1928 HALTON Apprentice.
Representing 70 & 7 Squadron STIRLINGS, and Air Vice Marshal Don BENNETT‘s PATHFINDER FORCE for BOMBER Operations
British NCO served as pilot with 77 Sqdn, No 4 Group, Bomber Command, RAF in GB, 9/1939-6/1940; officer served with 7 Sqdn, Pathfinder Force, RAF in GB, 8/1942-2/1943; staff officer served with Headquarters, No 8 (Pathfinder Force) Group, Bomber Command, RAF in GB, 3/1943-7/1944; served as commanding officer of RAF Warboys in GB, 7/1944-5/1945
REEL 1 Recollections of operations as pilot as 77 Sqdn, No 4 Group, Bomber Command, RAF in GB, 9/1939-6/1940: sketch of pre-war RAF career; receiving news of outbreak of Second World War, 3/9/1939; status of sergeant pilots; participating in first leaflet raid of Second World War; character of leaflet raids during Phoney War; ineffectiveness of target finding in first years of Second World War; pressure from other services against bombing campaign.
REEL 2 Continues: Recollections of operations as pilot with 7 Sqdn, Pathfinders Force in GB, 8/1942-2/1943: state of Bomber Command when Air Marshal Arthur Harris took over, 2/1942; frustrations amongst experienced aircrew; decision to launch first 1000 bomber raid, 5/1942; growth of Bomber Command, 1942-1945; start of Pathfinder Force; his selection for Pathfinders Force; debacle of Pathfinder Force’s first raid on Flensburg, Germany; alterations to Pathfinder Force Short Stirlings to reach an operating ceiling of 18,000 feet.
REEL 3 Continues: Donald Bennett’s flying qualifications and experience; limitations on use of Gee navigational system, 8/1942; German homing in on H2S apparatus; two occasions when he marked target incorrectly; impact of introduction of Oboe on pathfinding; opinion of US bombing strategy; memories of Air Vice Marshal Donald Bennett. Recollections of period as staff officer with Headquarters, No 8 (Pathfinder Force) Group, Bomber Command, RAF and commading officer of RAF Warboys in GB, 3/1943-5/1945: appointment to post.
REEL 4 Continues: recruitment activities for Pathfinder Force; friction with commanding officers whose crews taken by Pathfinder Force including encounter with Wing Commander Guy Gibson; personal rivalries within senior ranks of Bomber Command; question of morality of area bombing; degree of effectiveness of bombing campaign; sight of ruined cities whilst commanding transport wing in Germany, 1945.
REEL 5 Continues: use of repeater Oboe during winter 1944-1945; degree of overkill during Allied bombing campaign of 1945; liaison role with 8th US Army Air Force; effect of introduction of North American P-51 Mustang; memories of General James Doolittle; selection to be British observer for dropping of atomic bomb and reason why Group Captain Leonard Cheshire [Signatory #31] went on mission.
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