know who was commemorated.

Maybe someone can help me with Flight Sergeant Peter Stuart Wade RAAF 426719 who died on the 25th May 1944, age 23.

Send me a letter or an e-mail with additional information, a photograph or a copy of any personal document, which I can use for The Memory Book or a website. Thank you in advance for your help.

Gerrit Kobes



Flight Lieutenant R P Wade .     RAF VR 59 Squadron

Lorenzo del Mann



P/O George "Geordie " Wade. .     24 Operation Training Unit

I Flew With The Canadians

I was called up into the RAF from Durham University Air Squadron on 9th May 1942 as an aircrew trainee aged 19½ years of age, and spent three weeks of induction at ACRC London living in Avenue Close, St John’s Wood. There followed three weeks in the Metropole Hotel in Brighton before posting to No 9 EFTS, Ansty, Warwickshire for the aircrew grading course. This involved 12 hours dual instruction in DH82A “Tiger Moth” aircraft in which we did “the whole business” of flying, up to spins and recovery from spin. I absolutely loved it but I failed to go solo.

From there we went to Heaton Park, Manchester where we lived in small ridge tents awaiting our new gradings. I was to become a Bomb Aimer (officially Air Bomber).

After seven weeks, many of us were sent to Marine Court, St Leonards on Sea (9½ hours by train) to wait for posting to training units. I was on the 12th floor and lifts were not operating! I became very fit going up and down the stairs several times a day for four weeks.

The building was attacked twice by cross-channel Me109 and FW190 fighter bombers and on the second occasion it was slightly damaged, so we went back to Heaton Park via Harrogate (9 hours). One week later we travelled to Gourock (10 hours by train) to board RMS Queen Mary. There were 18 to a cabin and only 2 meals a day. These were meals like pre-war food because these troopships stocked up in the USA. We had actual white bread (unlike the National Loaf at home) and sausages with meat in them!

On board we could buy plenty of Coke and chocolate and cigarettes were 2/6d for 200. After landing at Boston, Mass, we took the train up to Moncton, NB through the brilliant autumn colours of New England. 4 days later it was a CNR train journey across Canada via Lake Superior and the prairies to No 5 Bombing and Gunnery School at Dafoe, Sask. On completing that course we were posted to No 1 Central Navigation School at Rivers, Manitoba on New Year’s Eve 1942. There we did cross-country flights (map reading and bombing for me) in temperatures at night as low as -40ºC. The engines of the Avro Ansons had to have their oil diluted with petrol to facilitate starting in those freezing conditions.

There were individual ice crystals falling from the sky and the Northern Lights were spectacular. Completion of that course saw us on Wings parade and promoted to Sergeant. Then it was CPR train back to Moncton with a stopover at Montreal. At Moncton I was promoted to Pilot Officer and given $180 for kitting out (at T. Eaton Co). Soon afterwards it was train down to New York to board RMS Queen Elizabeth for the trip back to the Clyde. This time the cabin accommodation was the same as on the trip out but being an officer, I had meals in the first class saloon served by stewards. Both trips across the Atlantic were by Southern latitudes to avoid the U-boat packs in the North.

Back in the UK there was more bombing, gunnery, astro-navigation, map reading and signals at No 1 (O) AFU at Wigtown near Newton Stewart in the South West of Scotland. Then more of the same at No 24 OTU at Honeybourne, Gloucestershire where crews were formed.

I crewed up with Sgt RC Reinelt (Pilot), Sgt “Johnny” ARW Hardes (Nav), Sgt DH Williams (W/Op A/G) and RCAF Sgt G Dykes (A/G). After that it was a move to 6 Group RCAF, starting at 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit at Topcliffe where we trained on old MKI Halifaxes and on 16th September 1943, I celebrated my 21st birthday. We went on to RCAF Squadron 429 at Leeming having picked up a F/Eng Sgt JE Peppercorn and a mid-upper gunner RCAF Sgt “Curly” Shields making a crew of seven.

CREW OF Q-QUEENIE AT SKIPTON ON SWALE 433 Squadron_April_1944.

Crew of Q Queenie at Skipton on Swale, 433 Squadron April 1944

Back Row Left to Right: Sgt DE Carruthers, M-U Gunner RCAF. Sgt DH Williams, W/Op A/G RAF. Sgt ARW Hardes, Nav RAF. P/O RC Reinelt, pilot RAF.

Front Row Left to Rig: Sgt JE Peppercorn, FL Eng RAF. P/O G Dykes, Rear Gunner RCAF. F/O GM Wade, Bomb Aimer RAF.

At 429 Squadron (Motto : FORTUNAE NIHIL – nothing to chance) led by W/Cdr Patterson DFC (known to us as “2650 + 4” because of his insistence on such revs and boost for economical cruising), we flew Halifax MK II’s. Although we were based at Leeming we actually flew from Skipton-on-Swale.

When we, as a crew, had done four ops we were posted to Skipton as part of the nucleus of five crews to start 433 Squadron (Motto : QUI S’Y FROTTE S’Y PIQUE” = whoever rubs himself there will be pricked there) – the Porcupine Squadron. One crew piloted by RCAF P/O Chris Nielsen (nicknamed “the mad Dane”) had done 15 ops and so were very experienced.

At Skipton we flew Halifax Mk III’s under the leadership of W/C Clive Sinton DFS, a superb CO, and the aircraft were totally trustworthy and good performers. In a tragic accident in late December 1943 an aircraft piloted by F/O PR Humphries was taking off at Skipton and crashed on to our aircraft which was parked at dispersal. The five crew members and two ground crew members were all killed and both planes were destroyed in the resulting blaze. Since I was the only officer in our crew at the time, I was appointed officer in charge of the escort party at the funeral of these seven men. The funeral took place in Harrogate on Christmas Eve which was a very frosty day. It was a truly miserable occasion. I cannot imagine what was put in the coffins since both planes were reduced to ashes. Normally each carried 1800 gallons of petrol plus ammunition for the guns, and some flares.

I trained on H2S and Gee, while the Squadron was expanding, and my task apart from bombing was to take and log fixes every two minutes when possible, sitting alongside the navigator. I assisted the pilot with engine controls on take off and landing and took over from him occasionally especially on training flights and returns from operations. I was also expected to be emergency pilot as well as deputising for other crew members, should the need arise.

At an early stage at 433 Squadron “Curly” Shields went back to Canada and we were joined by RCAF Sgt Doug Carruthers as Mid-Upper Gunner. Three of the five crews who formed the nucleus of 433 Squadron were soon lost on ops leaving Chris Nielsen’s crew and ours. Sadly Chris and his crew were shot down just short of the target on their 27th op. and at least one of the crew, F/Eng P/O Christopher Panton, was killed. This was the disastrous raid on Nuremberg (30th/31st March 1944) when 95 aircraft were lost. It was nearly 96 because we were attacked by a Me210 just after leaving the target. We lost an engine and two fuel tanks when we were hit by 3 cannon shells which resulted in a fire in the wing. We were able to make the trip back to Englnd landing at Manston in Kent. This was our 15th operation.

The skipper was commissioned and received an immediate DFC. The rest of the crew were commissioned later and then the Navigator and both Gunners received DFC’s.

Almost half of our raids lasted between 6 and 8¼ hours and the rest were from about 3 to 6 hours. After D-day most operations were daylight ops to Northern France. The sky seemed full of aircraft all around, which we had not been aware of in the dark.

Instead of the full 30 ops for a tour, I was allowed to finish on 29 having been in Station Sick Quarters (when the rest of the crew went to Berlin) because of a very bad cold! This was not really surprising seeing that we lived in cold Nissen huts, the crudest accommodation we could have had, other than tents.

Incidentally, Chris Nielsen’s F/Eng Christopher Panton, who was killed, has been commemorated by the establishment of the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre by his two younger brothers, near Spilsby, Lincolnshire.

Also it may not be well known that only one crew out of three completed a tour of 30 ops without being shot down or lost in some other way.

Having completed my tour in June 1944 I was posted to a number of OTU’s as bombing instructor then went on to BDU, Feltwell and CBE Marham in Norfolk. Marham was the last of my active service stations before demob in August 1946. I went back to University to finish my degree in Electrical Engineering, extremely relieved to have survived my time in the RAF and glad to have flown with the Canadians.




Sgt M. Wade. .    

Sgt Wade was a Bomb Aimer killed on Ops in Nov 43.




Cpl. Wadell .    




Rfm. Arther George Wadner .     British Army Kings Royal Rifle Corps   from Bristol)

Unfortunately, I have no further information regarding my late Grandfather but would love to know more. I do know he took place in the Death March. I always thought he was at Stalag 19a but according to prisoners of war records online it states he was at 20b

Editors Note: The POW records only record a single camp, that which the man was in at the time the list was made in 1945. Many men had been held in other camps also.

Mark Wadner



Sgt F Wadsworth DFM .     RAF 12sqd




Forelady. Mary Wadsworth .     Women's Land Army   from Mossley, Manchester)

My mum Mary Wadsworth was born in 1922 in a small town called Mossley near Manchester. She was a mill worker and joined the Land Army around 1941 & left after the war. She met my father at a dance. Like lots of other people she didn't talk much about the past although I did try a few times She told me the work was very hard and the hours were very long. She said the farmer's wife was very good with them and they mostly lived on "jam butties".

My mum recieved her Land Army badge in October 2008, she had a big party at the residential home where she lived, my grandson & his school came to sing to her. Our mayor & mayoress presented her with the badge. Although she had a good day she did whisper to me "I dug alot of potatoes for that medal". Sadly my Mum died in November 2009. I am now trying to contact anyone who may have been on the farm with her at Bletchley Park, Leighton Buzzard.

Loraine Council



Sgt. Lennaert Waern DFM..     Royal Air Force 103 Squadron

Lennaert Frederick Waern, born 1915 in Maidstone (not Dutch as widely thought but of Swedish parents). I have no details except that he was already in the 103rd Squadron at the beginning of the war and was involved in the decimation in 1940, when the French let us down. Freddy Waern was shot down in his Fairy Battle and escaped back to his squadron.

He had a distinguished career as a Navigator with two known crashes in Wellingtons, both with the same crew, were in Abergavenny in Wales Jan 1941 and with the same crew ditched on the way back from Germany. He was posted to Canada to train aircrew and settled there after the war. I hope his family will complete the story.

Dani Miles



Sgt Bryan Dickson Waghorn .     Royal Air Force 129 Squadron (d.28th Oct 1941)

Bryan Waghorn was the younger brother of Battle of Britain pilot Sgt Peter Waghorn. He flew the Spitfires of 129 squadron based at Westhampnett but unfortunately was lost over the English Channel on 28 October 1941, six months after his brother was killed flying his Hurricane in the defence of Malta. The brother's father, Harry Waghorn, had enlisted in the army in WW1, was commissioned and after being posted to Mesopotamia was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in Egypt. The photo shows the pilots of 129 Squadron at Westhampnett, possibly in September of 1941, with one of their Spitfires behind them.

Ian Pursey



Capt. Howard Simon Wainberg .     Canadian Army Royal Canadian Engineers   from Toronto)

My Great uncle Howard took part in the liberation of Holland and its transit camps at the end of WW11. During the liberation of the camps (Westerbork?), the Jewish prisoners were tearing the yellow stars off their uniforms. My Uncle Howie approached one of them and asked if he could have it. I suspect they spoke Yiddish, as our family is Jewish, and Yiddish was the universal language of Ashkenazi Jews. The interesting thing about this particular star is that the word for Jew is not 'Jude', but 'Juis', the French word for Jew. The prisoner obliged, and Uncle Howie brought it back to Canada and gave it to his sister, my Grandmother Lillian. Many decades later after the family moved to Los Angeles, (Uncle Howie included), Grandma gave it to me. I would very much like to know what regiments took part in the liberation of Holland as I don't know which one my Great uncle served in. I would appreciate any information you could give me on finding his regiment. I now live in the UK, and have added the star and the story of Uncle Howie in the BBC's online archive of The History of the World in a Hundred Objects.

Julie Martin



Sgt. Waind .     Royal Air Force flight eng. 101 Sqd.




Henry George Owen Wainfur .     British Army Welsh Guards   from Newport, Gwent)

Harry Wainfur

Henry Wainfur served with the Welsh Guards

Rosemarie Wainfur



Mary Wainwright .     Women's Land Army

My mother, Mary Wainwright, was in the Land Army during the 2nd World War. I have photographs of her on the farm and with the horses. I believe she was with a farmer and his family in the Yorkshire Dales. Sadly she died in 1976.

Ann Spowart



Wilfred Wainwright .     102 Squadron

Andrew Wainwright



Able Seaman. Albert Edward Waite .     Royal Navy HMS Prunella (d.21st Jun 1940)




Capt. Bernard Waite .     British Army   from )

I am trying to find some information about my great uncle Bernard Waite who was a Captain in the 8th Army, the Desert Rats.

Nick Stonad



Sgt. M. L. Waite .     Royal Air Force rear gunner 106 Sqd.




Ron Waite. .     76 Sqd.

I had scarcely embarked on my course of training, when I was recalled to 76 Squadron, my log book being endorsed 'course incomplete'. Back at Middleton St George, I was included in the crew of Flt Sgt Kenny Clack. A few days later, we were briefed to fly to Tain in Scotland. Earlier in the year, the squadron had operated against the German battleships sheltering in a Norwegian fjord. We knew that Tain was to be an advanced base for a similar mission. The previous operations had not been to successful so, this time we had to wait for ideal conditions; this meant a full moon and Aasen fjord free of fog. After waiting for several days at Tain, on the 27th April, weather conditions were ideal and the operation was on. I felt calm as I looked forward to my first operation against the enemy. It seemed an awesome responsibility for the nineteen year old Kenny, as Captain on such a mission. My position in the crew was that of 2nd 'dickie' as the second pilot was called. I was being taken more for the operational experience than the simple duties I had to perform. It was a perfect evening, as the Halifaxes queued behind each other on the perimeter track, waiting for a take off signal. The aircraft had a rather odd appearance because, as well as the six 500 pounders on board, a specially designed 4000lb 'blockbuster bomb' was being carried. This bomb looking like a huge dustbin, was so large it could not be contained inside the bomb bay with the doors closed- these had to be pumped up by hand until they rested on the belly of the bomb. The armourers had a difficult, sweaty job, winching these monsters on board and one described the Halifax's appearance as that of a pregnant mayfly. We observed strict radio silence as we waited in the evening sunshine for the green very light to send us on our way. The atmosphere inside the aircraft was expectant rather than tense; I looked around at the other aeroplanes, with their four propellers gently turning over; they resembled patient gun dogs, awaiting their masters command to go. I glanced at Kenny, his face almost hidden by the oxygen mask; his eyes alert and ready for the operation ahead. Our C.O. Wing Commander Young, was the first to turn on to the runaway and take off. I felt - we probably all did- an inward excitement at the sound of the Merlin engines as they opened to full power. Within a minute our turn came. "Alright chaps here we go" Kenny announced quietly over the intercom. Soon S for Sugar was pounding down the runway. My only duty was to lick the throttle levers and adjust the rev's when instructed by Kenny. The aircraft was performing well and we felt more relaxed, now that we were on course for Norway. The long flight over the North Sea was rather tedious. Way ahead, I could just make out the winco's aeroplane, steadily on course; not far behind were three other Halifaxes being flown by Mike Renault, Hank Iveson and Johnny Harwood. The sun was sinking behind us and the full moon, pale as yet, was climbing into the darkening sky. I could no longer see the other aircraft. The four Merlins, with perfect synchronisation, seemed to be purring in the cold air, their exhausts glowing dull red against the dark sky. As we approached the Norwegian coast, Tommy , our Canadian navigator, was looking for a well defined island, which was to be our first turning point. From his position in the nose of the aircraft, he called on the intercom; skipper this is the navigator, I cant be certain of the particular island yet, will you maintain the present course;' Roger Tommy' replied Kenny. Several minutes later Tommy called again; ' Hello skipper I cant see the island but have identified Kristiansund, about 30 miles south of our correct turning point, will you steer a new course 068 degrees'. The pilot made a gentle turn to port, straightening up when the compass heading was precisely on 068 degrees. 'Hello navigator on course now' Kenny confirmed. A brilliant moon lit the snow capped mountains which rose sheer from the fjords. Although a romantic sight in other circumstances, tonight, the moonlight was ominous for ourselves- the attacking force- and the enemy. The Norwegians in their isolated farms, and hamlets, hearing the sound of our engines, were aware that British bombers were overhead. Now and again lights appeared from windows, several times we saw curtains being drawn and withdrawn. These brave people were sending us the famous victory signal. I wished we could have let them know what terrific encouragement it gave to us, death would have been the penalty had they been caught. The time was approaching 0015 hours, during briefing, we had been instructed not to bomb the Tirpitz a moment later than 0030 hours, because 10 and 35 squadrons were flying in with a low level attack. Realising we could not meet this deadline, our Captain decided we must bomb the alternative target - the battleships Von Scheer and Prinz Eugen, which were sheltering in a fjord, south of the primary target. A few miles ahead, the sky was filled with the flashes of exploding 'flak'. Our spot in the sky seemed unnaturally quiet when, with frightening suddenness, searchlights started appearing form nowhere - flashing across the sky searching for us. Tommy's voice came over the intercom; 'Skipper the target is coming up keep her steady' two searchlights flashed across us, lighting the cockpit with a split seconds brilliance but were unable to hold us. 'Skipper I cant see the ships they are down there in that smoke keep steady on this course'. 'Ok Tommy' replied Kenny, his voice showing only slightly the strain he must have been feeling. As we rapidly approached the mountain side of the fjord, Tommy's voice calmly said, 'Steady...steady...steady, bombs gone'. Immediately Kenny took a violent turn to starboard - to avoid the mountain and the light flak we were flying through. As we were escaping from the target area, Tommy's voice came urgently over the intercom; 'Kenny that bloody 4000 pounder has hung up' right, we'll do another run in, we haven't come this far to drop it in the sea' there was surprising fury in Kenny's boyish voice. 'Skipper get back on course 080 degrees ' the turn took us temporarily away from the flak guns. A minute or so later Kenny called the navigator, 'on 080 degrees now', 'ok skip' replied Tommy,'a few degrees left, steady...hold that. I'm going to release manually' 'Steady... Left a bit.. Stedy.. Bomb gone'. We felt a distinct lurch upwards, Kenny and I looked at each other hopefully - the bomb had probably gone. For the second time, our pilot took a steep turn away from the target, then straightened up, climbing to clear the mountain. As we did so a large black fjord appeared below. All hell was suddenly let loose. The sporadic flak became a barrage we were flying over the Tirpitz. The rest of the squadrons were almost certainly on their way home and, because we were late we were now a target for the Nazi's fury. It was like putting a foot in a hornets nest. Venomous red jets were flashing from the Tirpitz's guns; shells were exploding all around us. Kenny through the Halifax all over the place, but there was no evading all the gunfire. He banked so steeply, I thought I would fall on top of him. At times we were flying so low that searchlights appeared to be pointing down on us. Several shells exploded so close that we could hear the pieces of shrapnel puncturing the fuselage. As we were desperately trying to escape from the fjord, 'Tubby' Lawes, our flight engineer, broke in over the intercom; ' skipper, the port inner temperature is winding itself up - we'll keep it going till we are out of this s***'. 'O.k Tubby - bomb door lights are still on too' said Kenny. Every second seemed an age, as we gradually left that hellfire behind us. 'Hello skipper - flight engineer- feather the port inner, the port inner now'. Almost as he spoke, my hand was moving to throttle back and put the 'prop' in fine pitch. All gunfire had now ceased, only one or two searchlights fingered the sky in a belated attempt to find us. For a moment, no one in the aircraft spoke, Kenny, our Captain, was the first to break the unnatural silence. ' Weel chaps whats the situation ? I'm maintaining height on three motors' it was tubby lawes who answered; ' a petrol tank has been holed, the fuel gauge is going down rapidly, i will feed the other engines as long as i can on the holed tank' Tommy Thompson, our Canadian navigator, added to the bad news; 'Bomb doors have been damaged, Skipper, they wont close'. Kenny was still adjusting the rudder trimmer to correct for the loss of the engine as he said; 'We're still over 600 miles from base, do you think we will have enough fuel, Tubby', 'It will be a close thing'. 'The alternative is to make for Sweden' said Kenny 'We'll put it to the crew' 'There are two destroyers in the North Sea, spaced on our return flight path, in case we're in trouble,' I observed. It was Tommy who forward the first firm proposal; ' I suggest we make for Scotland'. We all agreed and settled down to face the formidable journey back. Once Kenny had trimmed the Halifax for straight and level flight, his task was to remain awake and alert during the tedious four hours ahead, the flight engineer now had the most important task of watching his fuel gauges, working out the best use of the fuel and changing the tank cocks as required. The only thing I could do was to adjust the revs levers to keep the three engines synchronised. The hours dragged on and fuel was getting dangerously low; we had to face the possibility of ditching in the sea, we were almost resigned to this, when Tubby, who had been peering out from the astrodome above his head , almost yelled; 'Good God Kenny I think I can see a light in the distance' just a vestige of dawn light was appearing as we all scanned the sky. 'I can see it too' called the wireless operator. 'What do you think it is?' I asked Tommy, who had the best view from the nose of the aircraft. 'It must be - yes, it is -Wick'. We were all babbling with excitement over the intercom, when Kenny cut in; 'Hold on a minute chaps - I am not sure we can get down at Wick'. In our enthusiasm we had forgotten it was Kenny's formidable task to put the Halifax down safely on three engines. 'Whats the petrol situation now? Kenny asked the Flight Engineer, 'Do you think it will last out to tain?' ' Just about' replied Tubby, 'but with damn all to spare' it had been nine hours since we took off from tain. When we spotted the airfield again no one spoke. We all felt the tension Kenny must have experiencing as he concentrated on making the landing. There was no room for error- the first attempt had to be the only one. There could be no second chance. On the approach Kenny quietly gave me instructions; 'Twenty six fifty revs- undercarriage down-full flap.' I watched tensely as Kenny held the aircraft straight till the final squeal of the tyres indicated that we were safely down, almost everyone shouted 'Hooray'. 'Jesus' exclaimed one. 'Bloody good Kenny' said another. Suddenly, all the emotional relief at having survived this baptism of fire came to the surface. Shortly after landing, all three engines cut- one after the other- as the last petrol tank became drained. I am not sure whether I felt pride, satisfaction or relief at having completed my first operation. A few days later, we heard through the grapevine that kenny clack had been recommended for an immediate D.F.C for this operation. The good weather held and the squadron was ordered to operate against the tirpitz agfain on the following night. Our previous aircraft had 58 holes caused by shrapnel, apart from the damage to the bomb doors, so we took the spare machine.

Ron Waite.




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