search.noResults

search.searching

note.createNoteMessage

search.noResults

search.searching

orderForm.title

orderForm.productCode
orderForm.description
orderForm.quantity
orderForm.itemPrice
orderForm.price
orderForm.totalPrice
orderForm.deliveryDetails.billingAddress
orderForm.deliveryDetails.deliveryAddress
orderForm.noItems
and admittedly – been on the tiles and, whatever else he might have been up to, he had equally obviously been drinking.


There was still a dilemma. Should we fly with a rear gunner in this dilapidated condition? Should we risk him being less than 100% awake and alert? Was it fair to the other six, including myself, to take off with less than a fit and bright rear gunner? We could conceal his stupidity and take him, or reveal the truth of the situation and leave him to the mercy of the C/O, which was unlikely to be particularly tender.


The crew skipper is not called upon to make too many vital decisions, except decisions about the handling of his aircraft, but this was one for me and I have never been sure that I did the right thing. For my decision was to consult the whole crew, all five of them excluding Ken himself, and in effect take a vote on whether we wanted to risk it or not. The boys voted to take him, and not to turn him in. We survived that raid. The rest of us managed to keep him at least awake by constant exhortation over the intercom. and I am sure Ken was himself too scared – and perhaps too grateful, too – to do other than keep his eyes open as far as they would open after his dubious night’s adventures. Fortunately there was no sign of real trouble on that trip, and our main task was dodging the flak around the target area. I think we did, for only on one of our successful trips do I record in my logbook ‘Slight flak damage,’ and it was not this one. But what about the final member of the crew – the pilot? Well, the ultimate responsibility for everything that happened was his. He it was who had to ensure that courses, heights, speeds were all kept to within the close limits which would ensure the target was reached at the right time, on the right heading at the right height. There had to be some discipline aboard the aircraft, but on the normal flight it could be fairly relaxed. I was never in favour of issuing executive commands over the intercom. when a casual word or two would suffice. But our crew was naturally well disciplined and when on one trip we took aboard the Squadron Leader Gunnery Officer of the Squadron we decided to proceed absolutely as the book required, and spoke to each other in statutory and formal tones, as it were. He reported later that we were the best disciplined crew he had ever flown with.


Until our final trip I doubt if I ever had to issue what I would call an order to the crew. But there occasionally were decisions to make which only the pilot could make and I have already referred to Alf Green’s mistaken direction which I had to overrule. Another vital decision faced me at the start of a night raid which I think was that on Soest on December 5th 1944. After briefing and, where appropriate, a meal, crews would assemble in their Flight crew rooms and equip themselves with whatever they needed for the trip – my own little ‘crib’, the navigator’s rather more bulky charts and instruments, the wireless operator’s own ‘crib’ and, in case I needed them,


108


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138  |  Page 139  |  Page 140  |  Page 141  |  Page 142  |  Page 143  |  Page 144  |  Page 145  |  Page 146  |  Page 147  |  Page 148  |  Page 149  |  Page 150  |  Page 151  |  Page 152  |  Page 153  |  Page 154  |  Page 155  |  Page 156  |  Page 157  |  Page 158  |  Page 159  |  Page 160  |  Page 161  |  Page 162  |  Page 163  |  Page 164